Undercover Tripe Stew and Tamales
Homemade tamales and empanadas at a tiny Mexican bakery, tripe stew stacked in the freezer of a Polish deli--these foods aren't exactly undercover, but in order to find this good stuff, you've got to notice the little hand-written sign that reads "tamales," or root through the freezer, past the giant tub of frozen pig brains, to find the homemade tripe stew. I love this sort of thing. (I also recently found a health food store where you can get to-go containers of Northern Indian food, made by the owner, probably not health-department sanctioned; but that's for another post.)
The tamales and empanadas are at Lopez Bakery, and the tripe stew is at Jubilat Provisions, both in Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn. A photo tour of the food and more info after the jump.
Today, she had spinach-cheese empanadas and beef-mushroom. The beef-mushroom is earthy and rich, but to me, the spinach-cheese is the best way to go. It is really wonderful--a mix of cubed, mild Oaxacan cheese and large, tender spinach leaves.
And here we have Lopez's tamales, broken open so you can see the fillings. On the left is red chile and cheese, my favorite. It's got a good kick, with bits of tomato and stringy Oaxacan cheese. In the middle, green chile and chicken, also with a little heat, although the chicken is a bit dry. On the right, mole poblano-chicken, which was less assertive than I would have liked, but worth a try nonetheless. The steamy masa on the outside is really great--crumbly, corny and fragrant.
645 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn
This is very serious tripe stew, for serious tripe lovers. There is a copious amount of fluttery strips of tripe in the thin, salty beef broth, along with a bit of marjoram, black pepper and a few pieces of carrot. Other than that, it's just the tripe, which has been stewed to tenderness.
608 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn