Tongue Tied: Some Dishes from Back Home Can Leave You Speechless


Originally published on Food in Two Worlds on May 2, 2013.

Tongue? Seriously?

It’s hard to think about cooking an entire beef tongue no matter how trendy it may be to “use the whole animal.”

When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area I discovered tacos de lengua at Taqueria Cancun in the Mission District. I ate them at least once a week, enjoying their texture – delightfully spongy yet crisped around the edges, with an earthy, gamey flavor. I’ve continued to enjoyed lengua tacos in El Barrio, the neighborhood where I now live in New York.

I had never actually made beef tongue. I hadn’t even watched it being prepared. But Chef Carmen Valldejuli’s recipe for lengua estofada, or stuffed beef tongue, seemed a fitting way to continue to learn from her authoritative book on Puerto Rican cooking, Cocina Criolla, and experiment with something I knew I loved.

I took to the streets to find a tongue.

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