A number of years ago while hitchhiking up Baja, Mexico, I ended up on the bed of a pickup truck, rolling around with pickaxes, rakes, bags of trash and my backpack. Gripping the edges of the truck’s frame, I was so hungry; I wondered what would be worse: dying in Mexico of starvation, or dying in Mexico from being flung from the truck. I figured that regardless of how it went down, my Jewish mom would be pretty pissed. When the truck finally stopped about 100 miles south of Tijuana, I jumped onto the dusty main street of this unnamed town. I sought food immediately, and didn’t give it a second thought that anything would really suffice. I ran across the most insane traffic on the peninsula to a gathering of men at a bus stop. Bewildered and in the best gringo understanding I could muster, they directed me to a three-walled plywood structure two blocks north on the edge of town. They said Maria made the best tacos. And sure enough, not only did I not die of starvation while in Mexico, but these were the best tacos I’ve ever had, until, of course, I stumbled upon Tehhuitzingo in Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan.
Tucked squarely in the back of an unassuming, very typical Mexican bodega at 695 10th Avenue, Tehhuitzingo serves everything from breakfast (open at 8 a.m., close at midnight, seven days) tacos, burritos, tortas, beer and soup out of a 2-foot, square window in the way back of the store. Sitting below piñatas and amongst an array of lights that would make the most festive Christmas caroler jealous as he nods his approving head, you can feast on the best tacos (starting at $2.50) I’ve had on the east coast, all while sipping on your favorite Mexican brew. Keep in mind that the hot sauce is not joking around.