When searching for authentic Mexican cuisine in New York, it seems there are endless options from which to choose. Mexican restaurants, ranging from no-frill taco stands to Michelin-star gourmets, are plentiful. Guillaume Guevara, founder of Miscelanea market, had this thought in mind when preparing to open his own establishment in Manhattan.
After moving on from a successful eatery in Mexico City, Guevara decided it was time to bring a truly authentic staple of Mexican culinary culture to New York. He opted for a route that had been overlooked by the plethora of Mexican venues in the city.
“In Mexico, a miscelanea refers to your everyday bodega, or corner store deli,” Guevara said in an interview with Travel Dose. Certainly, there is no shortage of these flagship establishments in the city. However, none cater specifically to the real products sold locally across Mexico. “If you want to cook Italian food at home, there are Italian markets everywhere with genuine imported Italian goods,” Guevara told me. “This does not exist for Mexican cuisine.”
Everything at Miscelanea is either prepared in house, by the likes of Guevara and his fellow Mexican colleagues, or imported directly from Mexico.
Everything from tortas to perfume, salsa to vintage magazines can be found within the cozy confines of Miscalanea’s shelves
A copious display of upscale commodities are available for sale. Salon-quality beauty products, 100% Maguey syrup sweeteners, gourmet cookbooks, fresh lumps of Oaxaca cheese, Sal de Aquí artisanal salts and other spices are included to show the sophisticated side of Mexican culture. However, it would be a crime to only include one interpretation.
Miscelanea also carries colorful assortments of 50-cent candies, cheap boxes of beans and rice, sugary sodas and salty chips. “I wanted to stay true to the places from my childhood,” explains Guevara. “These are the same cheap sodas we drank in Mexico, but we also had access to luxury items. We wanted to do a high-brow, low-brow thing at Miscelanea. Most people in America tend to think of one side or the other about Mexicans.”
The wide array of products available at Miscelanea is what makes it so appealing. The hard-working kitchen crew can be seen through a small window behind the counter, where they routinely pump out delicious carnitas, jamón, and chorizo tortas, along with an all-day desayuno and assorted sweet and savory pastries.
Behind the counter, you will find Guevara and friends pressing fresh tortillas, mixing a variety of Mexican coffee drinks and cutting off big chunks of cheese. If you find that fresh-pressed tortillas are something you can’t live without, which very well may happen, you can purchase a tortilla press and dough to bring home or as a souvenir for a friend.
Since opening its doors last month, Miscelanea has become a staple for hot summer days in the East Village. After cooling off with a refreshing watermelon basil agua fresca or iced horchata latte, you will soon understand why.