Join Culinary Backstreets

Sign up with email

or

Already a member? Log in.

Log in to Culinary Backstreets

Trouble logging in?

Not a member? Sign up!

In Mexico, sandwiches generally come in the form of the torta, usually made out of a white bread roll known as a bolillo that has been sliced in half and then filled to the brim with meat, avocado, tomato, onion and sliced jalapeño peppers. In Mexico City’s San Rafael neighborhood, however, a family-owned sandwich shop called La Vaca de Muchos Colores is doing its best to expand the city’s sandwich scene.

Opened about a year ago by locals Benjamin Martínez and Beatriz Peréz, La Vaca de Muchos Colores (“The Cow of Many Colors”) has become one of our favorite neighborhood eateries. Little more than a small room with an attached kitchen, the place has an eclectic vibe, with décor that consists of mismatched furniture and a wall lined with shelves highlighting the large, ever-growing selection of available beers, most of which are unusual Mexican labels or hard-to-find imports. Martínez, a long-time beer aficionado, wanted to open a place where he could share his love of a good brew, and his little restaurant has turned into what could be considered a premiere spot for Mexico City beer-lovers. Some of the standouts on La Vaca’s expansive beer menu include brews from Cerveza Cucapá, a microbrewery located in Baja California, as well as bottles from Cervecería Minerva, a craft brewing company located in Jalisco state’s Zapopan. Minerva’s Viena Oscura, a darkish, rich brew, is particularly worth ordering.

Originally, the food was merely going to be a complement to the beer, but instead it has become a significant part of the business. The menu, still small in size, offers a collection of sandwiches and salads, but chapatas are the main focus. The excellent chapatas – sandwiches served in a flat ciabatta-like roll – are available with a wide variety of meats, including shredded chicken, tuna and cold cuts (salami, ham and pepperoni), and usually topped with tomato, avocado, mild Oaxaca cheese and jalapeño slices. The fixings are all recommended, but the real star here is the sandwich’s crisp, rustic multigrain roll, which has a beguiling nutty-wheat flavor. Served with a small homemade salad and kettle-style potato chips, chapatas make for a satisfying meal (especially if ordered with one of La Vaca’s exceptional beers).

Along with sandwiches, the restaurant serves a few more traditional Mexican items, including molletes, typically a down-and-dirty breakfast dish, made out of a halved roll layered with refried beans and cheese, and sincronizadas, which are similar to quesadillas, made out of two flour tortillas layered together and filled with meat or cheese.

Prices are very reasonable, with a chapata meal costing between 30 and 40 pesos. Even with a beer alongside the chapata, customers are unlikely to spend more than 60 pesos (about $5). It may not look like much from the outside, but with great food at great prices, La Vaca has quickly established itself as a little slice of sandwich – and beer – heaven.

  • March 24, 2017 Sagàs (0)
    It all started with a seriously delicious hamburger in New York City. Rumor has it that […] Posted in Barcelona
  • August 7, 2013 Quekas San Cosme (0)
    One of the staples of Mexican cuisine (and of bar menus everywhere), the quesadilla can […] Posted in Mexico City
  • November 23, 2012 Sagàs (0)
    It all started with a seriously delicious hamburger in New York City. Rumor has it that […] Posted in Barcelona
Ben Herrera

Related stories

March 24, 2017

Sagàs: Hands-On Cuisine

Barcelona | By Johanna Bailey
By Johanna Bailey
BarcelonaIt all started with a seriously delicious hamburger in New York City. Rumor has it that it was this burger that first gave acclaimed Catalan chef Oriol Rovira the idea of opening Sagàs Pagesos y Cuiners (“Farmers and Cooks”) in the Born district of Barcelona. Specializing in high-end sandwiches, the restaurant embraces the farm-to-table philosophy,…
August 7, 2013

Quekas San Cosme: Reinventing the Quesadilla

Mexico City | By Ben Herrera
By Ben Herrera
Mexico CityOne of the staples of Mexican cuisine (and of bar menus everywhere), the quesadilla can be found on almost every street corner and in every neighborhood market in Mexico City. Those served at Mercado San Cosme in Colonia San Rafael, however, redefine the quesadilla. Indeed, while this neighborhood market is far from being the city’s…
November 23, 2012

Sagàs: Hands-On Cuisine

Barcelona | By Johanna Bailey
By Johanna Bailey
BarcelonaIt all started with a seriously delicious hamburger in New York City. Rumor has it that it was this burger that first gave acclaimed Catalan chef Oriol Rovira the idea of opening Sagàs Pagesos y Cuiners (“Farmers and Cooks”) in the Born district of Barcelona. Specializing in high-end sandwiches, the restaurant embraces the farm-to-table philosophy,…
Select your currency
USD United States (US) dollar
EUR Euro