I'd never heard of it myself, but a friend of a friend is in town and was wondering if any Mexican places serve this. My limited googling (and a search of General Topics) suggests that it's a semi-dried beef, somewhere between fresh meat and jerky, usually served in tacos. I've never seen it at Taqueria El Amigo - my usual mexican source - but possibly La Verdad or Taqueria Mexico? Can anyone recommend a place?
I am absolutely no help here, but in Spain, cecina is similar to bresaola - maybe Formaggio would have some in stock?
MichaelB - I think there are some vague similarities between cecina and machaca (at least they are distant cousins). Please refer to this link: http://cookingfire.com/?p=11
Machaca can be found at Maria Bonita in North Cambridge, on Mass Ave. We went to this wonderful place on a last minute whim on a cold, miserable evening after work last week and had a wonderful machaca burrito, elegant and bright ceviche tostada, thick chips and flavorful guacamole (La Verdad could learn a lesson), fish taco (lightly fried and properly served with two corn soft tacos, lovely crema and cabbage) with Negro Modelo and Pacifico to wash it all down. Our meal was about $25.
Is the friend nearby (Harvard or Davis Sq.)? Otherwise, it's a bit out of the way. I am happy to provide transportation! I just love the people who run this joint and want them to succeed!
re: a l i c e
I am not entirely certain about Machaca, but my understanding with Cecina is that its generally cut accordion style from the beef round. Its fairly easy to make (semi-fresh) and I think the original Bayless book has instructions.
FWIW, Brazilian butchers around here sell carne de sol, which is not cut as thin or from the round, but has a similar overall preparation (pounded, salted, partially dried). There are other variations of carne seca sold in Brazil, which are not available here. Some have packages with different grades -- primeiro and segundo (the former for eating alone or making plates, the second for more of a seasoning), others cut it from a slab and always sold semi-fresh/refrigerated. I have seen Central American markets carrying the Brazilian products and USDA/local health codes make it difficult to use traditional methods and may make certain variants infeasible -- in Latin American many restaurants would hang their own meat out to air dry (as do other cultures such as Vietnamese, which have sun-dried beef dishes too). I have met vietnamese families who dry their own meat and we had plans to make some carne de sol this summer. If the machaca was shredded or chopped up, it might be similar to the Brazilian product.
A couple of restaurants that have carne de sol appetizers or porcoes are Oasis and Samba Bar. The former I believe just fried meat with a side of yucca, the latter fried with onions and served with Yucca.