Aqui es Texcoco Chowdown CV
I just want to quickly set up a thread for those friends of mine who joined me and Pat this morning. We had spectacular weekend early comida at the [apparently] extremely popular Aqui and I think we all left really, really pleased with our experience.
Looking forward to hearing from you all and seeing those pictures.
What a great new restaurant we have in the South Bay.
Oh guy, did you ever start something with me!
I can hardly stay away from Texcoco. Jeez, I went in there this afternoon about 2 pm and they were out of almost everything! They promised to scare me up SOMETHING and you know I said," that would be just fine, thank you"!
Well, first up was one of those wonderful, gooey, huitlicoche goodies, which by the way are fresh, not canned. I thought that was fine. They bought them in TJ. I didn't know you could bring them across the border? Maybe they can and we can't? hmm.Then Roberto asked me if I liked brains, oh brother, do I. (smile) Out came a piping hot taco full of sesos with excellent seasonings. I gobbled that one up and then I got the eye of Paco in the kitchen and he said...just a minute. The final (thank heaven) taco was of lamb shoulder with the herb papalo. I've never eaten it nor even heard of it. I'm sure Gayla has, we'll talk about it. Paco said it was very complimentary with barbacoa, and he was certainly right about that. Said he got it in a TJ market but many of the Chula Vista natives know it, grow it and love it. I had noticed a glass sitting on the counter with a handful of leaves in it and wondered what it was and if they were using it. Oh, man, it's great...Nopal will fill you in I'm sure. It's similar to cilantro but yet different and I'm sure it's also an acquired taste...except for "us who will eat anything" folks. This guy Paco is an adorable man. The father was Spanish and so the family spent a few years there. That is where they get their finesse about food and also their expertise with lamb. He said his motto is "Lamb, not Ram" and he gets young meat. He was talking to me about the famous black foot pigs in a certain area of Spain that eat only bitter acorns and the hams are world famous! He told me he always tastes the dried chiles before he makes his salsa and he doesn't buy the ordinary pasillas, they are longer, fatter and darker. I tasted one with the herb and it was like candy for God's sake. The guy is a workaholic. Said he had this dream 15 years ago so doesn't mind not having a day off right now. Jeeze. I asked him about the crowds and he said he would be expanding in a couple of months. He'll be using the place next door. He said he knew he would be successful but didn't want to start out too big. Plus he gave me a big container of that pasilla sauce to take home and even asked me if it was enough...I told him I'd be back tomorrow after I drank it. ;-) Jeeze, if I didn't have to work, I'd volunteer to cook there just to learn what these guys know.
I have guests coming in from Mexico tonight so quess where I'm sending them tomorrow?
Everyone in the place stopped and asked me how I was doing. I told them as long as the jaws were moving, I was fine! They are so nice. They asked to say hello to you and said they had read the latest CH posts and loved it.
I don't want to bore the chow hounds with more of the same but .....................................................................
This place is an absolute THRILL!
Oh, on the way home I stopped by Northgate and got some fresh chicharrones for the pasilla sauce. I am in trouble.
Some Pictures of Today's Breakfast with a friend from Work.
#1>>The Maciza with papalo herb. Roberto provided a side garnish plate of the herb. Their supply is visable next to the Borrego bar in small water vases. I am having a real difficult time putting in to words how this herb tastes. I love the soft, light leafy texture. Its just very special especially when placed next to the rich lamb. That he would take the time to seek this out speaks a lot of this individual.
#2>> The Sesos with Epazote. Really good - tasted slightly similar to eggs - sparked by the scent and taste of epazote
#3>> Guacamole & Nopales with remnants of Huitlacoche quesadilla
#4>> For you Flauta lovers and inquriers, these are the special tortillas that Paco uses for the Flautas. He refused to serve the flautas until about 2 weeks ago until he found a tortilleria capable of making them - he says these are superior because they dont overlap much like regular tortillas. Pre assembling and frying he steams them under a damp towel on the grill.
Thanks Kare for this find!!!
I was going for the lamb rolled tacos, but had the huiltlacoche that Kare suggested as well. The lamb was some good stuff!! The lamb stuffed inside those tacos was so perfectly moist and juicy, with such a good flavor. I've had other varietys of rolled tacos ( chicken, beef, fish) that have been so dry on the inside. Josh, you make me wonder just how they put those suckers together. The huiltacoche had a flavor that was familiar to me, but i just couldn't pinpoint. The taste was so addicting. My meal came with 4 sauces, and i really couldn't decide which one i liked to most.
