So. I am willing to try anything once. In the case at hand, I am willing to try menudo at least one more time.
Even though it wasn't 5 a.m. and I didn't have a hangover; on Saturday afternoon I tried a bowl of menudo at El Azteca on Airport Way in Santa Rosa.
I was served a large bowl of steaming red broth filled with tripe and the occasional piece of hominy. A tray of chopped onion and cilantro was included to provide a garnish.
Menudo is reputed to have amazing restorative powers. The broth is supposed to be "rich, red, peppery, and glistening with fat." Well, mine was red.
I thought the broth was not spicy or rich enough, there wasn't enough hominy, and the tripe was too chewy. In an effort to salvage the experience, I dumped in all of the raw onion and chopped cilantro. I tasted the "dishwater" aftertaste of cilantro for most of the rest of the day.
Is this the true menudo? Am I suffering from yet another taste not yet acquired? Or is there a bowl of the mythic savory and steaming menudo out there waiting for me at 5 a.m. in some Mexican Nighthawk Cafe?