The most notable element of my torta de cecina (dried beef, $7) wasn't between the bread, it was the bread itself.
In Mexico, a telera is the loaf of choice for making a torta. This flattish oval white bread, which has a soft, chewy crumb and a crust that may be not much crustier, can be identified at a glance by its three-lobed top. Sometimes the lobes are less prominent. In New York, often they're absent altogether, since many torta-makers use whatever bread they can consistently lay their hands on, and few local bakeries seem to make teleras.
Las Palomas, whose proprietors come from Puebla, offers a short menu of tacos, tortas, and quesadillas every day. On weekends, tamales are delivered by a lady from Guerrero; her version filled with "rajas," "strips" of roasted and seasoned chili peppers, invariably sells out before I arrive.
Previously: candied fruit, Mexican style. The conversion of fresh fruits into frutas cristalizadas begins with a daylong immersion in limewater. As with the nixtamalization of corn, this process greatly diminishes the presence of mycotoxins, which are released by fungi living on the crops. It also softens the surfaces of the fruits so that when boiled, repeatedly, in syrup, they are more receptive to the introduction of sugar. (Pricking the fruits with pins helps, too.) Once dried, they will keep for several months.
This imported assortment includes apples, bananas, black figs, small pears, pineapple, two types of sweet potato, and watermelon. The chunk of watermelon in the center, with the most prominent seeds, cost $1.70 (at $5 per pound); it's also shown below, already reduced in size by about half. Though you may not want to swallow them, even the seeds are pleasant to chew on.
Also shown below: What's called dulce de leche when made from cow's milk is called cajeta quemada (310 g., $3) when made from goat's milk. The principal distinction, judging by this one jar, seems to be that cajeta is cooked down to a toastier brown. Indeed, "quemada" means "burned"; "cajeta" refers to the traditional presentation, in a small wooden "box". Earlier, and goofier: Skwinkles Salsaghetti, "hot mango flavored candy strips and tamarind flavored sauce" (24 g., 50 cents).
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