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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Red Hook'd: Sosa Fresca

I speak "burrito" but not Spanish which is, inconveniently, the sole language used at Sosa's fresh fruit stand. But no worries, gringo! Even in this day and age love finds a way: love of delicious Mexican fresh fruit drinks, that is.

I first discovered agua fresca at El Farolito in San Francisco, when my buddy and I rolled almost daily to the Mission for burritos, beverages, and Latin Freeze popsicles. It was love at first taste: light, fresh fruit drinks pair perfectly with spicy pork and melted cheese.

Delicious memories like these gave The Porkchop Express courage and incentive. Drawing upon a lexicon of international stutters, points and nods, and some half-witted Italian, we managed to order everything we wanted. Which, as it turned out, was everything.

Decisions, decisions!

Fresh squeezed limonata: an invigorating blend of sweet and tart. Melon (a personal favorite): bursting with ripe cantaloupe goodness. Lime: never you mind that noxious green color, the flavor is au naturel. And there's more: pineapple, tamarind, hybiscus, horchata... truly something for everyone. Everyone with taste buds, and two bucks.

The owner, Victor Sosa of Puebla, Mexico, is a mildly intimidating guy. And it's not just the "dude from Scarface" last name. He brings a little John Stockton/EPMD flavor to the Red Hook Soccer Field food scene: strictly business. But oh what a business. Only 5 years old, Sosa combines veteran poise and rookie excitement with slam-dunk results.
And we don't just mean the beverages. Check out the stacked boxes in front of the van, a cornucopia of ripe citrus and melons, mangoes and papayas, all ready to be cut... and consumed.

I was debating what to taste, when I remembered that a friend recently requested a Chilie Mango report. I can't say I'm well versed in this dish, but I gave it a shot and was instantly hooked. Sosa did it up exceptionally well, topping slices of slightly underripe mango with two types of dried chili powder (one hot, one not), a little salt, and some Goya bonfanita sauce. The cherry on this sunday? He squeezes the juice of one lime into each bag. (Details like this set him apart: none of that nasty, artificial-tasting, made-from-concentrate pre-squeezed lemon here.) Chilie Mango has a sweet/salty hot/savory combination not unlike Thai papaya salad: bold, arresting, far more subtle than you'd imagine. And a perfect way to round out a taco binge.

But no matter what you try, you really can't go wrong. After all, Sosa puts the "fresh" in refreshment. I always return several times on a single Red Hook mission, because these goodies keep me grounded and hydrated. They also have that Christmas-eve appeal of a gift in waiting. Unwrap yours early and often, good reader; you wont be disappointed!

Sosa Fruit & Agua Fresca

Clinton Street side
(second tent from the corner)

Drinks: $2 & $2.50
Bags of Fruit: $2

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Blogger Elisabeth said...

You da man, you've found the Chile Mango nexus for me! The Goya, that must be the trick (at the Caribbean day parade, we gotta try to find the West Indian kind, with, I swear to God, chimchurri as well as salt, lime, and chile; that was a mango to remember, think what adding garlic does to that mix!). XO -- quaffology

5:06 PM  
Blogger J. Slab said...

yeah, i'm officially hooked. the ripe mango Sosa uses is even better. and he flips papaya in the same style: equally addictive, and so reFreshing.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Asad said...

An interesting thing: I've always, since visiting a friend in Mexico City, been amazed by the many similarities between Pakistani/Indian and Mexican food. Chile mango is just one of these: in India and Pakistan, unripe mango is served with a mixture of salt and red pepper and often a lime wedge. Independent convergence upon delicious!

9:59 PM  
Blogger J. Slab said...

along those lines, i've been hooked on the 'ahmed mixed pickle' for a minute now: green mangoes, etc. with the "hyderabadi" taste... aw yeah. & nothing quite like it, imho

2:55 PM  

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