Lucky are those who live in the Bronx neighborhood of Bedford Park, in between Lehman College and the B train stop at Bedford Park Blvd./Grand Concourse.
It’s a tiny retail strip, but a good one, lined with locally-owned shops with a small-town feel. Not to mention great pizza, a picture-perfect coffee shop, plus Mexican food that’s worth a trip.
Las Maravillas de Mexico — the name means “marvels of Mexico” — is no pale wallflower with its popping pastel shades.
The food is easy on the eyes too, starting with the chips that come to the table free with four salsas: crunchy pico de gallo studded with jalapeño, chunky red salsa, salsa verde and a bright orange number made with dried chilis and garlic.
The menu is lengthy. Less commonly seen items include two styles of tacos made with flour tortillas then rolled up like little burritos. The arabes are filled with Middle Eastern spiced beef ($4); and the alambres are a mix of meat with Oaxacan string cheese called quesillo, the fragrant green herb papalo and chipotle chilis. (Three are $13.)
Platters like the Michoacan-style carnitas (tender pork is pulled off the bone and shredded, then mixed with onions and peppers) come with black beans and red rice and tortillas ($13).
Las Maravillas de Mexico: 11 E. Bedford Park Blvd., near Jerome Ave., Bronx; (718) 584-3455
Jerome’s Pizza & Restaurant is one of those local slice joints that serves seriously good pizza.
More than 30 years old, it has a classic look with plastic-lettered signs and formica booths. The go-to slice, says counterman Alfredo Bravo, is the rectangular Grandma with stripes of mozzarella with basil and garlicky crushed tomato sauce. “Everybody in the neighborhood gets this one,” he says. The runner-up is the spinach grandma, which comes with smear of silky chopped sautéed spinach. Both are thin, chewy and crunchy on the corners where the edges get toasted with olive oil. (A rectangle is $2.75; a pie is $18.)