Off the Beaten Path: Picadita de Lengua at Delicias Isabel in Jackson Heights
[Photos: Joe DiStefano]
While many in New York City spent Halloween watching the parade, I did it up Queens style. There's something incredible about walking the pan-Latin stretch of Roosevelt Avenue, from Jackson Heights into Corona, and seeing all the costumed little kids trick-or-treating with their parents. Plus, I get to eat at food streets carts like Delicias Isabel, a Mexican operation that stands outside of the truly creepy botanica, El Indio Amazonico.
Lately I've been giving Mexican food short shrift, so I was particularly glad to have run across this cart and especially intrigued by the sign reading "picaditas." The gal behind the counter refused to let me takes pictures, but she assured me that a picadita was far better than a mere taco. "Es como un huarache?" I asked, wondering if it was like the sandal-shaped Mexican snack. After receiving an enthusiastic nod in response I ordered a picadita de lengua ($5).
Picadita means "little pinch," and I watched eagerly as she formed masa into a circle and then pinched the edges upwards creating a shallow bowl of sorts. To this she added a shmear of refried beans. While it continued to cook, she crisped up chunks of steamed beef tongue on the plancha. These were then added to the saucer of cooked masa and finally topped off with shredded lettuce, crema, and crumbled cotija cheese. The end result was a tad messy to eat without utensils but nonetheless delicious.
Delicias Isabel is open 24-7.
88-28 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights NY 11373 (map)