Yes, all the employees were just so nice, always asking if I needed anything, and all of that. The place is very tidy. Overall one can tell these people take pride in what they do.
re: epicureous eggplant
re: Alice Q
:) The owner Paco is amazing. His knowledge behind cuisine is incredibly impressive. His father is from Spain but he was born in Guadalajara and lived in Texcoco. Its been his dream to open a place like this for 15 years. I was telling him about you - you would love this guy. A true chowhound - he told me whenever friends go places the first thing he ask is, "what did you eat?" ;^)
re: Masa Assassin
Yessir! They are indeed dried avocado leaves. They give off a slight anisey flavor. I have only used them at home for making black beans - so its interesting to see a different application. I wonder what else they could be used for?
Roberto hooked me up with some chiletepins to take home. He warned me to use sparingly. I just crushed some on some papardelle my nonna made - they have this wonderful bright heat but I thought he was kidding me about 'sparingly.'
Seems like the heat comes delayed - my lips are warmed up now!
This report made me crave Lamb so much, I ditched my plans of checking out a place in the Gaslamp and headed south.
First off I would like to start with the service, it’s exceptional. The owner Paco Perez was very generous. I told him I found out about the place thru Chowhound, and I've heard nothing but good things. Paco just smiled and stated he remembers the chowhounders. Theirs something I’ve always loved about an owner working side by side with everyone in their own establishment. Several key notes of exceptional service.
*Even though the place was extremely busy the waiter was coming by frequently to ensure everything was ok.
*I was trying to get a perfect shot of my cabeza taco, but I was having lighting issues. They noticed my taco was sitting out for a few minutes and offered to heat it up. I think they actually replaced it. Awesome!
*I am so grateful they invited me behind the counter and explained their cooking methods and allowed me to take pictures. Here is the lamb wrapped in Maguey
Master at work
Talk about pride in your product.
I pretty much sampled the entire menu with exception of the whole head. 24hrs later what do I remember most.
The Flautas baby! What can I say they are perfection? Borrego, Crema, Cotija, topped off with a special salsa.
I never had Guacamole mixed with Nopales, so when I saw it on the menu I knew I had to have it. It was fantastic easily one of my favorite thiings at this place! Very fresh, very spicy, all the flavors work perfect together. The minced serranos ohhhhhh. Eat Nopales Baby!
Next up Tacos. I tried almost every type. My favorite was probably the Costilla
(Rib). So many juices they were flowing down my arm.
I also loved the cabeza taco
I’m glad they have pancita because I have never tried it. It’s definitely a different texture and taste, I actually enjoyed it however I still prefer the Costillo and Cabeza.
The Huitlacoche Quesadilla what can I say. Definitely one of the better ones I’ve had.
On top of all this the salsas here are amazing. They have 4 types
Great Lamb, Great service, Great prices, Very clean, the only thing that could improve this place is handmade tortillas. I also think they may need to expand soon. The place has only about 6 small tables. Word must be out amongst the locals, I could not believe the traffic this place was getting. I got their at 1045 and by 1130 the line was out the door. I must have seen about 3 different families leave because their was no room inside. I would advise getting their early if you want to dine in.
Here is a pic of Outside and In.
Thanks for the reports everyone great Find!
re: Masa Assassin
So I must ask!: Which do you prefer El Borrego or Aqui es Texcoco[despite your name ;^)]?
It looks like giant avocado leaves or bay leaves placed in with the meat in that picture - I must ask. Look at that skin though!
I am really glad you made it here - we missed being with you on Saturday Morning.
Paco told me that in 2 months they will have the adjoining business and convert it into restaurant dining space. . I hope they can manage until then.
The cactus salad mixed with guacamole looks great - I just got the straight and your are right about those minced serranos.
Fantastic write up and pics - hope we can go together soon!
Well Alex I love both for different reasons. I love borrego primarly for the Mixote and this....http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63...
