Vegetarian Delights of NYC--Salsa Verde Tamale
Step into Don Paco Lopez Panaderia and the warm smell of sugar and butter envelops you. The bakery specializes in dozens of different sorts of Mexican sweet rolls and cakes, and there's selection of Mexican candies, including extra-spicy Pulparindo (amazing!).
But on the other side of the store, a small counter dishes out savories. There are tacos, huaraches and menudo on the weekends, and a smaller selection of tortas and tamales on the weekdays. The tamales are entirely made in house, and occupy a steamer, covered with a damp dishtowel.
Three tamale fillings are offered: pork-mole, jalapeno-chicken and salsa verde-cheese. The last is meat-free and very tasty. (Some places use lard in their masa dough, but many just use corn oil. This one tastes neutral and corny and not at all porky, so I believe they use the latter.) The salsa verde is tart and zippy, tasting of jalapenos and cilantro. The cheese, surprisingly, is not queso fresco or stretchy Oaxacan cheese, but plain old salty, melty American cheese. The combination is strangely delicious.
Don Paco Lopez Panaderia 4703 Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn
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