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Amazing Menudo at Pico's Mex-Mex

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Pico's Mex-Mex in Bellaire sure knows how to throw a hell of an anniversary party. This past Sunday, the beloved Mexican restaurant celebrated 26 years in business by setting up tents and chafing dishes outside and serving at least 100 different classic Mexican dishes for brunch. The crowd of people ebbed and flowed from 11 a.m. until the last tamale was served at 3 p.m., loading their plates with Mexican breakfast specialties like nopales and eggs, munching contentedly on fresh churros, sampling tequilas and washing it all down with various aguas frescas.

Chef and owner Arnaldo Richards oversaw the affair -- which started a bit later than planned -- in his trademark flame-red chef's jacket, making sure everything was served correctly for what was, essentially, as much a showcase of his catering prowess as it was an anniversary celebration. Although the event was tumultuous at the start, as many of the servers were as clueless as the guests about what was being served, the afternoon settled into a rowdy and happy time once the bottomless mimosas began working their magic and people finally figured out what they were eating.

And of all the many dishes served that day, it turns out that a simple classic was the best of the afternoon.

I'd never tried Pico's menudo before. Not because I don't trust them to make good menudo, it's just that good menudo doesn't typically come from such a nice place (and Pico's is, admittedly, a much classier joint than your average taqueria). Good menudo usually comes from hole-in-the-wall places with giant, colorful murals on the walls that you hit up with a raging hangover on Saturday mornings or -- if you're lucky -- your grandma's stove.

But Pico's apparently never got that memo. So in addition to the already amazing array of dishes that are truly outstanding there -- the soft shell crab and the red snapper among them -- it looks like an unlikely addition will be made to the list. And if you're one of those unlucky people who hates menudo because you've never found a good bowl anywhere, head over to Pico's this weekend and prepare to have a new Mexican favorite.

For more photos from the brunch, head to the next page.

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