How to Find Authentic Mexican Food and a Michelada in Durham

It’s National Michelada Day, and you want a really great michelada, but you also want good (aka authentic) Mexican food. However, you’re in Durham, North Carolina, which makes it a little bit of a challenge. After growing up in Los Angeles and Mexico, then spending eighteen of your adult years in Austin, and one year in San Antonio, you kind of took these things for granted. It’s possible one of the bona fide taquerias will have a michelada, except these places rarely have a website. It’s a gamble.

Michelada in Durham, NC
The michelada that saved my sad
cheese enchilada experience.

There’s a hip taco place in Durham, which actually happens to have really tasty lengua tacos just the way you like them. Moist, tender, flavorful, and falling apart. And you think, if they can get lengua right, surely, they have a michelada? They just rebranded their website. They have mojitos, margaritas, and milkshakes, but there’s no sign of a michelada on the menu.

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Menudo in San Antonio, Texas: Blanco Cafe

1720 Blanco Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78212
(210) 732-6480

Blanco Cafe

(Review based on visit that took place in June of 2018. Copious notes were taken at the time.)

The Highlights

  • Menudo with Instagram Filter | The Original Blanco Cafe | San Antonio, TX | Undercover Mexican Girl
    Menudo with Instagram Filter

    Meat: mostly good, no honeycomb cuts, some tough pieces.

  • Hominy: a good amount, but didn’t quite meet the 1:1 ratio.
  • Broth: not too salty, seasoned just right.
  • Toppings: small portions of cilantro, limes, onion, and jalapeño.
  • Tortillas: choice of corn or flour, deliciously handmade on site.
  • Availability: any day of the week.
  • Price: $6.29 for a bowl ($5.29 for the small)

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Menudo in Arlington, Texas: Los Pastores Restaurant

704 E. Pioneer Pkwy.
Arlington, TX 76010
(817) 274-6525

Los Pastores Restaurant

The Highlights

  • Menudo at Los Pastores in Arlington, TexasMeat: a well-balanced mix of smooth and honeycomb cuts, cooked to the perfect degree of tenderness.
  • Hominy: as I asked for extra hominy, the hominy to meat ratio was slightly more than 1:1, but I personally like it that way.
  • Broth: perfect level of saltiness and a bit of a spicy kick, not too watery, but not too thick. Slightly on the greasy side, which I prefer. (Probably from the fat that melted off the several small pieces of pork “pata” bone that were left in the broth for flavor.)
  • Toppings: automatically comes with lime, onion, and jalapeño, but they were happy to add cilantro** (SEE ADDENDUM AT THE BOTTOM); the portions were just right.
  • Tortillas: homemade flour or corn, soft and fresh; if bread is more your thing, they do that, too.
  • Availability: any day of the week.
  • Price: $7.95 for the medium and $9.95 for the large. The small for $6.95 is also available on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Mexican Food in Arlington, Texas: A New Adventure

Mexican Food Arlington TexasThe Pozole and I moved to Arlington, Texas from Austin at the beginning of August 2016. After eighteen years in Austin, we’d more or less become experts in the Mexican food and taquerías of that town. But de’d only been to three Mexican restaurants in Arlington—once back in April, when we came for a visit, and the second and third time shortly after we moved here.

So far, I haven’t been thrilled. I honestly can’t remember much about the first one, since we were getting a quick breakfast on the run before driving back to Austin. The only thing I remember was getting a plastic engagement ring out of a plastic bubble from the red toy-vending machine. (Was the universe trying to tell us something?)

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Menudo in Austin, Texas: Casa Maria

4327 S 1st St #101
Austin, TX 78745
(512) 444-8861

Casa Maria

The Highlights

Menudo in Austin: Casa Maria

  • Meat: mix of smooth cut with lots of the honeycomb cut, although some pieces seemed overcooked and soggy
  • Hominy: great ratio to meat (1:1)
  • Broth: tasty!
  • Toppings: cilantro, limes, onion, and jalapeño were all available, however the cilantro portion was rather skimpy; upon request for more cilantro, it was mostly stems
  • Tortillas: nothing memorable
  • Availability: any day of the week
  • Price: $8.99 for a bowl (one size only)

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