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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Plan Your Weekend Around El Huarache Loco's Huitlacoche Huarache

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 12:22 PM

El Huarache Loco's Huitlacoche Huarache - TREVOR FELCH
  • Trevor Felch
  • El Huarache Loco's Huitlacoche Huarache

Away from the seagulls and tourist-driven-organic-local-seasonal-sustainable-hubbub that is the Saturday morning Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market at the Ferry Building, there is another farmers’ market going on that dates back to when farmers’ markets were, well, affordable and used for produce shopping.

At the Alemany Farmers’ Market, also known these days as “The People’s Market”  — as I was told while perusing clementines — you swap the magical Bay Bridge views for equally magical vistas of the 101-280 interchange. More importantly, El Huarache Loco is one of the food vendors.

The roster of food vendors at Alemany is small, but the quality is staggering. Best of all, you don’t even have to wake up at dawn to get in line (as you do with the Ferry Building farmers' market). El Huarache Loco’s huitlacoche huarache is not just awesome alliteration, but well worth the visit.

After being one of the original La Cocina graduates in 2005, they’re only available at the stand Saturdays and Sundays at the Alemany Farmers’ Market and Flea Market, though Veronica Salazar has expanded across the Golden Gate to Larkspur’s Marin Country Mart in Larkspur, coincidentally an upscale, yoga-soccer mom shop-and-eat destination that is far more Ferry Building than Alemany.

The obligatory comment on a huarache is that it looks like its Spanish namesake: a sandal. It sort of does, but a more accurate description is that of a barely puffed, horizontally stretched, oval. Either way, it’s a denser masa tortilla than the ones used for tacos, but not close to a tamale’s thickness. The most similar comparison would be sopes. A huarache’s unique shape really displays itself after a quick visit to a skillet —  the edges crisp up in tortilla chip-fashion and the cente resembles a lightly charred gnocchi. At El Huarache Loco, the masa gets filled with black beans and rings up for $7.50.

It’s no wonder huitlacoche is often considered Mexico’s “truffle,” sans the trained pigs and 1,000 euro price tags. As a young food writer in Los Angeles a decade ago, I specifically seeked out this topping on a huarache at a place that was named for huaraches. After a hesitant look, the cashier accepted my order and I became a huitlacoche huarache convert, black teeth and all. El Huarache Loco’s version is equally superb, bolstered by a blast of cilantro, loose corn kernels to accentuate the corn element of the huitlacoche, a mild chipotle-evoking smoky salsa, onions, and smooth, tangy queso fresco. Ask for just a touch of sour cream so it doesn’t cover up the gentle profile of the huitlacoche since it’s not a “loud” taste.

Do also sample the nopales (cactus with tomatoes, cilantro and onions that seems like a dead ringer for pickled green beans), mushrooms and eggs with mole on other huaraches or smaller tacos. Yet there’s no doubt your heart will surely be stained the color of black ink and shaped like a sandal after the huitlacoche huarache.

100 Alemany Blvd. Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m.- 3 p.m.
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Trevor Felch

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