Lamb steamed in banana leaves is one of life’s simple pleasures, not to mention one of Mexican food’s greatest and most satisfying dishes. This five thousand-year-old (at least) cooking technique, that usually involves hours and hours of cooking under low heat, breaks down the lamb until it falls apart under the weight of your piece of tortilla—no forks or knives should ever be required if done properly. Just ask Francisco “Paco” Perez of Aquí Es Texcoco, who has dedicated seven years to perfecting the art of cooking barbecue. Paco designed, from scratch, stainless steel ovens for his restaurant that successfully resemble the traditional underground cooking method of Barbacoa.
Specifically, Aqui Es Texcoco specializes in barbacoa cooked in the style of Hidalgo, Mexico, the southern-central state neighboring Mexico DF that is notorious for the perfection of barbacoa. On a any given weekend morning, every singe seat in the unassuming restaurant located in the Southeast Los Angeles industrial neighborhood of Commerce is full with people that come from all around the city just for a few bites of Texcoco’s namesake dish. Some order by the plate (hint: always ask for ribs as they are among the most tender cuts of the animal), but the regulars order by the pound that, of course, comes with the works—red and green salsas and tortillas.
If you have the stomach space for it or one day find yourself miraculously not craving lamb, there are wonderful mixiotes de conejo, which is essentially rabbit steamed in parchment until you guessed it—it falls apart too. Or, grilled quail marinated with dark beer.
Need we say more? See you bright and early this Saturday morning, though, they are open everyday too.