Late Night Brain Burrito--Confessions/Questions
It's a point of pride, perhaps even occasional bragging, that I'll eat and like just about anything. Organs, heads, feet, blood this-or-that, bugs. Just no brussel sprouts, please.
It's 1AM. Long day of work. Starving. No better time to hit up my fave taco truck.
Located on Western Ave and Lexington, just South of the 101 freeway on ramp. Parked in the lot of a small mechanic shop, East side of the street. There are two trucks---the other one makes burgers and sandwiches. This truck is the more Northerly of the two.
These guys shovel out great stuff. Sweet pastor, crunchy, toasty carne asada, moist and tender lengua. But I'm feeling brave; bloody, buggy, organ-y brave. It's time for my first brain burrito.
"Uno burrito de sesos, por favor".
The cook cocks his head and flicks an eyebrow at me. I will not be deterred.
Three minutes and $3.50 later, I dig in.
The first couple of bites are good---mild, beefy flavor, salsa with some attitude. About a third of the way through, the consistency starts to turn my stomach: each bite gets more squishy and slippery, akin to eating overcooked noodles wrapped in a tortilla. I flick on the dome light of my darkened jalopy. Rice, beans, lots of wormy brain. I force a couple of more bites and chuck the rest.
I hate to admit defeat, but the dam broke. I wimped out. Not the truck's fault, as their grub pretty uniformly kicks ass. I can only assume my fortitude failed me.
Mrs. rabo, who finds all of this extremely amusing, informs me of my errant ways.
"You eat that stuff in a taco. Not a burrito. Tacos only."
Is this true, folks? Could I possibly learn to love this stuff, if eaten correctly, and perhaps, at another establishment (for eg. Grand Central Market)? Are there brain lovers out there, amongst my fellow and beloved Los Angeles Hounds?
Epilogue: I wake up in the morning, ravenous. I jet over to SAPP COFFEE SHOP for The Breakfast of Champions---Boat Noodles with The Works. Offal-ly good stuff.
When I was in college, we were dining at a restaurant in Mexico City, and were served quesadillas...
After taking a bite, then looking down at the unrecognizable gray/slimy material within the tortilla, I asked "What are in these?". The reply was, "sesos". I don't remember every word in Spanish (minor in college) but "sesos" is forever etched into my brain (pun intended).
good post Rabo!
I must confess I am not brave enough to eat cow brain. A cow brain burrito takes some courage.
thanks for the heads up on the Western Ave and Lexington taco truck.
i'm blogging my LA taco experience and I'll add it to my destinations. I will however probably order al pastor or asada.
I agree with your bride... Certain taco fillings should not be in a burrito... Seso is #1 on that list (I wager that is what you got you that look, not the fact that you were ordering it...) It just has too soft a texture... much too rich as well...
Other non-burrito fillings in my mind...
Cabesa: (Why ruin the succelent flavor and tenderness among beans and rice!)
Tripas: Texture too chewy... bad to take bites
Lengua: When done perfect, has a slightly similar texture to sesos and can be REALLY rich and fatty...
Basically, it's like this:
Tortas and Burritos: hardier meats
Tacos, sopes and tostadas: delicate meats
quick question re: cabesa
i had some cabesa tacos w/ a friend of mine who is from mexico city---they were really great. but she was unable to answer my question regarding what part of the cow the meat came from other than it is called "head". does the meat come from the head of the cow (somewhere), or is it called cabesa for some other reason?
Listen to the Missus: tacos, not burritos.
Some things are not meant to be eaten in Big Gulp format. A small plate of chitlins, tripe in soup or stew, sweetbreads two to a serving with some nice sauce. But you are a big, brave boy for trying, and we're all proud of you, and you won't do it again.
Oh, they're pretty good scrambled with eggs...