On the other side of the train tracks, tucked away next to the Interstate 10 is Barrio Anita. Mostly a residential neighborhood, Barrio Anita is home to historic single family residences and one hidden market with Red Chile Burros ($4.75) worth driving across town for.
The facade of Anita Street Market is unassuming and straightforward — if you don’t know where you’re going, you could drive right past it. The market is in a small building on the corner of Anita Street and West Lord Street with a covered patio on its south side.
Like the exterior, the interior vibe has no frills. Stacks of handmade flour and corn tortillas are available for purchase. If none are left on the shelves, they’ll happily make some to-order.
Refrigerators line one side of the market, stocked with Mexican sodas and house-made salsas and chorizo. The menu is posted over the entrance, full of taqueria classics: burros, tacos, quesadillas and more. The iconic red chile burro sells out often, so be sure to go early.
Once you’ve ordered the red chile burro, a Mexican Coke and some freshly-made tortillas to-go, grab a seat on the shaded patio to enjoy your lunch.
The first bite reveals cubes of beef coated in thick red chile sauce. Some pieces of beef feature bits of fat and connective tissue which has just a bit of chew, but still easily succumbs to pressure and melts in your mouth. The red chile sauce is pleasantly spicy, with a subtle heat that sneaks up with notes of Mexican oregano.
When asked about the cooking method and cut of meat used for the burro, the secret recipe and process was understandably not revealed. However, they said that the meat used is “tamale meat,” which is often boneless chuck roast.
The red chile beef is rolled into a 14-inch flour tortilla made with milk and cottage cheese. These ingredients add a unique tangy quality to the tortilla and pair perfectly with the filling. Because of the substantial size of the tortilla, you get ribbons of tortilla folded into your burro. Some bites are mostly tortilla and chile sauce, a welcome addition to the experience. Other places wouldn’t be able to get away with this, but the tortillas at Anita Street Market certainly can.
If you'd like it hot, use the accompanying red salsa. Even though it's red, it has a fresh spicy flavor that differs from the red chile sauce's warm smoky complexity.
Anita Street Market is located at 849 N. Anita Ave. and can be reached at (520) 882-5280. Keep up with Anita Street Market on Facebook.