I do not speak Spanish, despite being the son of a Spanish teacher and also being someone who deeply loves Mexican food. So it’s always a fun surprise to find out what my favorite taquerias’ names mean in English, a language in which I’m almost fluent.
La Esquina means “The Corner.” Taco Vaca literally translates as “Taco Cow.” And then there’s Los Comales, aka, The Griddles.
Weird name, right? But if you consider how much food they’re griddling on the daily, it makes as much if not more sense than Jimmy’s Egg. Really? You’ve only got one egg, James? I call to the stand this three-egg omelet! Permission to treat this breakfast as hostile, your honor?
Anyway, I’m an idiot. But I like tacos, so I asked local celebrity and medium-to-big wig Zach Smith to join me, and he did, because he also likes tacos.
Los Comales used to be one of two restaurants I’d visit in Stockyard City. Not because I was a snob, but because there were just the two restaurants. Now that McClintock Saloon & Chop House has joined Cattlemen’s Steakhouse in the area, I’m going to tic-tac-toe this thing and knock out the three reasons I drive south on Agnew Avenue.
One note: to the best of my knowledge, Los Comales is not affiliated with the chain of taquerias in Chicago by the same name. Step inside Los Comales in OKC and you definitely won’t get that “chain restaurant” feeling.
I will return to Los Comales to review the lunch/dinner menu, but there’s not much difference from the breakfast menu, except for the eggs. Regardless, it’s a pretty good bet that the delicious tortilla full of carne asada or barbacoa is going to be even more tasty with eggs than without, so maybe head there for breakfast yourself. Just an idea.
The dish I cannot stop ordering at Los Comales is machacado, either as a taco ($2.25) or a breakfast platter ($9.50). Machacado is dried shredded beef that has been rehydrated and scrambled with eggs. It’s crazy tender and extremely flavorful, with lot of spice and a smattering of tomatoes and onions scrambled in. On the breakfast platter, you also get potatoes and refried beans, which take this from “filling meal” to “delicious wrecking ball I’m smuggling under my shirt.”
Not all chorizos are made equal. What sets one apart from the pack is how much flavor it can fit in without going from outrageously greasy to unconscionably greasy. The chorizo and egg taco ($2.25) achieves this admirably, but I’d still get some extra napkins if I were you. It’s a gorgeously spicy meat and the fat from the eggs keeps it from blowing out your taste buds early in the day.
No one will blame you for taking it a little easier on your stomach (and, later on, bowels) by getting a slightly less-greasy option: a bacon and egg taco ($2.25). Much as I love my bacon teetering on the edge between crispy and limp, I have to hand it to the chef at Los Comales for understanding that what makes great bacon doesn’t always make for a great bacon and egg taco. You’ll find this taco is a little more supple. No shattered bacon shards in here, waiting to slice into your gums. No, these are meaty, chewy bites, where the bacon has been left a bit more supple. Toss in some hot sauce, maybe add in some shredded cheese, and you’ve got just about the idea breakfast.
“Now, Greg, I can’t help but notice you haven’t addressed the elephant in the room. When are you going to talk about breakfast burritos?”
Thank you, figment of my imagination. I should talk about breakfast burritos. There’s just one problem: You are not large enough to make one of these burritos your breakfast.
Two tacos is enough for most folks. Three, maybe, if you’re a big eater. But these breakfast burritos are huge. And stuffed so full, you’re really getting an enormous taco, as the tortilla struggles mightily to contain all the goodness heaped within.
Despite it not being particularly breakfast-y, I got the carne asada burrito ($6.95) and baby, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Chunks of tender, steak-tacular carne asada was piled with cheese, potatoes and beans inside a big old tortilla that could scarcely hold it together. Where’s the egg, you ask? Good question! It’s not in this burrito, because it’s already so full of other ingredients that adding egg could be considered a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
Did I miss the egg? Not really. But that’s more to do with carne asada’s extremely assertive flavor. Sausage, ham and bacon versions of the burrito do include eggs, if that’s your thing, but for a massively filling and tasty burrito sans egg, the carne asada is king. Also, since you’re not Icelandic god and four-time World’s Strongest Man winner Magnús Ver Magnússon, you can eat the leftover burrito for lunch. And there will be burrito left over, or you’ll be back home napping your way through the rest of the day.
Los Comales is a little out of the way for me, but it’s still one of my favorite taquerias for breakfast, so I like to carve some time out of my morning and get down there every month or so and treat myself to a plate of machacado, a spicy chorizo taco and a burrito so full of meat, potatoes, beans and cheese that I think Timelord technology might be at play here.