(PNS reporting HOUSTON) Lalo’s Cocina Bar & Grill here will be serving special New Year’s Day breakfasts to early risers going to Mass and partiers winding down from New Year’s Eve, but that’s not the whole estory.
At Lalo’s Cocina, traditional Tejas offerings like puffy breakfast tacos and huevos rancheros con hashbrowns will take a back seat to menudo. But not your father’s menudo.
Lalo’s menudo is famous for “curing crudas with chile and caffeine” because of an unconventional ingredient: Red Bull® energy drink.
“Sundays are busy, but on New Year’s Day, we have picnic tables and extra staff to handle all the gente,” explained Eduardo Danhill, who opened the cafe with his wife Rocio Balagan in 2007.
“Menudo is central in Mexican food, as we all know. I took that as a challenge — I wanted to make my menudo better. Since many of my customers come for menudo to get rid of their hangovers, I thought Red Bull® would give them an extra kick to jump estart their day,” Danhill said.
In the five years since Danhill first served Red Bull® menudo, it has become the cafe’s most popular breakfast dish.
Customers regularly wait up to an hour to get their “menudo fix”.
“I was here the weekend when they put it on the menu. I was very crudo. After a big bowl, I was ready to to enjoy a full day of English Premier League football,” cafe regular Lupita Rogers told PNS. “If people are willing to wait at Starbucks for mediocre coffee, I’m willing to wait for Lalo’s tender honeycomb tripa stewed in Red Bull®’s signature jarabe de tos flavor. Mmmmm, it’s fantastic.”
The cafe expects to serve 300 bowls on New Year’s Day, which is 150 bowls more than on a typical Sunday.
The popularity of Red Bull® menudo has inspired challenges from the neighboring Mexican restaurants.
Los Gallegos’ down the street features menudo infused with Mexican boxer Julio César Chávez’s energy drink “Energia de Campeones.”
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La Reina’s Cafe around the corner has cocaine menudo, which is made with “Cocaine Energy,” an energy drink that boasts “750 ml of taurine.”
But local resident Danny Saenz is not a fan:
I’ve tried the other menudos, but I like the original. The taste quality is better. The kick is better. Red Bull® menudo is the 180-gram vinyl of the energy drink menudos.
Danhill hoped to reach out to South American drunks (like his wife) with Venezuela-styled menudo infused with “Jugo Chavez Energy Drink” but had to drop the idea when El Presidente died.
El Eres Nerd and Professor Equis contributed to this report.