Normally the family that causes pedestrian traffic on a corner to be impassable would be reason for anger, but in the case of the group that usually sets up shop on evenings in Sunset Park, it is cause for celebration. On the Northwest corner of 45th Street and 5th Avenue in front of the Metro PCS store, two brothers take and make orders, while mom (wo)mans the fryer, tucked behind a public phone box.
A long list of items is on multiple bright signs, advertising gorditas, empanadas, esquites, elotes, and all manner of drinks. Rarely a week passes that I cannot resist getting a cup of their beautiful esquites, some of the best in the city. Besides drinks, I rarely see anyone get much besides esquites and gorditas, and recommend you to follow form.
To avoid waiting for a bit, the easiest thing to do here is grab an order of esquites ($3, small, below), available in sizes up to $8. They customize every order and it is fascinating to watch the locals ask for their preparations just the right way. In my estimation it is best with everything, and that includes a thick slather of mayo, a nice sprinkling of grated cheese, a healthy squeeze of a lime, and topped with spicy pepper powder.
In Mexico, the larger street esquites operations will have a whole separate cart with self-serve condiments that always completely overwhelm me with options, so it is nice to have the guys here do it so spot on with their selections. Too much lime, and you kill your own creation.
The gorditas are served with either chicharron or chicken, and always come with at least a six minute wait, sometimes up to 15. Most of the people lingering around are waiting for their order, so it only makes sense to try them as well. If there is one thing I know about New York, trust a line, unless it is full of white people.
The gordita ($3, above) is probably not my favorite Mexican antojito to begin with, but the version here is clearly outshined in my mind by the corn. That being said, I can rarely resist ordering both together, so maybe I subconsciously like it more than I admit.
The meat portions are admittedly small and hidden inside, when you open it you see the freshly sliced avocado, their nicely picante salsa, and other dressings. This is meant to be eaten by hand and comes wrapped in foil.
They usually start setting up around 5pm, so come after that. For $6, you have pleasantly filled your belly, and had fun doing it. Your hands may be a bit dirty, but you brought a wetnap, right?