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Calexico Cart on 25th and Park Avenue South

k
kathryn Aug 6, 2008 08:16 AM

Just walked past, the guys gave me a postcard with the menu on it. It's their very first day on that corner. They confirmed they were the same ones that are in Soho.

Four kinds of burritos for $6-8 (carne asada, pollo asada, chipotle pork, black bean) and a list of $1-2 sides (guacamole, chips, rice, crema, salsa, pico de gallo, beans). Looks like the menu is much smaller than what's listed online (no tacos or quesadillas).

The cart is on 25th Street, in front of the Bank of America, just past the northeast corner of the intersection (with Park). Look for the yellow cart and guys in blue t-shirts.

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  1. Miss Needle RE: kathryn Aug 6, 2008 10:05 AM

    Thanks for the news. The location is much easier for me to get to than Soho. I'm assuming it's just a weekday thing, right?

    1. TongoRad RE: kathryn Aug 7, 2008 11:24 AM

      I made it there for lunch today- got the carne asada burrito. Good stuff, really nice addition to the area's lunchtime scene. Thanks for the tip, kathryn.

      7 Replies
      1. re: TongoRad
        CalJack RE: TongoRad Aug 13, 2008 11:19 AM

        Any word on whether the cart can still be found at this location, and if so, during which hours of the day? I've tried the past 2 days (8/12 and 8/13) between 1 and 2pm without any luck, and I couldn't seem to locate it last Friday either.

        1. re: CalJack
          TongoRad RE: CalJack Aug 13, 2008 11:34 AM

          I got there pretty early, before 12, when I went last week. I haven't been back yet but if I do see them again I'll verify their times.

          1. re: CalJack
            k
            kathryn RE: CalJack Aug 14, 2008 09:00 AM

            As of 15 minutes ago, Thursday, (around 11:45am) they were on the corner. I asked about hours and the fellow said 11 to 4pm.

            1. re: kathryn
              k
              kathryn RE: kathryn Aug 19, 2008 09:17 AM

              So odd. They were there on Friday but not Monday, and they are there today (Tuesday).

              1. re: kathryn
                sadotter RE: kathryn Aug 20, 2008 11:07 AM

                Went today, Wednesday, August 20, at 1:20pm, and they weren't there.

                1. re: sadotter
                  TongoRad RE: sadotter Aug 20, 2008 11:19 AM

                  I was there yesterday (Aug 19th) just before 12, I guess I got lucky. I would've asked about their schedule but at the time I assumed that the question was already answered by kathryn in her Aug 14 post. I'm coming from 32nd street so I'd obviously prefer a more solid schedule than what they appear to be using.

                  fwiw- I got the black bean burrito this time and didn't like it as much as the carne asada. The balance seemed to be much more slanted towards the rice and cheese, strangely enough.

                  1. re: sadotter
                    c
                    cath RE: sadotter Aug 20, 2008 12:38 PM

                    I also went today, August 20, around 12:45 pm and no sign of them. I work in the neighborhood and will try again, though!

            2. a_and_w RE: kathryn Aug 7, 2008 01:35 PM

              Why the heck didn't they open up when I lived in this neighborhood?! These guys destroy the nearest competition (Chipotle, Great Burrito, etc.).

              1. b
                brookeSA RE: kathryn Aug 20, 2008 01:09 PM

                just emailed Calexico and this is the response I got. Should put an end to questions about their hours:

                Hi Brooke, the cart hours will be about 11:30-4:00, however we are having somewhat of a soft opening for the next week or so to train new staff so hours may vary. Expect 11:30 - 4:00 be the regular shift within a week. Yes this will be a permenant spot as far as we're concerned.
                Thanks
                Dave

                1 Reply
                1. re: brookeSA
                  CalJack RE: brookeSA Aug 26, 2008 01:51 PM

                  Just to update everyone on the latest intelligence I can gather on this cart, which I finally tracked down last week after several fruitless afternoon attempts:

                  1) They show up between 11 and 11:30 each morning.

                  2) They stick around until they run out of food - this accounts for the wildly variant hours everyone seems to be encountering. I caught them packing up last Thursday around 2pm, and the staff claimed that even after doubling their previous day's supplies, demand had laid their cupboards bare well before 4.

                  3) The cart is easily visible when it's there on the North side of 25th just East of Park Ave S; it is totally invisible when it's not there.

                  4) Sanitary conditions be damned, those are some fine burritos. Whatever filling you favor, ask them to throw on that chipotle sauce.

                  Thank goodness someone is finally bringing reasonably-priced, briskly-flavored Mexican (ok, Southern-Californian) food to this neighborhood. I'll be back as often as my waistline permits (despite sporting a pretty aggressive midday appetite, I consistently fail to finish Calexico's burritos, and this latest outpost is no exception to that rule).

                  -----
                  Calexico
                  103 E 25th St, New York, NY 10010

                2. s
                  sugartoof RE: kathryn Aug 25, 2008 12:44 PM

                  So these guys know how to make a good burrito huh?

                  They were there today after the lunch rush hanging around kicking back against the office building they're situated by.... with their hands right up flat against it. I'm not going to order a burrito from a guy I can see has dirty hands!!

                  Anyway it's there. It's easy to miss on the side street there, and has really poor signage.

                  Any more reviews to share?

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: sugartoof
                    k
                    kathryn RE: sugartoof Aug 25, 2008 03:28 PM

                    Poor signage? The entire cart seems decked out in yellow things that say Calexico or EAT STREET MEAT or whatnot. It's pretty close to the corner, too, so if you're walking up or down Park Ave on that side of the street, you'd see it pretty easily, I'd say.

