Monday, February 10, 2014
the eyes have it
The other day on our local message board, we welcomed a newcomer. She is a young American woman in love with an equally-young Mexican.
She informed us she would soon be coming down for a visit, and wanted to know what authentic Mexican foods she could expect. (She hedged that bet by informing us she is not very open to new foods.)
My fellow board members suggested a list of what I would call "safe" choices. Pork ribs at Scooby. Chicken tacos at any number of indifferent taco stands. Shrimp in hot sauce at Red Lobster.
I suggested that she should march to the beat of a different jefe. She should try the eye tacos at the stand next to the bus station.
My inbox was buried with some expected responses -- and some rather original suggestions, that I could not possibly do even if I were not so overweight. Most of them were on one theme -- there is no such thing.
Now, I have been known to put a spin on a good story. I inherited enough of my Aunt Bessie's DNA (my best girl) to not let facts get in the way of a rousing tale. But I remember my one experience with eye tacos.
There was a woman who had a stand by the bus station when I first moved to Melaque. I made a deal with her. She was to give me a taco with different fillings each time I visited -- and I would then try to guess what I had just eaten.
One day she served me a taco with what looked like egg salad. Well, egg salad with undercooked egg white. I tasted it. The white portions were chewy, and the "eggy" substance had a distinctive taste. Not entirely unpleasant.
I knew on my first bite what it was -- just as you do. I finished it and said: "Ojos."
She smiled. And I felt as if I had soared over another culinary hurdle. But I have never eaten one since.
I was going to put a link here to the original story. But I cannot find it. The lack of a post made me start wondering if the event was merely a product of my very vivid imagination.
So, off I went to the scene of my dining encounter. There is a very shiny cart in the spot where I recall a rather rustic stand. And there is no woman. I have walked by several times now, and the stand is always manned -- by a man.
But I suspect it is the same spot. Look at the choices: cabeza de res and lengua carnaza. The first is tender meat cooked from a beef head. The second is one of my favorite meals in the world: tongue.
So, it is more than likely that this is the place. I am going to gather up a couple Mexican waiters I know, and we are heading to the stand to see what other treasures we can find.
My hope is that I will have some documentation to go along with my quest for the eye taco. The gauntlet is down.