Loving that Lengua
Let’s just say simple, unadored lengua (braised beef tongue tacos) topped with cilantro, onion and lime on fresh corn tortillas are my new favorite Mexican dish. We finally made it to Corvallis’s best authentic (and cheap) Mexican restaurant: La Roca, run by the extended Nunez family from Oaxaca that runs other La Rocas and La Rockitas in nearby Philomath and on the coast in Newport and Lincoln City. Apparently the Nunez family are renown boxers in this area too.
If you’ve been scared to try tongue tacos, dig in. It’s really one of our most luscious cuts of meat but I guess the tastebuds (see below) are disconcerting to people. I guess we prefer concealed organ meats. But why is tongue so fatty if it’s a muscle? I guess that’s why it tastes so good.
I love that tongue is a delicacy in both Mexican and Jewish food cultures, or rather a celebrated peasant food that gained prominence out of the need to not waste any part of the beef. Funny that tongue is kosher though, no? I remember being grossed out the few times Nonny and Poppy had a whole tongue boiling in a pot at their house. Where did they get tongue in Richmond? They had nice whole tongue for sale in the esteemed butcher section of Richey’s Market today, probably to cater to their Mexican clientel. The 1950s-style grocery, featuring some good local produce and great deals, is our favorite place to shop outside of the far pricier food co-op and farmer’s market. Richey’s brings you back down to earth.
But Tacos Uurapan, while delicious, can no longer lay claim to the best Mexican comida in town. La Roca is where it’s at. Can’t wait to return for their weekday specials: Mole Oaxaqueno on Wednesdays and Enchiladas Verde on Thursday nights. Just as long as I can have them with lengua.