In the afternoon, along Calle José Martí near my apartment, there are tacos de guisado vendors. Tacos de guisado is a catch-all term to describe a tortilla filled with a variety of prepared meats, vegetables, and moles. For example, one vendor will have big pots full of chiles rellenos, which are enormous chiles stuffed with cheese, washed in egg and either pan-fried or baked; tortitas de pollo o bróculi, thick pancakes with egg and either chicken or broccoli; pork and chicken stewed in a thick and rich mole verde; and sautéed steak with potatoes and peppers; among other dishes. Here, the pork and the chiles are particularly spectacular. A single order is a large tortilla filled with your choice and topped with sauce and a scoopful of rice, which costs 13-15 pesos; 40 pesos will buy an order of three, served with bags of rice, tortillas, and sauce for customers to take and assemble at home.
The prepared nature of tacos de guisado means that it is common for vendors to serve from the street, where a portable table or, in this case, the back of a pickup truck serves as the lunch counter. I’ve asked the vendors when they prepare the dishes and the answer is always in the morning before they arrive, usually at their homes and often under the direction of the family matriarch. While some people may flinch at the idea of prepared food being heated and served hours later, to me, it’s nothing different from a potluck or a fancy restaurant; except here it’s being prepared by a grandmother. As long as, once cooked, the dishes are kept away from raw food, then food safety isn’t really that big of an issue… I hope. And for those willing to take the plunge, eating tacos de guisado is, perhaps, the best way to sample a huge variety of mexican dishes in a very authentic environment.
Filed under: Food – The Outrageously Good, the Bad, and the Tragically Ugly | Tagged: Calle Jose Marti, changarros, chile relleno, chiles rellenos, Escandon, informal markets, mexican cuisine, mexican food, Mexico City, mole verde, street food, tacos, tacos de guisado, tortitas |