A peek inside Zaragoza
We’re a tad preoccupied with Latin American eats this week and thanks to hip cantinas like Empellon Cocina and Toloache, the modern taco has been elevated to gourmet status. But let’s not forget its humble beginnings as a Mexican street food staple. Much like the ubiquitous New York pretzel stands, vendors selling tacos and other antojitos (snack foods) pepper city corners and roadsides all over Mexico, their most popular offering arguably being the taco. Hungry foodies craving a truly authentic, no-frills taco will find just that at Zaragoza Mexican Deli & Grocer in the East Village. The “blink and you’ll miss it” eatery is nestled between a bar and bodega on Avenue A. Step inside, and you’re not in New York anymore, but a friendly little grab-and-go joint in Mexico City.
Zaragoza’s tacos, just $3 a pop (or $3.50 for a grande), are made to order behind the small cashier’s counter. One bite of my veggie and bean taco proves the mantra that sometimes the simplest preparation of fresh ingredients yields the best results.
It all starts with the tortilla, the quality of which can make or break a good taco. Luckily, these are soft, warm, and fragrant of corn. In fact, each ingredient in the small taco declares its presence with maximum flavor. Diced onions and cilantro mingle with savory pinto beans, Mexican rice, and crunchy Romaine (no withered iceberg here!). All this comes topped with one juicy tomato slice, sharp cotija cheese, and a drizzle of sour cream. A dollop of jalapeno relish gives the taco a nice kick of heat. For the full effect, wash it all down with a sweet Jarritos soda.
Zaragoza Mexican Deli & Grocery
215 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009