Breakfast with a Beat (Veracruz)
It was our last day in Veracruz and four of us had just cruised through the Mercado Hidalgo indulging in some chile relleno tacos and a plump platano relleno (both delicious) at Taqueria Rosita. We exited the mercado sated, happy and with no particular plan in mind but to just start walking. One of our number suggested that since we were only a few blocks away, that we go check out the infladas at Samborcitos. Never mind that we had each probably just consumed enough fat to meet the weekly RDA for it, nor that we weren't really hungry. It was our last day in town and we were determined to eat as much of our way around it as we could. So off we went to Samborcitos.
Samborcitos, while poking gentle fun at it, is not to be confused with Sanborn's, the ephymous Mexican department store & cafe chain. We arrived at the height of the breakfast service and were led to the last available table...in front of the kitchen and in front of the band. Yes, Samborcitos has live entertainment on weekends. This Saturday it was a small Afro-Cuban trio with a great beat and an even better singer...yes, I bought the CD on the way out the door. The place was jumping even without the entertainment with multigenerational families filling up table after table under the heavily thatched roof. But on to the food. Having eaten our fill in the market we weren't too sure how much we could really squeeze in. Turns out quite a bit.
We ordered the infamous infladas that had sparked the visit. An inflada is really just the Veracruzana version of a gordita. When the masa tortilla is flipped on the comal and puffs, you can slit and fill it, except that an inflada goes into the deep fryer instead of a comal. They came in two varieties at Samborcitos, blanca or negro...black or white. The blanca was a plain inflada about 7" in diameter and the negro had black beans in the dough. We liked both but felt the negro was better than the blanca. Both were just a little bit too greasy. Infladas come "sencilla" (simple or plain) or "preparada", meaning at breakfast with eggs, crema, cheese and lord knows what else. The inflada is simply the base for all the toppings.
Next up were the Picadas, the Veracruz version of sopes. I thought these were the least successful and somewhat flabby. They were enhanced by both salsas that were on the table. One was red, and smooth with a good deal of bite to it. The other was green, chunky and only mildy incindiary. Finally, we ordered 2 empanadas, one filled with queso (cheese) and the other with picadillo. None of us were quite prepared for the mosterous size, each one fill a 9" dinner plate. Both were fabulous and both lacked the somewhat greasy finish that marred the infladas. The salsa verde went beautifully with the cheese empanada and the red with the picadillo.
We drained a pitcher of agua de sandia (watermelon) as well as a few cups of decent coffee. While waiting for our food and listening to the band we had a birds-eye view of the kitchen prepping all the fruits, juices and licuados. The fruit was beautifully ripe and each pitcher of agua, glass of juice or fruit salad and every licaudo looked better than the one that had gone out before it.
Samborcitos is located at 16 de Septiembre 700 in the city of Veracruz, about 6 or 7 blocks from the Mercado Hidalgo. It's not fancy, nor will the food make you swoon, and it's definitely not "destination dining". It's a fun family place that services good to very good regional specialties at very reasonable prices; the 4 of us got out of there for about $5 a piece.