La Acapulquena and My Bleeding Eardrums

Caldo de pescado.
Caldo de pescado.
Lauren Drewes Daniels

Those Al Biernat's MILFs ain't got nothing on the 2-year-old girl who sat behind me at lunch the other day. This tyke was squealing (not screaming, squealing) so loud at La Acapulquena that dogs in Odessa ran for cover. Dolphins in the gulf dove deeper. I don't know if I was more baffled at her ability to repeatedly rip her vocal cords or by the fact that her parents weren't in straight jackets. Yet.

Regulars sought refuge in the tiny bar behind a wall. An old man at the front was about to lose it -- shooting "big eyes" at her every few minutes. It all made me laugh; partially from the manifesting tension a toddler was creating and partially because WTF.

I always say, "Neva' judge anotha' mutha'," and this woman looked tired. I considered buying her a strong drink, but thought better of it as it would only delay their departure.

So, that was annoying.

But I went to La Acapulquena for a little seafood-Mexican-lunch thing and ordered the caldo de pescado (fish soup). This dish, typical of coastal Mexico, starts with a basic broth base of onions, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes and is served with a side of limes and, very important, hot sauce.

A little surprise: The fish was served in huge, fleshy, fully intact pieces -- fins, scales, bones and all. The head and gills portions tossed, the meaty part of the fish was cut into three-inch sections. To eat, I carefully pulled away the scales and picked around the bones, the meat easily falling off.

The kitchen took a while to get my dish out to me, which was actually encouraging because it confirmed the fish was cooked to order. In all, it was a great meal, one that on a rainy, cold day (someday ...) is going to be amazing.

Other than my eardrums bleeding, the only regret was the small bowl of queso they brought to my table along with the chips and salsa. Es gratis. And by regret, I mean I have no self control.

I actually never order queso. Why? Because I eat it. All. As in lick the bowl clean. And, of course, in true mid-season form (I've been training since I was born), I shoveled every drop of the delicious appetizer (laden with tomatoes, onions and jalapeños) into my mouth as if I were an industrial food hopper. Freaking awesome. So, I was almost full by the time I got my soup. See! That's why I never get queso. Ugh.

This little east Dallas restaurant is a great neighborhood place, the waitresses are friendly and the blend of seafood with Mexican home cooking is wonderful. Weekends for a late breakfast are great too -- they open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Sans the squealing.

Follow City of Ate on Twitter: @cityofate.

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