Got to Maxwell Street around 9:00 this morning with a posse of five Maxwell virgins, ready to become experienced on the street. Started with a few hors doeuvres: a Oaxacan tamale with extra sour cream, a Rubis steak taco, tamarind juice, two regular Mexican tamales
then it was on to the main course: a flag huarache from Ricos.
I first sampled the flag (bandera) huaraches a few months ago. Theres a lot going on in this dish. A flat, ovoid, hand-shaped masa tortilla is the foundation: its actually an envelope, moderately hard fried, crisp, encasing a very thin filling of black beans. On top, center, is a mound of Chihuahua cheese; to the right and left of the cheese is a generous splash of green and red salsa thus the huarache displays the green, white and red colors of the Mexican flag. Over all this is sprinkled carne asada (the most popular addition, though you can have it with chicharones or other ingredients) and grilled onion, with a little cilantro. The meat is griddled crisp, but without the dryness of the meat at the under-the-viaduct taco place. This huarache, which costs $3.00, is to my mind a must-have on Maxwell.
My recommendation for eating at Ricos Huaraches (which is under the same tent as Ricos Cocteles) is to grab a seat at one of the tables. A waitress will take your order, and when its ready, they will call out your number (it helps to have some rudimentary knowledge of Spanish numbers, but its not absolutely necessary).
It would be great to have a knife at Ricos and at other vendors on Maxwell. Most places have plastic cutlery, which is fine when eating a big, soft Oaxacan tamale, but plastic really doesnt cut it when you have to slice through a toothsome tortilla. So if you have a Boy Scout, Swiss Army, or Leatherman blade, bring it when you come to chow on Maxwell.