Confession time: I haven't been the biggest fan of tripe. Before moving to Texas, I'd only eaten stomach a handful of times. The only instance I cleaned my plate was at Restaurant Eve, a four-star restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia, with a chef who could turn a shower shoe into a delicacy.
His tripe was braised until it was beyond tender and then breaded, fried and served with a tomato sauce. To me, it tasted a lot like lasagna, which is delicious, so I ate it in half a minute. But I left wondering: If something tastes so terrible that you have to completely, almost magically, convert it, why bother?
And then I moved to Texas.
Dallas, I soon discovered, does tripe. Many of the taquerías I visited had menudo on the menu, and my first apartment was right behind a Herrera's. If I saw tripe, I ordered it, and experienced reactions ranging from revulsion to tolerance to a fleeting sensation I can only refer to as "forced enjoyment." I still didn't love the stuff. It felt like work.
When I walked into CBD Provisions I was ready for the same routine. Instead, I experienced a sort of tripe epiphany. This wasn't forced enjoyment. It was a genuinely pleasurable experience.
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Chef Michael Sindoni uses chorizo with purpose, but he stops short of covering up the tripe's own character -- and it's delicious. I started by spooning a little of the stew on a slice of bread but determined the toast was an unnecessary step, delaying the spicy stew's ultimate destination. The dish was empty in a few minutes and then I realized the real reason the bread was served as a side -- to wipe the bowl clean.