Mezcal Courage — In Which I Finally Try Buche

(Post 33 of 193. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

I was so grateful that the taco place by my apartment was open Monday night after my very long day and hike. I was super hungry and not in the mood to hunt for food. I don’t know if it was having had chapulines, all the mezcal, or the fresh mountain air, but I decided it was time to try buche, pork maw (stomach), tacos. I don’t know how many Mexicans from all over have told me that if I haven’t had buche, I’ve never had tacos. I’m put off by the thought of offal, but there was something about this place that instilled trust in me that they would do it right.

Buche wasn’t horrible to look at — it was chopped small. The texture was similar to lunch meat, maybe a bit chewier. There was none of that expected “offal taste” that I’d been bracing myself for. It was almost disappointing how spectacularly inoffensive and not a big deal this taco was!

I also wanted to see what an al pastor taco is like in this part of Mexico — the tortilla is morel like what I’d get in Sinaloa, but the meat is more similar to what I get in Yucatán. The salsas also differed. I realised just how much I love the garlic sauce that comes with tacos in Yucatán.

Besides the two tacos, I ordered a quesadilla on wheat tortillas, just to guarantee myself at least one final date with quesillo, which is “Oaxaca cheese” in the rest of the country — a fresh, stringy cheese very similar to mozzarella that melts and browns beautifully. This quesadilla was game changer in a way that warranted a face palm — they put the cheese right on the grill to give it a crispy brown crust on both sides, then put it in the tortilla. This really elevated what would otherwise have been a very boring base for salsa.

The prices at this restaurant are so reasonable — this includes beer!

I have a tray at home that matches this one — mine’s a lime and bit bigger, though.

I’d say that I exceeded my culinary goals for my trip to Oaxaca — I tried every kind of mole (thanks, buffets!) and chapulines, fell in love with mezcal, and even got buche off the bucket list!