Joining the growing number of small, new Mexican businesses in Hamilton Heights–including popular burrito destination Frijolitos–is Pueblo Mágico at 500B West 146th Street (right next to Japanese gem Chopped Parsley).
The tiny, week-old store specializes in Mexican groceries–from dried chiles to aloe vera shampoo–as well as crafts such as embroidered women's tops and ceramic tableware. Not sure where to start shopping? Here are five suggestions for the first-timer:
1. Conchas: Made fresh and delivered to the store daily, this sweet Mexican bread with a sugary crust is a great accompaniment to your morning coffee.
2. Mexican Coca-Cola: Many believe Mexican Coke tastes better than the American version because it's made with cane sugar as opposed to high-fructose corn syrup. Here's your chance to conduct a taste test and decide for yourself. (The refrigerated case holds a good selection of Mexican soda brand Jarritos as well.)
3. Mexican candy: Mexico produces tons of its own candy, and a few favorites can be found here–the shop is across from an elementary school, after all. Start with the shop's recommendation: the soft coconut candy rolls called Rollitos.
4. Tajin: If you've ever wondered what special spice blend New York street vendors sprinkle over their freshly peeled mango, your search is over. Tajin, a blend of chili, lime and sea salt, has been copied by the likes of Trader Joe's, but never successfully duplicated.
5. Corn tortillas: Here's your chance to make tacos at home the way most Mexicans do: with small, soft tortillas made from corn, not flour.