Mexico native Fernando Lopez worked in New York kitchens for years cooking Chinese, red-sauce Italian, Thai, and practically everything else before opening his own tamales shop on the Lower East Side, where he nixtamalizes corn into masa on the minuscule premises. (The premises used to be even tinier, until he expanded around the corner from the original shop.)
Tasty as these steaming corn-husk-wrapped bundles are — and of the six on offer, the rajas con queso, with its flare of jalapeño and soft strips of chile and onion, is tastiest — tamales represent only a fraction of Lopez’s repertoire. The man turns out to be a deft short-order cook, pressing pastrami panini, tossing salads, and frying eggs to order for breakfast sandwiches slicked with chipotle-mayo “special sauce” on squishy brioche buns.
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