Recently the three of us did something we do all the time at home: we went out for Mexican food on a Saturday night. Of course, the experience was not exactly the same as it is at home, because we are not at home, we are in Paris.
I have known of this place, El Nopal, for a long time, but never made my way there until that night. It is in the St. Martin canal area of Paris,( about which I wrote here) which requires a medium length metro ride with one change of lines. Ordinarily such a trip is no big deal, but on that Saturday night we were squeezed in the metro like Vienna sausages. It was tight. And a bit aromatic. We were very relieved to be back above ground when we arrived at our destination.
I have been in some small Mexican spots in Paris, but I am pretty sure El Nopal is the smallest. The kitchen behind the counter was about as big as a walk-in closet, and the remaining space was even smaller. Apparently there are two stools in there, but the night we were there it was so packed that any stools would have been blocked with people. Voila.
People waited patiently until it was their turn to place their order with the nice (and amazingly calm) guy at the counter. They then hung out at the front door and waited for their name to be called and their food to be handed over. And then they rejoiced. Well, we did. Can’t really speak for anyone else there that night.
This may not look that great to you, but it was pretty much manna from heaven for us. Burrito, quesadilla, tacos, guacamole and chips. And see that little tiny tub of red sauce in the upper right corner? That, my friends, was spicy. Finally.
The canal is a happening area for young people. We joined the happy crowds picnicking by the canal.
When we got home we had Smitten Kitchen’s peach pie for dessert. I have to say it was delicious. And it cooled my tongue, which was still in spicy heaven.
It wasn’t Tex-Mex, and there were no margaritas, but it was a very nice evening. And I got my spicy on. Which always makes me a very happy girl.
7 responses to “I Know A Little Mexican Restaurant..”
So jealous you have access to Mexican food!
I know! You need your own little place in Milano!
So sounds good and how do you compare it to Candelaria?
But no margaritas? I guess you just have to make your own!!
Haven’t been to Candelaria in a while, but I think this one is cheaper. Of course, it’s take-out, so it should be cheaper. The beers they sold us tasted great- didn’t even miss the margaritas!
Try the take out Mexican shop on Rue Mouffetard. Caroline liked it a lot after her time in L’hopial.when she was dreaming of Mexican food.
Not much bigger than the one in your photo.
Is Candelaria the Mexican place not to far from Les Halles? I remember going to a Mexican restaurant in Paris years ago and it wasn’t too bad. Still Kate I bet you could open your own Tex-Mex place and make a mint — do some sort of deal with HEB (know how you miss their tortillas and other Mexican products) or some other supplier to get the right goods. I know I can’t live without a bit of Cholula, tortilla chips and salsa — guess it’s in the blood. Bet you’re a great cook and could handle a little restaurante of your own.
As for your friend in Milano, I am sure that there must be some Mexican places there — think I remember going to one many moons ago with some Milanese friends. There is a pretty significant Hispanic population there, so it would surprise me if there aren’t at least a few places to get Mexican food in Milan. Failing that, there are probably some specialty (equivalent to the Castroni chain in Rome) that stock at least harina de masa, tortilla chips and salsa.
Bueno, ya tengo hambre asi que me piro. Suerte y besos desde California!
You’re such an encourager, Margaret. That’s a gift, you know. I will make sure my friend notes your comment. She actually lives in a suburb of Milan, but I bet she would travel!