Mexican Sunday mornings are all about soupy food: menudos, pozoles, birrias, barbacoas con consomé. It's the way to make up for all the indulging on Saturday night, plus it's easy to put them on the stove to simmer during Mass. While I'm no fan of menudo–no one ever cleans the tripe well enough–I'm a sucker for pozole, and not just during the Christmas season, either.
Early last Sunday, while my friend Michaele and I were nosing around waiting for Das Cortez to open in the fancy part of Tijuana, we stumbled past Pozolería Los Compadres back behind the Galerías Hipódromo.
"Want some pozole?" I asked.
"Sure!" she replied.
Pozolería Los Compadres is an old house, a tiny row home filled with tables and a flat screen jabbering Sky TV; the owners are straight from Guadalajara, and they've created a small regional restaurant, one of the only truly tapatío restaurants in the city, in their home away from home. The menu is simple: white and red pozole, carne en su jugo, lonches and tortas ahogadas, beef birria (which is a specialty of Tijuana, not of Guadalajara), and various little snacks such as coyotas, filled pastries from Sonora and Sinaloa that are incredibly popular in Tijuana.
I don't normally rely on pictures to convey a dish's excellence, but this one really speaks for itself. This is no can of El Faraón; this is no slapdash ladle of street food. The hominy was simmered until it took on the appearance of hominy popcorn: huge, amorphous pieces of corn. The pork was so tender you could cut it with the spoon. The accoutrements–shredded lettuce, cabbage, onion and lime–were exactly evenly cut. And then there were the tostadas that are as obligatory as a spoon with pozole: bubbly, impossibly corn-y, and thick. These tostadas are all over Mexico; why can't we have them up here?
This was as close to a perfect bowl of pozole as I've ever had, and the price is astounding: a medium bowl, more than enough for a light breakfast, is 50 pesos ($3.75) and a large bowl, enough for anyone, is 65 pesos ($4.90).
The carne en su jugo, too, was delicious, small chunks of chopped beef and bacon with peruano beans in a slightly salty sauce of green chile and tomatillo. The only thing that would have made this better would have been homemade tortillas; what came out was steaming hot but clearly out of a bag.
It's a sleepy place with a warm, friendly owner, and astoundingly good pozole. ¡Viva Jalisco! ¡Vivan los tapatíos!
Pozolería Los Compadres is located at Av. Hipódromo 12-B, Col. Hipódromo, Tijuana; 011-52-664-681-8647. From Bl. Aguacaliente, pass the twin towers of the Grand Hotel and turn right on Av. Tapachula, near the old U.S. consulate. Then follow the curve left and uphill to Av. Hipódromo.