I embrace the opportunity to improve my culinary vocabulary, especially when this also leads to new food, something that happened recently on Sofia’s Antojitos.
Let’s start with antojitos: I had to ask. My guess was small starters. More precisely, they are Mexican street food (mostly snacks). A large board, with several other new words, stands near the counter where orders are placed. My Spanish is fine when it comes to most foods south of the border, but the phrase “endulzate el palador” took some time to translate before I saw what is listed: churros, tres leches, arroz con leche and more. It means sweetening the palate – such a great way to say dessert! The patient attendants who explained the unknown things were appreciated.
Not quite what I expected was papas locas ($ 7). Here is a selection of chips discussed as a basis. Served in a paper-lined plastic basket, we chose tortilla chips, but briefly considered Ruffles. They are covered with chopped jicama, shredded cabbage, peanuts, cuertos (pickled pigskin), queso fresco, diced cucumbers, lime, pico de gallo and more. The best description is the nachos topped with fresh salad ingredients.
I knew about elotes preparado ($ 4.50) and esquites ($ 6). They are different versions of the same thing: fried corn. The former is on the flask, the second is kernels served in a cup. Both are slathered with mayo, queso fresco and chile powder. Esquites put the idea of creamy corn to shame. Esquites are creamy and sweet, with the chili adding a tasty element without too much spice. They are also less messy to eat than elots.
The rest of the menu is familiar, with tacos ($ 2.50), tostadas ($ 3.50) and sopes ($ 3.50) with a choice of multiple meats. These include carne asada, chicken, picadillo (hamburger) and al pastor.
Sopes made with cornmeal are shaped into a patty with a small edge. A thin layer of beans is topped with meat (asada for me), shredded lettuce, sliced jalapenos, queso fresco and avocado (50 cents plus). Salsa and sour cream are served next to it. Sometimes the cornmeal can overwhelm the other flavors, but here each component compliments the other.
Tortas are central to the menu table and with good reason. These sandwiches are sometimes overlooked as traditional Mexican food. Served on a large, soft roll, tortas can be stuffed with the same ingredients as a burrito. We chose two and should have only chosen one since these are impressively large. A single torta would have more than satisfied our appetite.
Nevertheless, we appreciated trying the different flavors. El Chavo ($ 10) looks like a standard submarine. The bread with soft golden crust is coated with mayo and filled with sliced ham, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, sliced onions, jalapenos and sliced sausages.
The Pambazo roll ($ 8) turned red thanks to the chili sauce (another discovery) of the same name, made from smoky guajillo chiles, where it was dipped and stuffed with chorizo salad, diced potatoes, queso fresco, lettuce and onions. The spice level was low, but the taste was not.
The freshly baked, not greasy, churro, heavily dusted with cinnamon sugar, is a great way to sweeten the palate.
Description: Mexican street food for dinner or takeaway
Placement: 1035 N. Academy Blvd.
Prices: $ 2.50 to $ 14.
Opening hours: 10am to 8.30pm every day
Details: Credit cards accepted. Wi-Fi.
Favorite dishes: Esquites, asada sope.
Other: Gluten-free and vegan options available.