>> El Atoradero | Eat the World NYC

18 September 2011

El Atoradero

MEXICO

El Atoradero is a tiny Pueblan grocery that seems to be expanding its territory, if not in size, in the hearts of the neighborhood. The Central American grocery a couple doors down appears to have closed its doors, so the ladies here have added not only some food items to their weekend-only kitchen, but carry football jerseys, decorative items, and common ingredients people might want for cooking as well.

Unfortunately the kitchen is only open on the weekends, and only for about five hours each day, starting in the morning and continuing through an early lunch. Walk in on a Saturday and be rewarded with the smells of a deep cauldron of carnitas simmering right in front.


There is little room to maneuver, but everyone here is very accommodating so don't be shy to step up to the grill and ask what is good today. Many things can be cooked fresh everyday that the kitchen is open, but it seems like they have some random specials as well, depending on the day. Make sure to ask.

Wanting to give a try to each of the three homemade salsas on offer, we ordered three picaditas ($3 each, below). Often times a picadita is very similar to your common sope, and I figure the difference is really just in size, but here the tortilla is elongated into an oval and even larger than usual. The other difference is a lack of beans, as they let their salsas do the talking.


It seems only natural to order as many items with carnitas as possible here, since they are so obviously the specialty. We topped the tomatillo and salsa verde with it, and used the salsa roja with chorizo. All are excellent, but the tomatillo truly shines for freshness and variety. They make only a small amount daily, so ask to see it and marvel at its complexity.

To show off the Central American side of the menu, we were offered some pupusas ($2, below). These were surprisingly good cooked by this Pueblan woman, and could definitely stand up next to some of the city's best Salvadoran fare. Loroco flowers can only be found in parts of Central America, but they import it here and it is by far the way to go.


You will be offered curtido, the pink fermented cabbage relish, and as always the answer should be yes.

I also asked about the availability of Honduran baleadas, and without hesitation was told that those would be cooked tomorrow, so the place definitely has some lasting power with variety. If you are looking for something specific, call beforehand and ask. She seems amenable to almost anything, and after having tried a couple things, I would trust her with a wide range of dishes.

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