Menudo, Menudon't at the Hill Country's Las Comadres
Like many of my fellow Dallasites, I spent this weekend in Central Texas. But I never gave a single Flo-Max laden Eagles fan directions to the Port-A-Potties. Nor did I cut any rugs to LCD Soundsystem or M.I.A. Not a single ironic, appropriated Native American feather--let alone an entire hipster headdress--graced my whitegirl head during Devendra Banhart. In fact, I spent the weekend miles and miles from Natalie Portman's beau and the rest of the Austin City Limits crowd, camping out on Inks Lake with the Man O' The Hour, a packet of off-brand hot dogs and a case of Miller High Life.
By Sunday, I was ready for a proper meal on a proper plate. On our way outta town, we stopped in Burnet, a familiar crossroads for those heading west out of Austin to a little weekend peace of mind. Well past my showering expiration date, wearing a pair of flannel Hello Kitty pajama pants and a shirt smeared with ketchup and off-brand hot dog juice, I figured the proprietors and patrons of Las Comadres cafe off Highway 281 would overlook my disheveled get-up.
I was right. Maybe in return, I should overlook the fact that their food was bland, the tea watery, and the service atrocious. But then again, it's their job to serve decent food. It's not my job to look like I'm not hiding out from a van full of men in white coats.
And on a scale of one to decent, I'd rate Las Camadres at around a five. The "chilaquiles (migas)" I ordered was edible, despite gummy tortillas and bland cheese, thanks to a pretty high-quality salsa that I managed to slather on every bite. But it only further deepened the mystery of what exactly the difference is between chilaquiles and migas, which I've never managed to get properly answered. I invite you smart-asses to set me right in the comments.
Anyhoo, I didn't touch any beans that weren't already touching my eggs--they reminded me too much of the presumably stucco-inspired paint job in the bathroom, wherein spots of brown were daubed behind the toilet. I'm just glad I decided to use the facilities after my meal.
The Man O' The Hour watched intently as I sipped my iced tea from a straw out of our clear-red plastic cups, upset that his own order had been mixed up and he'd been served water. Until he got out a straw himself and checked out the color of the liquid--brown. It was tea. It was just ... skim tea. Real skim. On the tea part. MOTH ordered migas with beef, and he ended up finding at least two pieces of tough steak somewhere in his eggs.
We both liked the potatoes. I can say that.
I took the opportunity to order menudo, which was a favorite of mine at Austin's Juan in a Million back in the day. Surprisingly, it was pretty delish. I pretty much order the traditional soup for the spicy broth and close my eyes when I get a beefy bit. (And by "beefy bit," I mean "cow stomach," which up until I Googled the dish a couple minutes ago, I thought was actually cow tongue, because apparently I was lied to by a good friend long ago who was trying to get me to eat the dish and now I'm kind of sorry I Googled it at all and DEAR GOD I ATE A COW STOMACH. Then again, I had a hot dog for dinner the night before so I don't know why I'm having a ... cow .... about it at all). In my blissful ignorance, I dressed up the dish with lots of onion, cilantro, lime and chile and introduced MOTH to one of the world's finest hangover cures. If we hadn't loaded up on mediocre migas, we'd probably have eaten more of it.
Sadly, no Bloody Marys were to be had at this mom and pop joint, so we had to settle for the watery tea--which was never refilled, not once, despite our thirst at waiting twenty-five minutes for our food order.
But you know what? Whatever. It's a little Mexican place in Burnet Freaking Texas. I feel bad saying mean things about it. Instead, I'd like to know for next time: What are your favorite out-of-the-way dining joints around Texas? I'm an avid camper, and my favorite season is here. This won't be the last time I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere with a hunger for something it doesn't take me an hour to make on a campfire. Comment away, Aters!
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