If you're looking for your average Sunday brunch spot with bottomless mimosas, then this isn't the blog you should be reading.
I'm only calling this "Sunday Brunch" because of the time of day (11 AM) and the day (Sunday) that I visited. So, you've been warned: there will be no pictures of avocado toast or maple bacon sitting on the rim of a hand-shaken Bloody Mary. And, even better: there isn't even a menu for you to agonize over.
When you walk into Taqueria Buey y Vaca you will see mismatched tables and benches, even some that are a bit crooked, and they will mostly all be taken. Old men and their wives, women and their children, husbands and small kids too. They will all be balancing trays of food, walking to and from the salsa bar where not only fresh salsa and pico de gallo await you, but FREE frijoles charros (while they last) are kept warm in a pot and freshly made tortilla chips sit glistening in a stainless steel bowl.
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As you wait in line keep clear of the swinging kitchen door as servers will walk out of the kitchen with a pitcher of beans that is poured into the pot at the salsa bar. You will eye those beans as you inch forward in line, hoping like hell there are still some when you are done ordering. When you get closer to the steam table you will see a small army of cooks flipping tortillas, grilling the masa for gorditas, and assembling huaraches, tortas, gorditas, tacos, and more as they are made to order.
The atmosphere in Buey y Vaca is buzzing. Everyone seems to know what they want and how and where to get it so you should be aware of people walking all around you, cutting through lines, walking in from doors that lead into the restaurant from the adjacent flea market of the same name, muttering "con permiso" as they lead their family in and out of the taqueria. No one is rude, but everyone is busy. They're on a mission for some delicious Mexican breakfast. So stay focused and calm, you will get your turn.
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As you approach the steam table, the piles of chicharrones, carnitas, nopales, tripas, and barbacoa, will beckon you. There are fried chicharrones and tacos sitting behind the glass held together with toothpicks. Their contents are varied, but if you're looking for sesos, or cow brains, then you're in luck. It seems almost impossible to order one thing, so don't.
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If you're like me and indecisive, look to the person ahead of you and order what they got. Why not? It looks good doesn't it?
I ordered a huarache con salsa verde topped with carnitas so tender and plentiful you'll use chips topped with your free beans to eat every last piece. Did I mention unlimited salsa? There is no one there to ask for more, so get up and get it yourself and serve it in the same large Styrofoam bowl in which you serve your beans. The salsa verde is very spicy, but it's good so put it on top of your gordita de tripas, and wash it down con una limonada grande.
By the time you're done eating, you'll find you didn't wait long in line at all. Be sure to toss your tray of plates in the trash on your way out to make way for the next round of peeps eager to take your spot!
Price of our meal:
2 Gorditas (huarache rang up as gordita)
2 Agua Grande
1 Chicharron Bolsita (fried chicharrones to go)
Need more taquerias in your life? For ideas on which taquerias to plan your weekend around, check out: Paloma's Favorite Taquerias.