THERE ARE NO TACOS HERE.
Still, there was no way I was going to pass through Mexico City and not try a “huarache.”
Invented in this sprawling city, huaraches (top photo) are an oblong dish made of fried masa and topped with cilantro, queso fresco, some kind of salsa, and any assortment of meat. They’re named for their resemblance to the sandal which bears the same name. And they’re delicious.
It was difficult to eat the huarache without making a mess of myself, though. This hole-in-the-wall’s particular variation of the dish was nearly the size of the plate itself. Full of refried beans, cilantro, queso fresco, cactus (those little green-bean lookin’ things you see in the top photo), and chicken, it was a meal unto itself. It certainly suggested the use of a knife and fork, which I had to ask for after I ended up with half-a-handful in my lap. Only a block away from my hostel, this spot - Torteria Hidalguense Vicky’s - was so tasty and affordable that I made several lunch stops over the course of 4 days.
When I got huarache’ed-out, I switched my order up to both gorditas and quesadillas. I am almost never intimidated by a menu; if I don’t know what something is, I’ll usually just order that and see what comes my way. This time, when I ordered a quesadilla stuffed with what I assumed was some kind of cheese that I’d never heard of, I was thoroughly surprised to find myself biting into what tasted almost exactly like a homemade ricotta cheese. It wasn’t stringy like Queso Oaxaca or melty like Queso Chihuahua, and I was intrigued. Turns out that I’d tried homemade "requeson," which is, in fact, often considered the Hispanic version of ricotta. Huh.
Cost: About $3 for a huarache; $1 each for the quesadillas, $2 for the gorditas.