October 18, 2004

maxwell street market

New Maxwell Street Market. Canal St between Taylor & 15th St, Sundays 7-3. Why, oh why can we not have mexican food like this at home? My favorite new discovery is birria - a hot soup of goat, broth, tomato, chilis, clove, cinnamon, cilantro... etc. Served with a pile of thin warm tortillas. Delicious, very spicy, filling, totally soul-satisfying - kind of like chinese spicy beef noodle soup only without the noodles and with tomatoes and cilantro. (here is a vaguely approximate recipe, based on my taste memories)

When you see a jostling crowd of mexican people jammed into a food stall, it's a decent guess the food is worthwhile... so we snagged a first course of tacos from the far 15th st side of the market -- carne asada with great texture and flavor, chorizo also good, and fabulous green tomatillo hotsauce. Starving so these were just utterly wonderful.

H talked me into a mexican coke -- not as sweet, and really good, but my bottle claimed to have high fructose corn syrup -- weird since the whole point is that in mexico they still use cane sugar. H's said sugar, so who knows.

Dessert course started with a hot chocolatey drink - champurrado. Chocolate, cinnamon, corn - creamy soft chewy mouthfeel. Terrific on a blustery fall day. Then we found the truck with the lady selling fresh fried churros - we got ours with gooey vanilla filling. How can you not love a dessert that is crunchy and fried? Good contrast of textures and flavors, with the crunchy sugary outside, the soft warm doughy inside, and the gooey filling, but i suspect I might agree with J and prefer it without the filling. However, filling your churro offers the opportunity to see the *hilarious* machine used to fill them -- a skinny nozzle like used to steam & froth milk for cappucino, but with a little lever that causes it to extrude flavored pudding when stuck into the tiny hole in the churro.

I was saving my known quantity for last, and so I was stuffed already by the time we got to the cocktel mixto -- but of course that didn't stop me. It's still awesome. Not quite as transcendent as I remembered, which is sad, but nevertheless satisfyingly tangy, cool & spicy. Ate the leftovers for breakfast in the airport after having a meltdown dealing with boneheaded United Airlines staff who couldn't figure out how to check a bag after going through security. (Note to self: don't buy letter openers on vacation, or if you do, check the damned thing. Duh.) I kind of wonder whether it would be doable at home -- the shrimp isn't too hard, it's the octopus that'd be the trick to get right. The texture is so good, soft and meaty without being too chewy. The rest is just water (from poaching the seafood, it looks like), ketchup, lime juice, hot sauce, onion & cilantro. And saltines. Mmmmmmmm.

H had some canela - hot cinnamon tea which smelled great, though I didn't try any b/c I was utterly stuffed to the eyeballs. Speaking of eyeballs, we all passed on the eyeball tacos available at one stand. (I have a strong stomach and an adventurous palate, but *shudder*.) J had a huarache - flat corn oval filled with black bean, topped with meat and cotija and onion and cilantro, which I remember from last time as being delish. We were all too full for grilled corn with cheese & chili powder, or potato chips drenched in hot sauce, or milk caramel lollipops, or atole. Our horchata was good but way too watery -- that's what we get for buying it at 3pm after all the ice melted in it. And H bought 3 pounds of gorgeous glossy orange habaneros, with which she intends to make the winter's batch of hotsauce -- the girl likes the spicy. I've never seen such pretty peppers; it would've made a great photo, if only I'd had the camera.

Update on the green & red tamales to follow once the foodsluts and I get to eat a few.

I really have got to work on my basic conversational and culinary spanish -- i was totally at sea. Thank god for J being all cool & bilingual and stuff.

Posted by foodnerd at October 18, 2004 01:10 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?