I guess I better clear things up. I´m speaking of the taco ladies. The Hands of Steel lady flips tortillas and gorditas with her bare hands. She uses cheap stainless steel spoons to serve the guisados (fillings like shredded chicken, mushrooms in cream, chicharón and nopales) into the tortillas to make tacos. Me...I´d be burning my fingers and yelling, Ouch! Not this lady though. Her outdoor stand is on Calle Nueva. She has a nice smile accentuated by some tall white teeth that probably cost her some.
The Gates of Hell taco lady has a little fonda (traditional Mexican food sold out of a small kitchen or stand) at the back of a corner store jam-packed with every snack beverage ever invented by Coke, Pepsi or Lipton. It´s hard to tell how she cooks because her back is to you when she is at the stove and, like the name implies, she cooks in the dark, as the lights went off in the back of the store about two months ago and have not been repaired. This gal is probably not even 30. She rarely smiles. She does, however, serve her tacos with lovely, crinkled slightly blackened grilled and salted jalapeños. In both places, you can get a fill-you-up plate of tacos for about one dollar.
Josefina is the owner of La Ventana, where I get my yummy organic Chiapas coffee. Being in the coffee business, a cold day makes her do a happy dance. She and I trade service for product. The other day her two daughters, who've been in school with my girls, came in to my business, Jasmine Spa with a friend for massages and facials. All on credit. This means I can think, a latte would be great right now, or Frappucino! and just cruise on over and pick one up. Sometimes when I don´t have small change the Hands of Steel taco lady will tell me to pay tomorrow. It´s one of the nice things about living in San Miguel de Allende, which even though it´s a World Heritage Site, is still a small town.