Antojitos Smothered in Toppings at Los Yaquis
|Quesadillas with ham and cheese (and pork and avocado and...), $7.|
Look over the cook's station in the front of the restaurant, and you'll see the botanas ― glass jars filled with orange, green, and white ingredients. There are slippery, jelly-like strips of cueritos (pickled pork skin), shredded carrots, chopped cactus, thinly sliced pork loin, and head cheese. They'll put together a small plate of the botanas (which also includes quail eggs and pickled pig's feet) for $6, or you can order tacos dorados, fried quesadillas, or tostadas smothered in your choice of the snacks. The owners come from San Juan de Los Lagos in Jalisco; Samuel Aguirre, who I talked to over the phone, says that the snack-bar approach to topping antojitos is common in the region.
In fact, I went back a few weeks after my first visit for the tacos and got distracted by another smothered house specialty, the torta ahogada ($6.50). The cooks packed a warm bolillo with pork loin, avocado, tomato, and white cheese, then doused it in a thin red chile salsa so precise and potent in its heat I had to take two-minute rests after every third or fourth bite. Did that stop me from finishing the sandwich? Hardly.
Los Yaquis: 324 S. Van Ness (at 15th St.), 252-8204. Open for lunch and dinner.