Its a little early to rate a clear favorite, I will keep both in rotation. I will say I prefer Texcocos Prices, Flautas, Nopale Salad, and Quesadillas . Borrego has great service, but I have to give the nod to Texcoco on that as well. As far as head to head on the lamb ????????????????????????????? You just gave me an excuse to go back to Texcoco :P
Someone needs to try the Tacos Dorados
re: Masa Assassin
Hey Josh, Candice, Alice and Alex, that was a wonderful brunch. The ambience was very authentic and festive. Alice, you're right, the place is tiny and I'm sure they will have to expand soon as the word will definitely spread. They do run out of the good stuff, or as Roberto calls it, "soft meat", very early so we arrived just in time. Josh, the pictures (even from a bum camera) make me want to return for more of that great stuff. I can't imagine you not trying some of the more exotic bits after watching you chow down all those grasshoppers at the Oax. place in Escondido! Just kidding, you actually did very well. I loved the huitlacoche tacos. Someone asked me if they were canned or fresh. I don't know the difference but I'm sure I would once I tasted both. So I'm on the lookout for fresh smut! Please report if any of you see it in the farmer's markets or Latino markets.Until then, I'll just have my fill of these. Think I'll pop in there now.
Wish you were here.
Candice, Pat, Alice, Josh - you guys are the best - thanks for the memorable morning!
>> What we ordered among the 5 of us.
- Cabeza, tacos of rib and pancita, quesadillas of huitlacoche and flor de calabaza, and an order of tacos dorados of lamb maciza (rolled tacos) and a few aguas de arroz
Arrived in a foil packet sans skull which we hoped for but we soon cared less once we tasted the flood of lamb essence on or palettes. I got some of the eye and libs. Magnificently moist and super flavorful. Josh spied some brains I believe. Josh and I kept looking at each other in disbelief of how good it was.
-Tacos de Pancita-
See my first post on this! :^) One of the most interesting tacos in sd, no doubt. When I went back an hour later [for a to-go order for a friend] they had run out of this and the cabeza [by 11am!].
-Tacos de Costilla [rib]-
fantastic , shredded rich meat, excellent with salsa de Pasilla
- Huitlacoche & Flor de Calabaza Quesadillas-
OMG! Much better than the verison served at El Borrego. So much huitlacoche filling the quesadilla could hardly stand up. Paired with the pure addicting lactic flavor of oaxaca cheese huitlacoche is the food of the gods. The Flor de calabaza was almost equally as delicous - again better than the only other version I have had a El Rincon Chilango in Santa Ana. Dont go here without an order of one of these.
- Rolled tacos of Lamb -
Obviously made fresh to order, absolutely greaseless. Perfectly crisp and more flute sized than the straws of rolled tacos you get at abc taco shop. I will dream of these tonight topped with crema and lechuga.
Horchatas - Home Made and make me smile.
The people here at Aqui es Texcoco are incredibly warm and make you feel welcomed. I could not believe that they remember me - treating me like a friend. Their hearts are without a doubt in entireity with this endeavour. I admire them greatly and thank them for bringing a piece of Mexico here.
I hope more of San Diego will discover this special place.
I have little to add, except to emphasize just how incredibly good the rolled tacos were. They were ordered as something of an afterthought after we saw some at another table, and were honestly the best part of the meal for me.
That may sound strange, but for me, they completely redefined the rolled taco experience. I'm not really that huge a fan of taquitos, mainly because they always seem to suffer from the same problems:
- Lack of meat
- Not crisp
- Too dense and chewy
These were the complete opposite in every way. I'd love to know how they made them, because they were quite different from the standard:
- The shell was not tightly rolled, but rolled more loosely, and the tortilla very thin. This gave it an amazing crisp crunch, more like eating a tortilla chip than a rolled taco. It literally shattered apart on biting into it.
- Generously filled with meat, and the meat seemed like it might have been added after the shell was cooked, because it wasn't burned on the ends.
I would go back to this place just to eat the rolled tacos. The rib taco and cabeza were also outstanding, but the sheer perfection of those rolled tacos really made my day.
Alright... the secret to Flautas in Texcoco, D.F. & surrounding communities... is the same as the regional tostadas in Highlands Jalisco... the tortillas are soaked in a lime & salt brine to release a layer of "skin"... then they are allowed to dry a bit before the skins are pulled off... tortilla by tortilla. At the best Mex market here in Santa Rosa... the skinned tortillas are sold in a package.
Shhhh don't tell everyone, it's crowded enough as it is! ;-) The rolled tacos and that huitlacoche quesadilla were amazing. Thanks so much for sharing your discoveries you guys, I feel really lucky to be a part of groups like this!
I will post some photos later, I haven't had a chance to get them out of the camera yet.
If you like lamb - this is the place for you!!