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About caldo.

November 2, 2010

So there’s this thing called caldo. It’s a Mexican soup of sorts, and it can be made with beef (caldo de res) or chicken (caldo de pollo). My mom used to make it for us, and it was one of my favorite things. It’s just soup – I think my mom often used chicken on the bone or chunks of beef, plus potatoes and carrots and tomatoes and mixed vegetables and sometimes cabbage and other magical things. It’s so very good.

I remember going to my aunt’s house once when I was little, and we had caldo for lunch. But her caldo was completely different from my mom’s. It tasted different, and she used whole chunks of corn on the cob, and huge chunks of potato and carrot. Of course I ate it, but it just wasn’t my mama’s caldo. (Although I do remember that she also made quesadillas, and she used corn tortillas and asadero cheese, and they were the best quesadillas I had ever had. Note to self: buy asadero cheese.)

Then I went away to college and there was no more caldo. Until I found this tiny restaurant called Garcia’s, and on Saturdays and Sundays they would serve caldo de res. And it tasted a lot like my mom’s. So just about every weekend, Justin and I went to Garcia’s for brunch, and I would eat caldo and he would eat everything else on the menu.

And then we moved to Austin, and there was no more caldo. I’ve tried to make it a few times, but it just doesn’t taste like my mom’s. (Why is that? No matter how I try, my food just doesn’t taste as good as my mom’s.) And then I found Joe’s Bakery. And life was complete again.

Joe’s has lots of great stuff. They have down-home Tex-Mex food, and homemade flour tortillas, and really good refried beans and rice. They have a bakery case full of pan dulce and pink party cake and marranitos. They have a jukebox with old Tejano tunes, and waitstaff who will come to your table and sing Las Manañitas on your birthday. And they have caldo de res, EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK. It usually tastes like my mom’s (one time there wasn’t enough salt, but I let it slide). The only problem is that they use whole chunks of corn on the cob, which just isn’t right. But! Other than that, it’s really good caldo.

That’s really all, I just wanted to talk about caldo. :) Happy Tuesday, internets.

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8 Discussion to this post
  1. Flavia says:

    some things, i think, are special because they’re made by someone else. cooked by someone else for us.
    how many times i’ve tried to make brigadeiro (which is ridiculously easy – http://adventuresinnorahland.blogspot.com/2009/06/ffnl-brigadeiro.html) like my mom! one time i even had her by my side, measuring the ingredients by herself, all the brands that she normally uses, and me only mixing and cooking it. it never, ever turned out like hers!
    to this day, if i want to have my mom’s brigadeiro, i have to go to her.
    beautiful little post, crystal. it’s pretty cold here and we’ll probably be having caldo one of these evenings (not your mom’s caldo, but still…) ;)x

    • Crystal says:

      That’s true! Sandwiches and salads in particular are always better when someone else makes them for you. And pretty much anything my mom makes is better than what I can make. :)

  2. Wei-Wei says:

    Such nostalgia… I need to learn my mom’s cooking, fast, before I don’t get a chance. Chicken pie and minestrone, to be precise. Oh, and marinated beef which she cooks and then slices thin. Amazing. Caldo sounds amazing!

    Oh… and it’s rare I see a photo of you eating. It’s a nice change :]

  3. Nicole says:

    My mom’s cooking is sadly nothing great. I grew up Mormon and the oldest of 8 kids, so most meals were giant casseroles with low-quality ingredients. The things I remember growing up are all foods that frankly sound pretty gross now…things like “tuna casserole”, which is egg noodles, canned tuna, cream of mushroom soup, and crumbled potato chips on top, baked in the oven. I remember my mom would make it as a late-night treat for her and my dad and for me and my brother. None of the little kids got any because they were always in bed. I’m nostalgic about it, but I think if I ate it now, I’d think it was pretty gross.

    Have you tried the caldo at Habanero’s? It’s so delish! They only have it on Saturdays and Sundays, but Darius and I love to eat it for Sunday breakfast.

    • Crystal says:

      I love that you guys both commented about Habaneros! I’ll definitely have to try their caldo soon. You know what’s funny? I was thinking I wanted to make tuna casserole soon. I’ve never had it with potato chips on top, but I used to make a version with lots of broccoli and cauliflower. I wonder where that recipe went?

  4. Darius says:

    Thanks for sharing. The only caldo de res I’ve ever had is from Habenero’s off Oltorf, which is by far my favorite breakfast meal of all time. Since I didn’t eat it growing up, not sure how it stacks up against your mom’s or Joe’s though. Unfortunately they have corn on the cob in theirs…

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