More Innards: Tripe

May 1st, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Tripe. Yes, it’s an unattractive word. Tripe is the stomach lining of a cow. Prepared properly, it is a delicious dish. Here in New Mexico, tripe is thoroughly soaked and cleansed and then slowly braised with pig feet for flavoring. Plus onions, garlic, oregano,etc. The pig feet are removed after cooking (though some very Mexican eateries in southern New Mexico serve the pig feet). This Mexican tripe stew is called Menudo and it is a food passion for HG. For health reasons, HG limits Menudo intake to one bowl a week. That’s because, though low in calories, Menudo contains unhealthy fat. Many Menudo fans add posole to their bowl for a very filling meal. Not for HG, just chopped onions, Hatch green chile and squeezes of lemon. Sometimes, HG crumbles a Saltine cracker in the savory broth. Best Menudo is served at El Parasol in Pojoauque on Highway 285. Close by is Sopaipilla Factory which serves a more sophisticated version of Menudo. The tripe stew is also available at Brazos in Santa Fe and Agelina’s in Espanola. The French, naturally, are big fans of tripe and cook it in a variety of ways. Lyonnais favorites are thin pan fried breaded pieces of tripe with onions and garlic. Usually served with potato puree. Also, tablier de sapeur (fried and breaded honeycomb tripe which is first boiled and marinated in white wine). A Paris favorite is a stew called tripes a la mode de Caen. Originating in Normandy, tripe is baked (between 7 and 14 hours) with a calf’s foot, onions, celery, spices, white wine and a generous shot of Calvados. It is a specialty at the venerable Paris restaurant, Pharamond. The rowdy all night bistro, Chez Denise, offers “Tripes au Calvados” for 23 Euros. It is a very large pot of tripe and it takes a hero with a big stomach to finish it. Tripe used to be on the menus of many old style Italian and French restaurants in New York. Then it disappeared. Now making a modest comeback. Victoria Freeman (HG’s beloved daughter) and husband/chef Marc Meyer introduced Menudo at their ultra-authentic Mexican restaurant, Rosie’s. Their convivial Margarita-sipping clientele would have none it. Took it off the menu before sad HG could savor.

Osteria Savio Volpe

December 3rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

As one may have gathered from precious posts, HG is very fond of dining in Vancouver, Canada’s magical city in the northwest. Because of its large Asian population, there are scores of very good Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Malaysian and Vietnamese restaurants. So, when in that city, HG focuses on those cuisines (with a few side trips to Rodney’s for superb oyster platters). HG/BSK’s pals, Jamie S. and Karen C., are authoritative and enthusiastic members of the Vancouver dining-out community. They touted the hottest restaurant in town, Osteria Savio Volpe (have to reserve weeks in advance). HG/BSK joined them there for an Italian meal that combined innovation with tradition. Savio Volpe is a beautiful, gently lit restaurant. Service is both friendly and professional. Everything combined to make the meal joyous and memorable. As suggested by management, the foursome shared a number of dishes. Consumed in this order: White anchovies with grilled leeks, egg, aioli, olives and bread crumbs; kale salad with lemon pepper dressing and Romano cheese. Main dishes: Robust roast suckling pig enhanced by a flavorful sauce; rare top sirloin with charred onion and horseradish crema. HG consumed only modest portions of these mains since HG concentrated on a dish shunned by BSK, Jamie and Karen: Tripe alla Calabrese in a sauce of tomatoes, chile peppers and Pecorino cheese. It was served in a bubbling stew pot with hunks of very good grilled bread (to sop up the sauce). HG is a big fan of New Mexico green chile Menudo (tripe stew). However, HG must confess: Savio Vople’s tripe stew is the greatest tripe dish HG has ever tasted. Yes, better than Tripes a la mode de Caen in Paris and the various tripe dishes served in Bologna or Florence. The festive meal ended with a giant “Tiramisu Sundae” which combined pastry, gelato, hazelnuts and a dash of Marsala. The foursome contemplated their foodie good fortune with snifters of limoncello and grappa. Viva Italia!! and Viva Savio Volpe!!


Illegal…But Tasty.

November 25th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Some years ago HG and BSK were strolling in the colorful, noisy, fragrant Italian city of Naples, a place where anarchy (and crime) reigns. It was midday and a group of men gathered before the ground floor of a ramshackle apartment house. A window opened and a woman handed out bowls of something that looked quite robust (HG thinks it was Trippa Napoletana — tripe done in the Neapolitan style). The lady sold a lot of food. HG doubts whether she was troubled by health inspectors or tax collectors. The scene reminded HG of the illegal restaurants that used to flourish in the basements of buildings in New York’s Garment Center and Fur District. These places opened at noon and closed at two. The scene was mayhem. Workers in the Fur District were Greeks and Jews. The cuisine reflected this. HG remembers tasty Moussaka, lemony chicken stews, goulash. kasha varnishkes with mushrooms, onions and chicken livers. Hearty stuff for hardworking folks untroubled by indelicate presentation.

For the Love of Tripe

May 28th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

When HG utters the word “tripe’, A certain high percentage of HG’s listeners respond to HG with a grimace of disgust and a collective: “Ech-h-h!!”. Unfair. But, understandable. Years ago, HG was in the glorious Italian city of Firenze. HG went to the wicker market where at lunch every day a truck pulled up and a grizzled old guy dispensed tripe sandwiches. These were famous throughout the city and there was a long line waiting for the delicacy. HG took one bite of his sandwich. Spat. Threw the sandwich to the ground. The Florentine tripe lovers turned to HG with anger. HG heard the word “Americano” whispered and everyone quickly calmed down. Of course, the crowd reasoned, HG was an American. This excused HG’s behavior since all Americans are crazy and know nothing about food.

HG overcame his anti-tripe prejudice three years ago when HG and BSK moved to New Mexico. HG became an obsessive lover of New Mexican tripe — menudo — as it is prepared at El Parasol in Pojauque. HG limits himself to one bowl a week since menudo is mega-rich in cholesterol. HG remembers a mournful essay by M.F.K. Fisher, the late, great food writer. Living in a small California town, Fisher could find no one who would share a tripe meal with her and cooking tripe for a solitary meal seemed too arduous and too sad.

Home Sweet Menudo

March 9th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Back home in New Mexico. Enveloped by beautiful light, colors, views, serenity. Some winter chill lingers so HG nourished body and soul with a steaming bowl of green chili menudo at El Parasol in Pojoaque. Pure Northern New Mexican soul food. Menudo is tripe, of course, enriched with roasted chiles and the bite of oregano and cruchy onions. It is not an innard favored by the great American gringo population. In fact, HG doesn’t know any innard that gets a seal of approval from real Amurrican 100% he guys. Their loss. HG and his European (and Latino) comrades will continue to savor the yummy esoterica lurking inside cows, pigs, lambs, etc.

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