100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 79, Aporreado at Los Corrales

This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

Aporreado is a very popular dish in Michoacán, the southwestern Mexican state that borders the Pacific Ocean. But you just don't find it often here in Houston, despite the many Michoacanos in the city, and despite its many charms. In Michoacán, aporreado is a common breakfast dish, in which machaca -- dried, shredded beef -- is mixed up with scrambled eggs and served under a warm blanket of spicy tomato-chile sauce. One local place that does offer the dish is Los Corrales.

This tiny East End restaurant with all of four tables inside (and a couple out front if you don't mind the lack of shade) isn't really a restaurant, per se: It's more of a canteen attached to a large factory that processes and sells machaca throughout Houston, the same machaca that is used in aporreado and a host of other famous Mexican dishes, like the beloved breakfast dish machacado con huevo.

The aporreado here is tame, much tamer than you'd find back in Mexico, but very good nevertheless. A plate of it comes with rice, beans and house-made tortillas so thick with lard they stiffen up at the first sign of a cool breeze. The beans are lard-laced, too, a rarity in Tex-Mex restaurants now, and they're sweeter for it. Instead of the overly fatty, porky flavor that can often weigh down lard-saturated refried beans, Los Corrales takes a lighter touch: The result is just a hint of heady pig fat that blooms softly and subtly as you spread the beans across a hot tortilla, then top it with a few spoonfuls of the chile-drenched machaca and eggs.

Taken with a cup of Los Corrales' diner-style coffee, it's a blissfully Tex-Mex way to start your day -- and don't forget to grab some of the restaurant's freshly made tortillas on your way out.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F. No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar

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Katharine Shilcutt