WILLCOX — Street food is globally ubiquitous, and thanks to the rise in popularity of food trucks Americans are enjoying an expansion of street food culture.
We’re a people on the move, so of course our street food revolution comes on a set of wheels, and in recent years they are everywhere.
When Maritza Olivares wanted to jump into the game, she looked around at what Willcox already had to offer. Not just food trucks, she looked for a gap in the food scene.
A steak house, burgers, barbecue, pizza, Italian, Mexican, ice cream, pastries, coffee, breakfast were all well covered by existing Willcox businesses.
“’Siempre me ha gustado mucho lo de la comida.‘ I’ve always enjoyed foodie things. Friends would tell me, ‘Do something with food,’ ” Olivares said.
This is the first business venture for the mother of three daughters, Mairha, Maritza, and youngest Chiquis, who help with aspects of the business.
Chiquis, a Mexican nickname traditionally given to the youngest child, is the namesake of their pink-colored snack truck, Chiquis Mexican Snacks.
“I wanted to do something we didn’t have here, and these snacks are very popular in Mexico. I started with very similar recipes, but I changed some and added to others,” Olivares said.
The munchies on the menu are priced between $4 and $11.
“Tostitos Preparados” are a selection of snacks prepared inside a Tostitos chips bag. This method of preparation is very popular in the Mexican street food scene.
The five Preparados range from chip bags filled with basic jalapeño and nacho cheese, to the Tosti Encuerados, a bagfull of chips topped with chopped cucumber, carrot, cabbage, Mexican cream, Cotija cheese, avocado and pork skins.
There’s a selection of “elotes,” corn on the cob or cocktails, again with cream, cheeses, chile, butter and lemon.
Some of the “antojitos,” snacks, are beyond category, and barely describable.
“Piña-Loca con camarón,” is a whole tropical shrimp fiesta served in a pineapple.
A favorite on the menu is the “Jica-Leta”, a popsicle made of a slice of jicama covered in a thick, spicy, sweet, tamarind and chile coating.
“Carne Seca preparade,” is jerky-looking dried beef topped with tropical fruit, cucumber, peanuts and tamarind, an amazing combination of flavors and textures.
The beef is a delicacy imported from Moctezuma, Sonora, an area known for this style of dry beef and machaca preparation.
Olivares’ grandson, Leo, helped create a couple of the concoctions, including “Especial de Leo,” a wild combination of Maruchan brand noodles served up with neon-bright red chips and cheeses.
For those not wanting to snack on the wild side, there are some basic tropical drinks, Aguas Frescas, that are popular with that set.
They sell, and sell out, of their “Fresas com Crema,” a milky drink of fresh strawberries and homemade Mexican crema.
“Thank God, yes, things are going well,” Olivares said. “We have favorites, but really everything is selling, so that’s really good. This is going to be our regular spot. We had a friend ask us to be at the Willcox Livestock Auction, and we did that, but this will be our place.”
The Mexican snacks truck is parked at a regular spot at 119 S. Haskell Ave., a lot designed for food trucks called The Patio on Main. Chiquis Mexican Snacks is open Thursday through Saturday noon-8 p.m. and Sundays noon-6 p.m.