In Celebration of Street Food
I know the foodies of the world may turn up their noses, but the reality is that the streets of a city often offer some of the best food around.
No, you will generally not be getting some great presentation like you would at Four Seasons, but if you are even a little adventurous, let me tell you, the street's where it's at!
Now while this is true in a city like Los Angeles, where I've had many a memorable meal from las loncheras, it is even more so in Mexico, where I spend almost half my life.
Sadly, many people will never experience anything like a steaming plate of tacos right off the grill because they fear what might happen. Too bad.
I still fondly recall the night my son Joseph, and friends Jose Luis and Cesar joined me for a night of tacos at El Flacco's in Guadalajara. An hour after arriving, we walked away from that little stand completely stuffed after a feast of 64 tacos!
One of my favorite places for street food in Mexico is Tonalà, one of the cities that make up the greater Guadalajara area. On weekend nights, the main plaza is alive with people, excitement, and food. Tacos, bacon wrapped hot dogs, hamburgers with pineapple, tamales, pozolé and fresh fried potato chips are just a few of the offerings.
Once you've had your main course, if you can pass by the tres leches cake booth, make your way to where they are serving bionicos for dessert. This amalgam of freshly cut fruit, nuts, honey and cream is the perfect way to top off your food tour of the main plaza in Tonalà.
Another favorite of mine is Taqueria El Rodeo in Oaxaca. Located across the street from the ADO Central Bus Station in Barrio Jalatlaco, this place has some of the best alambre in Oaxaca.
Thin strips of beef, bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms are all covered in melted quesillo, a wonderful Oaxaca cheese. Order a plate and Antonio, pictured below at his grill, gives you an order of ten tortillas so you can share with your friends.
Now here's the beauty of Mexican food stands... your food is made when you order it, you can eat all you want, they are incredibly cheap, and they trust you to pay afterwards when you are all finished. Imagine that, you can run a taco tab!
Looking for good food when you travel? Want to eat where the locals do? leave the five star places behind and hit the streets and the markets.
Look for the crowds, follow your nose and be adventurous... you, and your stomach will be glad you did!
Here's a few more photos, many shot by my friend Joe Ramirez from Mission Focused.
Here I am getting some tejate from a little market stand, Ocotlan, Oaxaca