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Breakfast of Champions: Barbacoa Soup

Barbacoa soup belongs in the family of menudo, posole and caldo de res. It's a weekend breakfast soup eaten with a squeeze of lime, chopped onions and cilantro and a stack of tortillas. If you like barbacoa, this stuff will knock your socks off. I had my first bowl last Saturday morning.

The morning started early at my mechanic Victor's shop. He had his head under the hood of my car looking for a leaky air hose. Neither of us had had any breakfast, and we started talking about barbacoa. I asked him if he had ever eaten barbacoa at Gerardo's on Patton. He said he hadn't.

Then he asked me, "Have you ever had barbacoa soup? I told him I had never even heard of barbacoa soup. He described it as the broth from cooking barbacoa with chiles, vegetables and big pieces of cheek meat in it. By the time he had finished describing it, I already knew I had to have some.

When I asked him where to find it, he said at the taqueria in the flea market on Airline called De Buey Y Vaca. ("Buey y vaca" means "ox and cow," or "steer and cow.") I had heard a lot about the amazing food stalls and restaurants at the giant flea market on north Airline on weekend mornings. So I went over and checked it out. I ate a dozen interesting offerings from the stalls up there and barely scratched the surface.

But barbacoa soup was a real discovery for me. Anybody know where else I can find a good bowl?

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