Street Elotes and Oaxacan Tamales: Double Incredibly Cheap Eats
At the corner of 47th Street and Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park, a woman at a cart is frying up gorditas stuffed with chicharrones, and fashioning rolled tacos and elotes, ears of corn slathered with mayo, cotija cheese, and chile powder. Big jugs of homemade green salsa and pico de gallo sit on the front of the cart. "Are you here everyday?" I ask her, and she looks at me like I'm insane. "No, it's too cold," she says. "40 is my limit." And it is almost balmy, compared to the last two weeks, so I choose the elotes ($2), a summery treat that's completely out of season now, but that is so tasty it's hard to care.
A little taste of summer
Walking a block north, gnawing on corn, I fall over a shopping cart filled to the top with bags of dried chiles--many varieties, all soft and pliable as good dried chiles should be. Inside the shop, called Don Franciso Carniceria, tamales of all sorts are sold, along with other snacks.
Oaxacan tamales are cooked in banana leaves
The Oaxacan tamale ($1.50) is hot and steamy, wrapped in a slick, army-green banana leaf. (Tamales from Oaxaca are usually steamed in these, rather than in corn husks.) The leaves give off a smell vaguely reminiscent of artichokes, and the masa is stuffed with moist shredded chicken, all of it tinged red from a delicious guajillo chile and cumin sauce.
Between the corn and the tamale, a balanced, full lunch can be had for the incredibly-cheap-eats-certified price of $3.50.
Corner of 47th and Fifth Avenues, Brooklyn
Selling on days when the temperature is above 40 degrees
Don Franciso Carniceria
4805 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn