Sunday, December 10, 2006


Freedom and migas for all


I had my heart set on trying the Korean place I just heard about. For 8 months I've been trying to find a Korean joint in this town. The closest I came was a place I'd heard rumours about near the doctor's office. But when I checked it out, I discovered it was really a Chinese place that happened to have bulgogi on the menu. Not gonna happen for this buckaroo. It's gotta be the all-Korean-all-the-time station or I don't tune in. I want 15 little bowls scattered around the table with half-a-dozen kinds of kimchee and things I don't recognize and can't pronounce. I want kalbi cut the right way sizzling right in front of me with whole garlic cloves. I want to be the only guy in the place with a last name longer than one syllable.

But The Woman insisted that The House Guest should experience authentic Tex-Mex, which, unlike Korean, is not in ready supply in Honolulu. We'd already done Cajun at The Cypress Grill and steaks at the Texas Roadhouse and they had both shopped and dropped at the outlet malls in San Marcos. Now they were tired and hungry and, as usual, when it came time to declare a destination, everybody looked at me. Fortunately, The Good Daughter had tipped me off about Trudy's, so I made an executive decision. I preferred the original location by UT, what with the palms and all, but it was cold outside (a tragic state of events for a native of Honolulu) so we motored to the south Austin location, which was closer.

We got there before 7pm on a Monday evening and were seated immediately, very nice. Right next to a booth with loud, squirmy kids, not so nice. But they were done and left before we ordered, nice. But they were replaced by a couple with an even louder, squirmier kid, decidedly not nice. (For those keeping score at home, that's two nices and two naughties. And the second naughty stayed for the rest of the meal, so he's off the Xmas list this year.)

We started off with the guacamole and chips. This usually means a small mound of guacamole that you discover is mainly pico de gallo with a veneer of green stuff and everybody ends up wanting more. At Trudy's this means 4 generous scoops of quacamole, all the way through. It was almost enough to offset the curtain climber in the next booth. Almost.

The House Guest couldn't resist the green salsa, even though she's not really into the hot stuff. I have to admit it was pretty good, and hot enough to suit my taste, which means it's pretty spunky. Mixed with a big glop of guac, it was great.

I'm a chicken enchilada kind of guy, but I never even got to the enchiladas. There were too many interesting things on the menu. I went for the migas. We're talking sautéed corn tortilla strips, tomatoes, onions, jalapeño peppers, eggs and a three cheese blend. I chose the whole wheat tortilla and substituted the spicy black beans instead of the refried beans that came with it.

Gentle Reader, I have seen the light. I have learned the error of my ways. When they asked, "Which shall you order, the chicken or the egg?" I always answered, "The chicken." Wrong answer. Sure, sour-cream chicken enchiladas are good, but for full-flavored tasty goodness, the migas are absolutely unbeatable. Talk about a broad palette for the palate, there's just so much going on in there and that three-cheese blend pulls it all together into a creamy wonderfulness that almost relegates bouncing, screaming munchkins to oblivion. Almost.

In fact, as I'm typing I'm thinking, "I wonder if I can talk The Woman into Trudy's for dinner?" So what if the kids are coming over? We'll leave the door open and they can hang out until we get back. Well, maybe that won't work. I need to change the subject; those migas are getting to me.

The also came with hash browns or roasted red potatoes. I'm avoiding carbs with a high glycemic index (white bread, white rice, potatoes) so I got the hash browns for The Woman and The House Guest to share. But I did taste them before I passed them on. Mmmmm, good.

In order to experience true Tex-Mex, The House Guest got the combo plate -- an enchilada (dealer's choice of filling and sauce), with a crispy corn taco. And rice and beans, of course. The Woman got the Ciro's Special -- diced, marinated chicken fajita meat smothered in mushrooms, cilantro, onions and anahiem peppers, topped with queso, spinach, tomatoes and avocado. Dang! (She brought some home and I ate the leftovers the next day before she knew what was going on. It's definintely snooze=lose when it comes to Trudy's leftovers.)

If you're in the area, try a Trudy's, any location. I'm wondering if they're open for Christmas. Nothing like some migas to bring peace and goodwill to men, I say.


Atticus said...

Your diet sounds like mine. I recently read that "middle age is when all the bills come due", and I - sadly - understood.


I think it is pretty dastardly of you to talk about Tex-Mex when you know DARN well that there are exactly ZERO decent TexMex places in Phoenix. I am PUT OUT with you and refuse to read another restaurant review for six days.

Brad Whittington said...

True, but you do have the Pollo al Diablo at the Arriba Grille, which ain't too bad. Their pozole is pretty good, too.

And you also have The Monastery, Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen and The Duck and Decanter, so you're not hurting for great food.

Hmm, come to think of it, perhaps I should plan a trip to Phoenix to do some on-the-road reviews. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Alas, I can only vicariously particpate. Which is wierd since I can't taste a thing trying. My tongue is getting fat just reading about it, though. Can't be natural. It sounds wholly unhealthy, by the way; I'll probably love it.

-spiro (It's not so important that you succeed so much as that your friends fail.)