Monday, June 18, 2007

Chitlin bowels? Surely you jest... (Restaurant: El Rey De Taco)

Translation, let alone correct translation, is probably an afterthought on this part of the Buford highway. Anyone that is actually out here SEEKING out food, as opposed to being desperate or merely lost, should either know what she is getting or at least be brave enough to eat whatever she is served. I am generally confident to do the former and definitely comfortable with the later. This is especially true when I am restless for something different. And this past week, I was very restless.

Maybe it was the heat or maybe it was the work. Whatever it was, it drove J and I out of the city and onto Buford highway. We passed the Vietnamese pho joints we sometimes visit, we ignored the Malaysian restaurant that at times draw us in with its spicy Laksa, we wanted something else. Something we haven't had in any good form in a while. We wanted some tacos.

El Rey de Taco is housed in a very passable and awkwardly peachy building next to some equally nondescript Korean restaurants. We decided to stop here, not because I had a great nose for good Latin grubs(although that would be nice), but because the blissful glutton had mentioned it as a good stopping point and we were, at that moment, ready to make a stop. The decor inside was very nonmemorable. If it was, maybe I would now be able to tell you what it looked like. I do, however, remember the smell of the place - it smelled of fried seafood. A quick survey confirmed that fried seafood was indeed being consumed in the form of a whole fried fish at a table near the door. The fish looked good, but we weren't persuaded to eat it. We were there for tacos and tacos we were going to have.

On the menu were tacos in both regular and mini sizes. You should know by now which one I opted for. The list of taco insides included the usual suspects as well as some interesting stuff that got my heart going just a bit faster. Tongue, yum, beef check, oooh, gelatinous goodness, chitlin bowels??? Huh? That one didn't quite register... I read it again and looked at J, puzzled. "It's tripe, silly, it says tripa. You love tripe!" Oh yes, yes I do. Isn't tripe a few organs up? I am not very good with anatomy in general, but I do sort of have an idea of where the tastier innards are located. But correct labeling is trivial at this point, because I am getting it, whatever it is!

For $3.5 I got three little mini bundles of tongue, tripe, and beef cheek. I went for the tongue first. Not at all chewy, all the little microscopic pockets were filled with tasty juices it was stewed in. Yum to the nth degree. Next up was the tripe. Again soft and kind of velvety. There is a reason why this is one of my very favorite innards of all time. I've saved the beef cheek for last since I knew it would be the richest of the bunch and it certainly lived up to that. The fried cheek bits were a little crispy at the ends and perfectly sticky and gelatinous at the fatty parts. "If I wasn't incapable of taking bigger bites, I think this beef cheek thingy might squirt fatty juices at you..." "Hmmh..." J mumbled back, obviously too engrossed in his own regular-sized pocket of carne asada to care what I hypothetically could have shot in his direction. He was fortunately not too engrossed to forget to clink my negro modelo as we both take a satisfied sip... or gulp in his case.

Life is good again.

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