Good cheap eats at Mi Pueblo in Watsonville
We've been shopping every now and then at the Mi Pueblo Food Center on Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville and have discovered a couple of really tasty and exceedingly cheap snacks to keep one going mid-shopping.
Although Mi Pueblo offers a variety of prepared foods at their in-store taqueria, at the other end of the store are a few small counters offering ice cream, fruit, tortillas, and corn and tamales. And the tamales are *really* good. You can choose of pork, chicken, or queso with jalapeno (or any combination) for $12.99 a dozen. Or (and this is the focus of this post), for a mere $1.35 each, you can order a tamale preparado to eat there. You get a tamale of your choice covered with crema, crumbled cotija cheese, and a splash of salsa botanera. After trying all three varieties, both my wife and I have settled on the chicken. The masa is moist and rich, inside are nice chunks of white meat chicken in a salsa verde, and the salsa botanera adds the perfect mixture of flavor and hotness (it's available for sale by weight at the prepared food counter). Overall, I could hardly imagine getting much more chow value for $1.35.
Back at the other side of the store is the extensive panadería where, among the many pan dulces, I stumbled upon bolillo con queso y chile. This is an 8" long, sesame seed topped roll which is almost hollow - the almost being a mixture of a soft, cream-cheese like queso and pieces of jalapeno. They're delicious (and filling). At an even merer (OK, I made that up) 75 cents each, these puppies are the very epitome of simple pleasure. (The one trick for maximum bolillo enjoyment is to start by cutting it in half and eating each half from the the open end towards the pointy end, which pushes some filling towards the end as you eat. If you try eating it whole from either end, you'll get quite a few bites of just bread before you break through to some filling.)
A few (regrettably sucky) pictures here:
Agree w/ Nathan--good report and photos! I love that a fair number of us SC area hounds are camera happy!
I saw that food court the one time we went but didn't order anything since we had recently eaten. I've never seen anything like that stuffed bolillo before; will have to give that a try. Are there any other fillings or is that cheese and chile one the only kind? Thanks for the optimal eating instructions!
re: Carb Lover
So far, I've only found the cheese and chile kind. But they seem to have a slightly different selection of items each time I'm there, so I'll be on the lookout for any others.
Forgot to mention that another tasty offering at the tamale counter is corn - in a couple of forms. The have the usual corn-on-the-cob with crema, cotija and hot chile seasoning, and corn in a cup - a variation I haven't seen before. They start by half-filling a medium-sized styrofoam cup with corn, then adding some crema, some cotija and some of the chile seasoning, and then repeating all the layers again to fill the cup. It's delicious, but the one time I had it, they put in so much crema that it seemed almost *too* rich. (Of course, it's trivial to just pick up the ingredients there and fine-tune your own version at home.)
Nice report and I think your pics are just fine. I also like that market (though it is not quite as large or nice as the one in San Jose) and have had pretty good success with the prepared foods there. I have eyed the tamale counter but not indulged since I usally grab lunch before shopping. I will be sure to try these next time I am down there.