Regalo de Juquila Deli (1209 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn; 347-240-7111) is a five-year-old bodega that blends the taqueria-bodega model more comfortably than most. Picnic tables give you room to relax; they’re surrounded by shelves of Mexican produce and a deep stock of Arizona iced tea. A cook from Veracruz assembles tamales while picking up the occasional order; the owner is from Cuernavaca, Morelos. The name of the deli originates in Oaxaca — it pays homage to a municipality called Santa Catarina Juquila in the foothills of the Santa Madre del Sur, which is surely awash in hot pink bougainvillea while we are left with gray skies.
Tables are set with red-and-white-checkered wax cloth. Bowls of tart green avocado salsa and bottles of Valentina are within easy reach. A taxidermied deer stares on overhead.
Tacos, quesadillas, tostadas, picadas, and tortas are listed on the menu, though you can certainly get an order of enchiladas or a burrito if you ask. Tacos are paltry; double tortillas overwhelm a heaping tablespoon or so of meat and an equal volume of cilantro and onions, though the bistec and carne enchilada bits have been nicely seared. The tostadas are pleasant heaps of crisp salad and cool crema hiding chipotle-mopped tinga and pureed beans; the fried tortillas crack loudly under pressure. There’s a nice selection of bottled hot sauces for purchase with barbacoa and pancita on the weekends. This is just the place to run down to to pick up some milk or a tomatillo or two.
Scarlett Lindeman is a Brooklyn-based writer covering the city’s best taquerias, fondas, and cantinas.