Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
La Fachada Logan Heights: Gordita vs. mulita
But what’s with the Health Department shutting down outside cooking at Mexican eateries?
“Used heart for sale,” sing Los Tigres del Norte. “Because I just don’t want to mend it…”
Aah. I can relax. Sunset, cocktails, music. Love it.
Okay, so the cocktail is guayaba juice (guava, totally delish, $1.80), the appetizer’s gonna be a gordita ($4.15), and the place me and other customers are sitting at is chairs and tables under an open white wooden shelter in a kinda parking lot.
It’s dusk. We’re here outside La Fachada (“The Façade”)...
...opposite the police station at 25th Street (#20, 25th Street, Logan Heights, 619-236-8566). I’d jumped off the Orange Line trolley (25th Street stop is yards away) jes’ because I thought I could get something here that Carla’d like and I could chomp part of now – and probably spend less than if I went got something at Von’s.
link textIan and I have both been here before. About a year ago he was getting into their cabeza and tongue tacos. They have a much bigger menu in the blue main building, but tonight I’m sticking out here for their outside “truck” food.
Main choices: gorditas, mulitas, taquitos, quesadilla asada, huarache, rolled tacos and sopes. Honest truth is I still confuse gorditas, mulitas, huaraches and sopes. They all look like corn tortilla disks with stuff on top.
“The gordita is deep fried tortilla with meat, cheesecream, lettuce and cotija cheese on top,” says Vicki the cashier. “The mulita is two grilled tortillas with meat, white cheese, onions and cilantro sandwiched inside.”
I stop her there, ’cause any further and I’ll forget the first two. I order one of each, but mine, the gordita, for here. Jes’ too danged hungry.
Vicki the cashier with Marta the cook
She brings chips and red tomate-based salsa...
...then the gordita.
And a pot to fill with beans at the outside grill where a big saucepan’s steaming above glowing coals. It’s got beans in their juices inside. And on a tray next to it, roasting slowly away, green jalapeño peppers and onions. I grab some of all of them.
What a combo. The gordita’s specially good, and filling. It’s crisp underneath, and the al pastor pork and white cheddar is covered with cream and lettuce. I go get a pot of green jalapeño hot sauce, pour it over, and have at it.
Love the combo: hot, picante, that flavorful pork, and the crisp skin, refreshed by shredded lettuce, and sweetened by sucks at the guava juice.
Main difference with last time I was here though: they used to have an actual food truck parked in the garden, and tables out around it, and meat and onions and peppers and frijoles smoking on open grills. You couldn’t walk up 25th at night without being totally seduced by the smoke and the savory smells. It was always crowded.
“The Health Department said we had to have a permanent structure, and cooking indoors.” says Jose, the boss. “It might be their tradition, but it’s not a Mexican tradition. We lost a lot of customers.”
Dang. Since when is cooking and eating outdoors a threat to health? The authorities did the same with a food truck down at the Iris Avenue bus and trolley stop. They could only keep going if they took their savory smoke indoors and took away all the tables and chairs.
Is this crazy or what? Somebody ought to go tell those health fellas that this here is a border town. Ya gotta give a little to live a little.
P.S.: Carla loved her carne asada-filled mulita.
More like this:
- Go tell it on the mountain: a pictorial history of the Paramount logo — May 6, 2013
- See the book, read the movie — April 4, 2013
- Coronado street taco wars: Costa Azul steps up to the plata! — April 2, 2013
- Low-pay sope! — Sept. 13, 2012
- La Fachada: Dirt Cheap Barrio Tacos — March 12, 2012