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Friday, July 25, 2008

Tacos de Lengua: Bite your tongue

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 12:22 PM

It was either this, Gene Simmons or medical pics you did not want to see...

About a year ago, I jumped into the offal fray by ordering my first tongue taco. I wasn't really sure what the hell to expect from the experience. So I closed my eyes, opened my mouth, and took a bite. What I tasted ignited a love affair and a mad search for the perfect taco de lengua.

A good taco de lengua is a thing of savory beauty that is lost on many Americans who seem to have a dislike for any meat that originates above an animal's neck. Well prepared beef tongue has a consistency and flavor of roast beef. It should be lean and tender, simply shredded in a corn tortilla and minimally garnished.

Last night my search brought me to Torres de Morelos, a taco truck that hulks in a small patch of blacktop at 33rd and Powell, between a motel and an auto care center. I've passed the place hundreds of times since moving to the neighborhood, but I'd never had the wherewithal to stop. Things came to a head last night as I sat on my porch, wondering what the hell I was going to put into my belly for dinner. The fridge was bare, I didn't want to cook and I've recently sworn off fast food for like, the thousandth time. Then, I remembered the cart, just blocks away. I figured it didn't really count as fast food and I imagined they might just have a nice tongue taco.They did, indeed.

The taco de lengua at Torres de Morelos was absolutely lovely. It was supremely tender, well seasoned and just a tad smoky from the grill. They dressed the taco with grilled onions and fresh cilantro. Also accompanying the taco was a lime half and some deliciously subtle hot sauces. Two of these beauties ran me three dollars. So freaking inexpensive! I was easily satisfied, considering the generous portions of meat.

Torres de Morelos has a selection of other offal tacos including tripe (both bovine and swine) and cheeks. I'm sure as I continue to patronize this taco truck, I'll try these more heroic offerings. I'll let you know how it goes. Not sure when they are open, but it seems to be every day until after dark. I'll ask next time I stop by and update the post.

In the meantime, if you're digging taco truck action yourself, let me know about your favorites in the comments section. Also check out the Portland Food Cart blog to track down that perfect taco with your name on it.

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