To be honest, I've never shopped at the El Metate chain of supermarkets--no need. But I'm familiar with their tortillas, because the Soho Taco guys use them for their tacos whenever they're not doing their awesome hand-made ones. After one recent taquiza for the Weeklings, they had the big ol' stack you see above and gave them to me--I had paid them for the tacos, after all.
The Soho Taco taco is a wonderful thing, of course, but the El Metate tortilla? Had never given it a thought. And when I examined the tortilla, free of any fillings, I didn't expect much. It's a bit small, kind of thin, and seemingly lackluster.
Then, it hit the comal.
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SHOW ME HOW
They heated well--no quick cooking on account of its thinness. Good sign...and then I rolled one up and chewed. The flavor! Despite the small size of these El Metate tortillas, and my preference for thicker tortillas, the beauty of nixtamalazation hits your palate immediately: that wonderful synthesis of stone and corn that the namesake metate creates. Though thin, the tortilla has a good chew factor--the flavor doesn't immediately disintegrate, but rather lingers. I can now see why the Soho guys use these beauties: good structure, good flavor, and coming at five dozen to a pack, it's the tortilla for taqueros.
GRADE: B. Despite being small guys, their flavor is near-perfect. I'm a bit biased in my grading given my preference in tortillas, though; they would easily be an A- if they were bigger and thicker. Hmm...does El Metate make thicker tortillas? Gotta check it out...
Find your nearest El Metate on their website.