The Unsolicited Endorsement: Beef-tongue tacos

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by Anthony Harrison

As a child, I epitomized the picky eater. For years, my diet basically consisted of apples, milk, hot dogs and plain cheeseburgers. I refused to eat anything green. Hell, I consider myself lucky to have not died of early-onset coronary disease by the time I was 12.

But times change, and my tastes changed. Now, I’ve chowed on dishes as crazy as raw octopus tentacles, grilled sheep tripe, even Caesar salads.

So you should know when I say, “You should try beef tongue,” I really mean what I say.

Honestly, I don’t see why tongue isn’t served at every steakhouse in the Triad. The only places serving it that I’m aware of are taquerias like El Camino Real in Greensboro.

I went to El Camino Real’s Taco Tuesday this past week, and I asked a friend which tacos were the best. She recommended the carnitas, pastor, asada and lengua.

But I already knew to get the lengua, because tongue is simply amazing.

Again, I understand that for some of you this whole concept may throw you off. Tongue sounds gross. For one, it’s a gross word. Also, statistically speaking, you’ve got one in your mouth right now. You can feel it. You don’t want to eat that.

Yet again, I must insist: You have to try tongue.

Last Tuesday, I saved the tongue for last. The chicken taco was fantastic, as was the carnitas and pastor. But I knew the lengua would be the best.

I was not disappointed.

El Camino Real cooks tongue perfectly. It’s got a thin, crispy crust of char to it which gives way to the most tender, savory beef you may ever taste. I’d go so far to say tongue makes filet mignon look like shoe leather.

When the tiny little taco was done, I wished I had gotten four. Or a dozen.

Remember where I’m coming from — I’m the guy who didn’t eat eggs until he was in high school, who didn’t believe in condiments until college. If I can venture out of my culinary comfort zone for the chance to eat quite arguably the best part of a cow, you should, too.