Tacos Marquitos--Michoacan in Fresno
In an earlier post here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/337395 there was a discussion regarding Tacos Marquitos located at the Bulldog Plaza. This place is defintely worth exploration by fellow hounds if you are in the area. From the front, it looks like your typical American-Mexican place, but as Polar Bear mentioned in the above post, there is some Michoacan cooking going on. Intrigued and starving this afternoon, hubby and I found ourselves close to Fresno State. We went in for lunch. They were pretty crowded, but we snagged a table outside.
From PB's earlier post, I knew I wanted a Pambazo. It wasn't on the menu above the cash register as far as I could tell, so I asked the gentleman taking orders and he said I could have one no problem. I later found the Pambazo on the to-go menu. I knew it was a kind of sandwich, but I had no idea what kind. Hubby ordered the corundas.
When the food came out, my sandwich was red!! Apparently a Pambazo is a type of sandwich where the bread is dipped in a red sauce and then fried so the edges kind of crisp up. Then it is built kinda like a typical torta...crema, meat, lettuce, tomato, onion and hot sauce. Mine also had some cotija cheese as well. You can't eat this sandwich with your hands, so a fork and knife are provided. I was hard pressed to finish 3/4 of this sandwich, it was huge. Doing some research online, I can't really seem to find the exact origin of this sandwich. The to-go menu describes the Pambazo as a Morelia style torta. Morelia is a city in the state of Michoacan. There also seems to be Pambazos with different fillings in different states, for example a fish Pambazo in Vera Cruz and a chorizo and potato one in Mexico City? Some more research seems to be in order. Anyway, it was delicious and very messy. I would order it again.
Hubby's corundas were masa shaped little pillows about 3 inches or so. There were three of them on his plate and they were covered in a red sauce with crema. The red sauce was like a ranchero sauce, although not quite as watery. The red sauce was mild and a bit bland, but perked right up with the application of hot sauce. There were also chunks of pork served on top of the masa pillows, some of the chunks had bone in them. The masa pillows were cold in the middle where they had not quite warmed up to the temperature of this dish. Cold masa is not really very appetizing, so hopefully this was a one-time problem. The masa pillows were a bit too big for hubby's taste (he prefers thinner tamales than have more filling in them than masa), but that is probably personal preference. He described the dish as a tamale turned inside out. He probably would not order again, but because of personal preference reasons more than anything wrong with the dish itself.
This place is going to be on our radar for a taste of more Michoacan dishes. I would like a chance to talk to the people who work there, but they were so slammed today, it wasn't an option. In particular I would like to try the Enchiladas Estilo Michoacan and the Tacos de Papa. I would also like to ask if they serve the Pambazo any other way, like with potatos or chorizo or fish. It would be interesting to find out.
1772 E. Barstow
Here's a post and image from La Zamorana in Watsonville from Nathan P. a while back.
Interesting report and pic. The pambazo I ate today did not have all that cheese on top of it. I can imagine that there might be a wide range of pambazo types. Next time, I will try to go into Tacos Marquitos during a down time so I can more fully quiz them on the different types of pambazos they offer and what regional variations there might be.