Bucket shop



For the past 28 years, each weekday afternoon, Julián Sánchez, a portly man in his late 40s with salt-and-pepper hair and a moustache, exhorts passersby to buy food from buckets he has set up at a little table on the corner of Calle Dakota and Calle Yosemite in the Colonia Nápoles. “Come on, boss, what are you having?” he’ll say as he doles out meals. “Aren’t you hungry?”


He hardly needs to shout. At lunch hour there is almost always a cluster of a dozen or more people either eating or lined up to buy the food, which has been prepared by Julián’s wife Rosita. With a stoic expression, she collects the money, her hand covered in a plastic glove. Her severe visage may be due to the fact that she awakens every day at 4 a.m. to prepare the victuals, while Julián refers to his role in the operation as “the orchestra conductor.” (Rosita was ill the day I took this picture. Their daughter Elizabeth assisted.)


There are various elegant restaurants in the Colonia Nápoles, but Rosita’s is hands down the best inexpensively-priced food in the neighborhood. Each day she and Julián offer variety as well as quality – they may have pipián de puerco (a pork stew in a mild chile sauce) with nopal cactus; chicken in green mole; meatballs in chipotle, and breaded chicken cutlets in green sauce. These dishes are sold as fillings for tacos, or on Styrofoam plates with rice and beans. “We don’t have a set menu for every day in the week,” says Julián. “We keep changing it up so the people don’t eat the same things every day.”