In Mexico City, almost every street corner, alley and square is crowded with carts and kiosks selling handheld bites— tacos, sopes, tamales — cooked and sold on the spot. These antojitos, or "little cravings," are devoured in such staggering quantities by passers-by that you wonder if anyone actually eats at home.
In Deer Park, there is no such bustling street food scene — but a new deli on Deer Park Avenue, Antojitos Mexicanos Emmanuel, evokes the Mexican street-food spirit in a brick-and-mortar setting with tacos, quesadillas, sopes, tortas and the like, none priced over $8.
Owner Noel Ramos opened the deli earlier this spring in a deeply global strip mall that also houses a Chinese takeout place, an Italian gelateria and an Asian supermarket. The neat but no-frills spot has broad windows, five tables and a flat-screen television tuned to soccer; in the back, where you order, is a hot-foods counter with a rotating cast of dishes such as stewed pork and rice and beans.
Breakfast items are solidly American (pancakes, egg-and-cheese on a roll) and the namesake antojitos make their appearance in the afternoon — from tacos, sopes and tamales to outliers such as pambazo ($7), a squishy, chile-stained sandwich packed with crumbled chorizo and queso fresco and smeared with guajillo pepper sauce; flautas ($6), rolled and fried tacos filled with chicken or potatoes and finished with cream sauce; and cemitas ($8), overstuffed sandwiches of fried cutlets, string cheese and pickles.
Antojitos Mexicanos Emmanuel also stocks layer cakes, fresh fruit and soft drinks, and presses fresh juices such as pineapple, orange and carrot. It's open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Antojitos Mexicanos Emmanuel, 1737 Deer Park Ave., Deer Park. 631-522-1704.