We just got back from Monterrey, a strikingly beautiful yet largely non-touristy desert-mountain town in northern Mexico. (Fun fact: in Monterrey, they serve tacos on diminutive soft flour tortillas in addition to the traditional corn ones. It’s a cool culinary nod to neighboring Texas that we’ve never seen anywhere else in Mexico, where corn rules the tortilla scene.) Anyway, our trip was short, which meant we returned to Ridgewood craving more Mexican food.
Since we happen to love cemitas — the chipotle’d, sesame seed–topped sister-sandwich to the more common torta — we stopped by Tacos La Carcachita, the Mexican food truck we’ve been meaning to check out forever. The results were pleasing!
Why It Stands Out: A few bites into our milanesa de pollo (breaded chicken) cemita, we noticed a savory-ness that seemed out of place. What were these extra flavor dimensions? It just tasted… more meaty. Lo and behold, we peeled back the bun to reveal: BONUS HAM. It reminded us of the cemitas we ate in Puebla, Puebla, where the sandwich originates from, and where they pile everything under the sun onto a single bun, often as a way to use leftovers (see photo below). In New York, cemita fixins generally just include refried beans, chipotle, avocado, quesillo (stringy white cheese), and a key herb called papalo (in the vein of cilantro). We’ve never seen bonus ham on a cemita here!
Cost: $7 for a giant cemita. It’s a dollar more than the ones at the other Myrtle-Wyckoff carts (Sabor Mexicano and the new nameless one with hot pink signs), but you get more chicken (several layers of crispy-tender cutlets), and did we mention the bonus ham? If your cemita budget is limited to $6, then try the ones at Sabor; they’re really good too, just ham-less.
Other Things You Should Know: Our cemita was missing the ever-pungent and delicious papalo — a traditional and key cemita component — which unfortunately we didn’t realize until we got home. Hopefully this was just an oversight, but when you order a cemita here, be sure to ask for it “con papalo.” (Update: We went back and asked for papalo, and apparently they don’t use it there. Kind of weird, but oh well. Still the best cemitas around.)
Tacos La Carcachita
Wyckoff Avenue near Palmetto Street [map]