                    1. re: kathryn
                      s
                      sugartoof RE: kathryn Aug 25, 2008 04:20 PM

                      Aside from the menu on the side, in a light cream yellow, it's hard to differentiate it from other carts at first. 25th is a weird block to begin with, and I suppose it depends how far from the corner they are on any given day, but you would have to be looking for it. I live nearby and walked past it daily without realizing what it was before I read about it online.

                    2. re: sugartoof
                      a_and_w RE: sugartoof Aug 26, 2008 11:11 AM

                      That's kind of gross, but I've seen a lot worse in the SF Mission. I've only been to the Soho location, but they always struck me as sanitary.

                      1. re: a_and_w
                        s
                        sugartoof RE: a_and_w Aug 26, 2008 12:16 PM

                        I'm realistic about NY street foods, but both palms flat against a building!?! Total turn off.

                        Maybe they put on plastic gloves before they roll the burrito though? I'm guessing it's more sanitary when they're busy and filtering out the filth into other people's food first hahah.

                        1. re: sugartoof
                          michele cindy RE: sugartoof Aug 26, 2008 02:51 PM

                          I go to the one in Soho, they always wear gloves there. They wear 2. It's run very clean for an outdoor operation. What's the sauce someone was speaking about up top? I've found the chicken taco to be kind of bland. I get the hot sauce, but if there is another sauce to know about, I'd like to try it.

                          1. re: michele cindy
                            CalJack RE: michele cindy Aug 27, 2008 09:59 AM

                            Their signage calls it only a "chipotle-crack sauce", and it leans more towards savory than spicy. I believe it comes standard on their vegetarian burrito, but I have them put it on just about everything. Just thinking about it might or might not be causing me to twitch right now.

                          2. re: sugartoof
                            s
                            sugartoof RE: sugartoof Aug 27, 2008 11:54 AM

                            Just to follow up on my own post... they do use two gloves. Looked clean enough though they were handling money while gloved....that happens everywhere.

                            The burrito itself is so-so. The carne asade taste very similar to Chipotle actually. The meat has that same dried out texture. I wish they knew how to wrap a burrito in foil, and the cheese kind of overwhelmed the other flavors in mine. I live very close an it's nothing I would ever crave. Not bad, but not likely to fill a Mexican food craving for me.

                            1. re: sugartoof
                              h
                              hungryhowie RE: sugartoof Sep 2, 2008 02:14 PM

                              I don't know about the 25th Street cart, but I've eaten at the Soho cart a bunch of times and they always wear gloves when they're handling food. At least you can see them making your food - and the whole kitchen, for that matter. How many restaurants can you say that about?

                              1. re: hungryhowie
                                h
                                hungryhowie RE: hungryhowie Sep 2, 2008 02:17 PM

                                Also, are you serious about it being "similar to Chipotle?" The food at Calexico blows that corporate pre-made "food" away. Not even close!

                                1. re: hungryhowie
                                  s
                                  sugartoof RE: hungryhowie Sep 3, 2008 02:21 PM

                                  I already confirmed that they use gloves at 25th street.

                                  I did not find the quality of meat used at the Calexico cart to taste much different then Chipotle's both in spice, and texture. Calexico's burrito didn't taste of quality ingredients to me. Sorry.

                        2. bigjeff RE: kathryn Aug 28, 2008 09:15 AM

                          just checked it out yesterday, Wednesday August 27, and, MIA!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bigjeff
                            TongoRad RE: bigjeff Aug 28, 2008 09:28 AM

                            It was definitely there- I got a burrito just before 12. Maybe they ran out of food and left early.

                            I got the pork this time- it was allright, not great. Definitely needs a bit of a zing (a handful of serranos would really help it in that respect, the pickled jalapenos they offer aren't really my thing) and the pork had a mushy texture. The first thing I got from them was the carne asada with the 'crack' sauce, and that was the best of the lot thus far.

                          2. l
                            LI_Linda RE: kathryn Aug 28, 2008 11:23 AM

                            Are they still there? I went today (August 28th) at noon, and he wasn't there. What's up w/ that?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: LI_Linda
                              d
                              daveproper RE: LI_Linda Sep 30, 2008 11:23 AM

                              I just went Sep. 30th and they weren't there @ 1:45... Anyone?

                              1. re: daveproper
                                CalJack RE: daveproper Nov 19, 2008 09:05 AM

                                Can anyone confirm that the cart is still showing up at this location? No sign of it on Monday at 12:30pm; likewise the previous Thursday around 2pm. The message board on their site suggests that they relocated down to Broome & Broadway back in early-October, so perhaps I missed the memo...

                                Any suggestions for authentic Mexican alternatives in this neighborhood?

                                1. re: CalJack
                                  k
                                  kathryn RE: CalJack Nov 19, 2008 03:09 PM

                                  Haven't seen it for the last few weeks. Apparently the Vendys caused huge demand at their Soho cart, so they moved the 2nd cart downtown.

                            2. h
                              hungryhowie RE: kathryn Sep 2, 2008 02:10 PM

                              I heard a rumor that Calexico was rolling out a new cart in the east 20s, and I was really psyched since I love their Soho spot but it's a hike for me to get down there. I went by today and spoke to the main guy (Brian), and he said they're still working out the kinks with this cart in terms of staffing and supplying it and whatnot. So I think that's the reason for the inconsistent hours. Food-wise I found it really good, although the menu is pared down from the Soho cart. Brian explained that this is an effort to cut down on the wait time, which get a little ridiculous downtown. Anyway, I for one am happy to have these guys out on the streets of NY. They're clean, friendly, and seem to genuinely care about the food they serve - which I happen to find very tasty. I wish there were more carts like this in the city. Go Calexico!

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