As well as meeting other cookbook authors in St Joseph I also met many dedicated food lovers. One of them, Dave, is a man passionate about good food and full of local knowledge. As my demos were right at lunchtime I was starving by 3pm so Dave suggested a Mexican place, open all hours. He sketched a very detailed map for our journey across town.
I can’t call it a restaurant it is just a space in the back of a Mexican supermarket. La Perla calls itself a taqueria, and while there is a printed menu the large, faded photos depicting the dishes on the wall above the cash register, where you order is how we made our choices. The only thing is they don’t reveal the true size of the portions. I was hungry, so I ordered meudo and a plate of tacos. For the meat on my tacos I chose tongue, pork and barbecued pork, my husband ordered beef with refried beans and cactus. This is what we got –
First came the corn chips with tomato salsa, both fresh and delicious. Of course I ate too many waiting for my soup and tacos.
Then everything arrived together as you can see here. In front is my bowl of menudo, tripe soup to the uninitiated or as the menu so eloquently described it cow stomach soup. The bowl was huge, enough to feed four filled with big pieces of different types of tripe in a fiery chile laced broth. There was lime, coriander and onions to add at your discretion and it came with a choice of flour or corn tortillas. I chose flour.
The tacos, soft corn tortillas, were hidden under a torrent of queso fresco, a fresh Mexican cheese that is slightly salty, shredded lettuce, diced tomato and coriander. The tongue was mixed with a spicy tomato sauce and of the two pork fillings, I preferred the barbecued one, a messy but tasty dish.The grilled cactus and the refried beans were the best parts of my husband's choice.
As we staggered up from the table, I wandered down the other side of the counter and discovered two sorts of pork rinds, pig's ears and feet. I may have to move to St Joseph, or perhaps I can score another invitation to the Epicurean Classic with my next book.