It is morning, and I leave my small apartment on the corner of Calle Durango and Avenida Sonora, becoming immediately stuck at a small tent directly opposite the front door.
Underneath a weathered canvas awning a large plancha sits atop red-hot charcoal. It is the thick aroma of meat and charcoal smoke that draws me like a moth to a small plastic stool in front of a low table. The stool is made for humans of a different sort; the sort who are not six feet tall. Its cheap, wobbly legs bend precipitously under my weight.
Rows of colorful bins filled with black beans, fried meats, fresh chiles, pickled vegetables, and other delicacies that I don’t even recognize beckon. I am under a spell. I immediately forget all plans for the morning.
I gesture at what appears to be a Chili Relenos as my Spanish totals about three words so far. The proprietress speaks briefly to her husband, a bald Chilango with greying facial hair who is refilling a bin of pickled nopales, and moments later introduces me to the wonders of Tacos de Guisado: an entire meal folded inside a warm flour tortilla — in this case, a small, mild, vegetal spanish chile oozing with Queso Oaxaca, cut with liberal spoonfuls of fragrant, herbal Salsa Verde.
Half a block later my curiosity gets the better of me again and I find myself under another awning, swallowing some kind of delicious contrivance of fresh masa, fatty minced beef, velvety white queso, nopales, jalapeños, cilantro, onion, and tomato. It is nearly noon by the time I waddle across the street. I vow to never eat again.