Sunday, February 21, 2010
Welcome to Fruitvale Sucker
Neighborhoods are defined by characteristics both tangible and unnoticed. What goes unsaid is what is most salient. The food of a geographic region not only tells of its class, but of its ethnicity, and of its history.
Taqueria El Farolito is located at the end of my block. Hosting long hours, longer than the other restaurants around, and of course later than the tamale carts that operate during the pedestrian hours. This little corner stop foodery offers standard fair, and by that I mean mother fucking burritos.
The burrito, or little donkey, has a long history in the bay area. According to Mexican history some good hearted Latino came up from mexico and started wrapping up his tacos in large flour tortillas. His cart was pushed around by an ass and since the flavorful treat already looked like an ass' ear and the cart being pushed around by that infamous beast of burden, well the taco treat was named the burrito.
The San Francisco burrito is the archetype for all burritos. A nice steamed tortilla is packed with rice and beans along with other various goods. While attributed to the latino crowd the burrito is not commonly found south of the border.
Fruitvale harboring a population (on record) of being 49 % latino (probably much higher) has a lot of tacquerias. You can get pollo tacos, enchiladas, even the disgusting morning breakfast of heuvos rancheros anywhere you go! At the end of my street there are four different restaurants within eye sight all selling essentially the same goods (plus a tamale cart).
Enough bullshitting about local history let's get to the food!
This meal, enjoyed at a pretty proletarian price of $4.88 included chips, the salsa was self serve and what makes this little restaurant on the corner stand out is its green salsa. Us gringos don't know much about salsa but my tastebuds sure know when one is good!Right about when my appetite was satiated with the salty corn chips and salsa my burrito came to my table. I got my burrito vegetarian, the only way I roll. Hopefully though those beans didn't have lard in them. I operate under a strict (vegan) diet where don't ask don't tell is key, and hey this jefe no hablo español.
My companion at the time asked me to describe my burrito with three adjectives. My key selection of descriptors would be: beany, wet, and soft. Looking at this picture you can see that big hunk of protein sitting right in the middle of that treat. Us white people aren't used to that many refried pellets in our food. Why ground beef in the hamburger helper or hotdogs in the macaroni and cheese is cause for alarm. 'Those little nuggets of goodness sure did drip though, leaking their juice all over the tray while I was eating. Perhaps that's why the wrap was so wet and soft, although the fact that the tortilla was steamed before filled probably helped the attributes of being wet and soft.
To wash down all this "south of the border" muck, my companion and I slurped on some negro modelos. A lager that's popular amongst the kids in the hood.
Overall the restaurant is nice, cheap and open late hours. Their food is pretty standard, and inexpensive, and hey given my inability to get a raise I'll be frequently this plate often!