Let's just always assume that any time I'm at Serious Eats, I've sampled something delicious (or not delicious, sometimes). Yesterday that "something" was a few sandwiches that Kenji made. I also learned what "pambazo" is, and whoa, I wish I had known sooner. Red guajillo pepper sauce soaked bread, y'all. Get on board.
Yesterday, I went to Chavela's. It's right on the corner of the street I lived on when I first moved to New York. I know, I know, it wasn't a long time ago, but still, it felt a little sentimental. Especially since the whole time I lived there, Chavela's was closed (they were in the process of moving into a new space). But there was so much hype around it, with rumors floating around that this was the week it would re-open. Every time, I thought "this is finally happening!" It was like the second coming, like Chavela's was supposed to make Crown Heights the place to be. But summer passed, I moved to Bed-Stuy, and Chavela's still wasn't open. You can only cling to that kind of hope for so long... If my life was a movie, this might have been one of those dramatically narrated slow scenes-- our moving truck driving away from a still-unopened Chavela's as I cried goodbye to the cross streets I'd never see again. Actually, that's not how moving day happened at all but sadly, I hardly ever go back to that part of Crown Heights any more.
Obviously, Chavela's finally did re-open, and people really seemed to freak out about it. After what felt like an eternity of waiting to try it out, I finally made the stupidly roundabout trip of getting there. As we were sitting down, one guy came in and said to his friend, "Isn't this place so quaint and charming?!" It was weird that he didn't have a British accent. I mean, I wanted to laugh but also, he was pretty spot on. Maybe that's why everyone loves it so much because I thought the food, while totally enjoyable and delicious, was not worth the total heartbreak I felt after a summer of disappointment. I got the chicken mole taco, the carne enchilada taco, and the salsa trio with fried corn tortillas. Sweet, smoky, a little spicy, and really filling is how I would describe most of my meal. This isn't the super authentic Mexican restaurant I thought it was going to be, but the atmosphere was so pleasant (gag me for saying this, I'm not a yelp review!), the food was cheap ($2 tacos at happy hours, they're huge), and it felt nice to be back so close to my first home here.
Oh yeah, later I ate a piece of toast with raspberry jam.