Tulcingo is less restaurant than catch-all. Convenience store? Check. Bar, with jukebox and beer? Check. Place of worship, with Virgin Mary shrine? Check (albeit with little privacy for prayers and offerings). When we ordered at the counter, we weren't sure if we were even welcome to sit at the freestanding Formica tables or if they were temporarily gathered there for a meeting of some sort that hadn't yet begun. (The woman behind the counter, who also acted as waitress, saw our confusion and knowingly nodded toward the table cluster.)
We can be fussy about our Mexican food, sticking to mundane choices like pork tacos. The most adventurous we got at Tulcingo was the mamey shake, which was thick and lukewarm, allowing the distinct flavor of the mamey (it tastes like . . . mamey) to come through. (We're of the ice-cream-fountain school of milkshakes, however, so this subtlety went unappreciated -- probably not Tulcingo's fault, though.) A more thorough examination of Tulcingo's menu shows that our timidity in ordering was a mistake, or that at least we should have come on a weekend, as that's when the not-often-found goat platter is offered, along with a special mole dish and other assorted delicacies. The specials, handwritten on neon signs taped onto the front of the counter, were beyond our grasp of Spanish -- but next time we'll brush up so we can take full advantage of the unlikely breadth of Tulcingo's offerings.
Our conservatism is our loss, yes -- but what we did have was far from a write-off. The tacos at Tulcingo were seasoned lightly, letting the quality of the ingredients speak for itself. Moist chicken; spicy pork with smoldering, not blistering, heat; flavorful (free) salsa and (not free) guacamole -- in all, we found a keeper in this weird little joint.
Price: Tacos $2; nothing on the menu over $13.
Will we go again? It's cheaper than a vacation to Puebla, with many of the same offerings -- yes.