Menudo is a traditional food, not just a sopa (soup) choice on the menu in most Mexican Restaurants. It has a very special tradition.
Menudo is a traditional breakfast meal eaten on Sunday morning for the working class around Mexico and especially in the Southwestern states. But! It is there in the Southwest that the traditional Sunday morning starts in the wee hours of the morning, specifically after a hard night of drinking and partying. It is said that menudo, aside from providing your machismo, will prevent that morning hangover. So, the last stop before going home is a diner that’s open late and serving up an appreciated bowl of menudo.
Menudo’s ingredients aren’t necessarily all that attractive to anyone who doesn’t have a snootful of his favorite beverage. Those who aren’t up at 2pm looking for menudo and generally sober and reading the ingredients. You’ll find the menudo recipe varies depending on which woman is making it but generally it contains a chile pepper broth – but not always, lots of laborously scrubbed beef tripe, hominy, the usual array of herbs, salt, pepper and some freshly squeezed juice of lime.
Depending on where this hearty, eat the hair of the dog that bit you, soup is being made, the ingredients will vary. Sometimes it doesn’t contain tripe at all, it has beef head or pig’s feet instead. But it is a hard labor making this soup. The tripe needs to be scrubbed and scrubbed, the chiles need to be cleaned, toasted and processed. And the cook time is forever and a day. The smell, rumor has it, is horrendous.
But those who seek it out so late on a Saturday night that is actually Sunday, will swear by it. It is the legitimate hangover cure, providing you have it before you stumble into bed.
We serve menudo at El Caminito Mexican Restaurant, but you’ll have to get your drunk on a little earlier, because we close at 9:30pm on Saturday night.