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tortillaria/taqueria in nyc?

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  • timothy Sep 16, 1999 03:34 PM
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does anyone know of a tortillaria in any of burroughs
that i might find some steamy fresh tortillas? while i
am thinking of it, how about a good roadside taco with
carne asada/ carnitas and a sprinkling of lime,
cilantro, and onion? where do the mexicans eat?

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  1. I spotted a place on roosevelt promising homemade
    tortillas, but never found them again.

    I believe Mi Tenampa (96-14 roosevelt) makes fresh ones
    at least SOME of the time (I'd imagine weekend
    afternoons are your best shot).

    tons of taco carts and stands up and down roosevelt
    avenue...get on the 7 train some night!

    ciao

    5 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff
      j
      Jeremy Osner

      I only learned to really appreciate good fresh tortillas less than a year ago, when I started going to La Espiga -- before that, I had just figured a taco was a bunch of tasty filling inside a flavorless wrapper. But La Espiga taught me that a fresh tortilla can be just as much a part of the full taco experience as what's inside it.

      This realization was a mixed blessing; overnight I lost the ability to enjoy the majority of tacos, ie those that are served on stale tortillas. Where before I had been able to stop in at any of the taco stands along Roosevelt Avenue for a tasty snack, now my only recourse was to take the long walk to Corona whenever I felt the craving.

      I found it really perplexing that with all these taco stands in the neighborhood, most of them doing good business, fresh tortillas were not more readily available. But tonight, I stopped in to La Poblanita, a Mexican deli on 78th and Roosevelt, to pick up some dinner -- I did not want to order a taco because I knew I wouldn't be able to eat it without pining for La Espiga. Instead I got their pollo mole, with rice and beans and tortillas.

      I was charmed to find that the tortillas weren't stale. I don't think they were quite on the level of La Espiga tortillas -- but they are the first tortillas I've eaten all year that wouldn't get laughed off the plate if they dared to show their face around La Espiga. *And* La Poblanita sells tortillas, so I can take them home and make my own tacos, unlike La Espiga. All in all I'm very happy now.

      Oh, and the mole was fabulous too. Way too much food for a dinner, though -- so I've got lunch for tomorrow!

      1. re: Jeremy Osner

        Further adventures at La Poblanita -- tonight I bought a package of flour tortillas there, and Ellen made fajitas. The tortillas were just right, better than the pretty good corn tortillas I ate last night. (The tortilla odyssey I described in last night's post has bearing only on corn tortillas, but only because I haven't really eaten anything with flour tortillas in a while. I could certainly see the same thing being true of flour tortillas.)

        These were tender, with a nice, slightly nutty flavor. I was glad that I had figured out how to appreciate the flavor of a tortilla, via my La Espiga taco experiences described in the previous post. I'd hate to think a year ago, I might have just not noticed.

        1. re: Jeremy
          s
          Senor Dave Feldman

          Jeremy,

          Have you ever tried eating a fresh, hot corn tortilla with nothing but butter? It's fabulous.

          1. re: Senor Dave Feldman

            Wow, that sounds like a great idea -- now that I have a source for fresh tortillas I'm going to try it out.

            Thanks

            1. re: Jeremy
              m
              Mark Sinclair

              While living in Mexico, I used to buy fresh tortillas from the neighborhood tortilla lady (I guess every neighborhood has one). They operate out of a tiny storefront, divvying up giant piles of dough into balls, flattening and cooking them right before your eyes.

              Then I would stop by the little fruit stand and get the best avocados imaginable (and for about 10 cents apiece, as well).

              Back at the pad, I would warm up the tortilla on a flat pan, scoop some avocado on there and add a dash of salt. I pine for those tortillas and avocados on a weekly basis. Thanks to Jeremy, I may be able to get the tortilla part, but I seriously doubt I'll ever find an avocado that good way back East here.

              Mark

    2. La Espiga on 102nd St in Corona has, for my money,
      by far the best tortillas in NYC. Unfortunately they
      only sell them attached to taco filling. I don't know
      where you can buy really good fresh tortillas.