Pozole at Zaragoza Grocery in the East Village
Zaragoza Grocery, near the corner of Avenue A and 12th Street, may be the East Village's only Mexican bodega. The shelves are lined with staples of Mexican cooking and bottled salsas and chles, while boxes on the floor and in the refrigerator hold avocados, tomatillos, and southern Mexican herbs like herba santa, cilantro, and papalo.
But Zaragoza is one of those bodegas that has gradually morphed into a cafe over the last few years, so that now more space in the interior is devoted to small tables (there are two) than to shelves of groceries, and the space given over to taco fixings on the cash register counter has increased substantially.
A chalkboard out front offers the usual tacos, tamales, quesadillas, and tortas that are standard in taquerias, but also a handful of more ambitious main dishes dear to Pueblans. On a recent afternoon, there was chicken tinga (a fiery sauce of chipotle chiles), mole poblano with chicken, potatoes and chorizo (doubling as a taco filling), and country-style steak with onions.
Even though it was Thursday, pozole was already available--a filling stew of hominy and shredded pork, with a broth pale, salty, and supremely porky. Alongside come two black-bean tostadas squirted with crema and littered with queso seco. This giant meal will set you back just $8, and it would be more sensible to share it with a friend. 215 Avenue A, 212-780-9204
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