It is not known whether Robin Garr had a trusty servant banging coconuts together making horse-clop sounds as he visited El Mariachi and El Molcajete for his "fair comparison" of a couple of tacos and two different egg dishes. What can be determined is that Robin Garr is quite afraid of offal, and has most likely never had menudo.
Garr begins his brief overview of the two taquerias by informing readers that menudo is made from "pork chitlins ('chitterlings,' to the prissy, or, if you insist on a definition in English, pork intestines)." He goes on to theorize that menudo's reputation as a hangover cure may come from the ability to "hold down a stenchy ration" of what he calls "Mexican chitlins." Of course, in cultures other than those habitually using the word "stenchy," menudo actually refers to tripe, or the honeycomb lining of a cow's stomach.
After describing some other foods he find "scary" such as tongue (ask your Jewish grandmother) and brains (ask your Southern cousin), Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot admits he only ate "a couple lengua [tongue] tacos," encouraging readers to email him if they are brave enough "to try brains or any of those other innards," adding:
For us, having sampled one food item that came out of an animal's mouth, we decided to play it safe and finish up with some eggs. Er, huevos.(Editor's note: last time we checked, eggs came out of a place anatomically opposed to and generally much less esteemed than "an animal's mouth.")
Garr says both El Mariachi and El Molcajete are "small, colorful and usually packed with a mostly Latino audience" and have menus that are "affordable, with tacos starting at $2 or less." He lets readers know the chips and salsas at both places are acceptable, with El Molcajete's brown salsa deemed "a keeper." He informs us that both taquerias have Jarritos sodas and "adult beverages." But when it comes to the actual food, Garr again portrays a preference for chicken butts over cowlicks:
We ordered a lengua taco at each place and, to be honest, found them OK, but not good enough to make us slap our chaps and yell "Yeehaw!" Both were served Mexican-style with cilantro and onions. El Mariachi's bore a scanty portion of chopped beef tongue so mild that it might have been deli beef. El Molcajete's lengua was more generously portioned, but it, too, was light on flavor and soft. …Mexican-style egg dishes were more satisfying. Huevos rancheros ($6.49) at El Mariachi featured two sunny-side-up eggs staring up from perches on house-made tortillas, coated with a warm, tongue-tingling red-chile sauce. … Over at El Molcajete, huevos divorciados ($6.50) hit the spot. Suiting the tongue-in-cheek moniker, two over-easy eggs glared angrily at each other from beneath competing spicy green and red salsas."Smiling and attentive service" gets a $6 tip at El Mariachi, while "patient and mostly bilingual service" earns $4 at El Molcajete. And with that, Brave Sir Robin is off to his next restaurant meal, which Eater imagines might go something like this: