Best Menudo - 2004
El Taco de México
Long touted as mankind's only guaranteed cure for the common hangover, menudo is a hearty, spicy, slow-cooked stew made from hominy, chiles and tripe, feet, knuckles or any other unattractive cut requiring several hours of cooking to bring out its more subtle charms. On weekends at El Taco de México, these lowly ingredients are brought together into something far greater than the sum of their parts in one fine menudo. The kitchen is wise enough to use honeycomb tripe (the darker, more strongly flavored muscular lining from the cow's second stomach) along with the fattier first stomach, which gives the soup a strong, heavy flavor and reduces the greasiness you get from using only smooth tripe. The menudo is spicy enough that you'll work up a good sweat, but it comes with tortillas to cut the heat and little bowls bearing limes and a red-chile sauce in case you feel up to tinkering with the flavor.