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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Red Hook'd: Martinez Huaraches

Approach the Red Hook Soccer Fields at Clinton and Bay, and chances are you'll stumble across a long line of folks gawking over what look to be oblong, burrito-quesadilla hybrids. The commotion? Tantric tortillas with titilating toppings to tempt your tummy courtesy of two fine folks, Fernando Martinez and his wife Jolanda (above).

The Martinez family occupies the first stand at the intersection of Clinton and Bay; they run the second-oldest huarache tent in the area; and their lines often run double-digits. What does all this add up to? Not much, inquisitive reader, except some mighty good eats.
Every Martinez huarache starts with a pat: masa pressed flat, spread with a thin layer of black bean, pressed again, and thrown on the griddle. For such a simple process it's pretty mesmerizing stuff. I grew especially fond of watching quesadilla tortillas (huaraches without the bean layer) spring to life: when cooked, they puff right up like hot poori. And things like this pass for exciting times here at The Porkchop Express.

Carne Asada huarache

Fernando Martinez has been around over 12 years, and his experience shows. He took particular pride in his carne asada, so we started there. Terrific stuff, cut in strips and piled high with the usual fixings and a spoonful of smooth guacamole. Don't forget to sample some of their homemade salsas, like the tasty jalepeno-based puree or chunky tomato-onion.

Puerco Adobado taco

Still hungry? Not in the slightest. But the smell of grilled meats stoked our courage, and we ordered a pork taco cooked with an adobado marinade. This is less spicy than the enchilada style, but nothing that a dash of red chilie sauce couldn't compensate for.

Chicken quesadilla

For reasons still unclear, we were so worked up that we ordered another intriguing item: one of their giant quesadillas, grilled with whole-milk mozzarella and stacked as high as the huarache. The main difference? When you replace beans with cheese, you get a crisper tortilla texture. Huaraches derive a toothsome quality from the inclusion of beans; in their absence, the quesadilla tortilla (made from the same masa, in the same manner) took on a bit more snap. They were both great, so it really is just a matter of mood, personal preference, or love of melted cheese. Though we should reiterate that if you've already had your way with a huarache and/or a taco, the quesadilla will make you uncomfortably full. Take a stand from the beginning, choose one, and stick to your guns.

Fernando sold his Sunset Park restaurant (Jirasoles) about 2 years ago, although he and his wife are considering a new venture. Until that time? Head to Redhook, soak in some Soccer field flavor, and enjoy all that the Martinez family has to offer.

Martinez Huaraches
Clinton Street side
(first tent at the corner)

Huaraches: $5.00
Quesadillas: $5.00
Tacos: $2.00

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Blogger Maria said...

Would you know if it's already opened up for 2008?

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it IS open, looking forward to see you there Maria

10:43 AM  
Blogger J. Slab said...

and actually, Martinez are the last huarache standing. Ms. Hernandez wont be back this season...

7:56 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

I heard on Yelp mixed reviews about the new setup...

I still don't think it will stop me from checkin' it this weekend!

2:31 PM  
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10:40 PM  

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