A real Mexican restaurant, Gorditas Aguascalientes

The quail were flattened and overdone, the nopalitos salty and canned, the menudo lacked oregano, the fajitas were predictable. So why did I love my dinner at Gorditas Aguascalientes? It shined with Mexican nostalgia, from the wall decorations, the chocolate stirrers, the large clay bowls, the glossy tiles, the posters, the 50 pound bag of carrots, even the woman taking your money from a special booth. And I was dining with my husband and my youngest son, always a pleasure.

The rest of the meal was delicious. The charro beans were smoky and brothy, the pico de gallo well-balanced, the menudo delicious, with a side plate of lime, dried red peppers, fresh chopped jalapeños, onions, and cilantro. The agua de tamarindo was good, so thick it needed to be drunk with a straw since the tamarindo settled. The gorditas and tortillas were fresh, aromatic with the rich, seductive smell of corn. Who would ever order flour tortillas?

I don’t think I’ve ever been to Aguascalientes, but I’ve probably driven through. It can’t be too different from other central Mexican towns. I would love to go there and eat gorditas in the zocalo, check out the hot baths, if they are still there, figure out what day is market day. I wonder how many others in the place were from the area, or even from Mexico since this part of Bissonnett is largely Central American?

I’ll go back, get the pozole, try some other gorditas, and the agua de jamaica. I hope I can convince my husband!

But what you want to know is was it better than Stella Sole? Yes, in a way, with honest, earthy yet aromatic food. It was about a quarter the cost -$37 before tip for three. And it certainly gave us a window on another culture. But I would have to admit there was something fun and different about the decadent frosting that got served up at Stella Sole. Good, but not something I would indulge in right after Thanksgiving.

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Gorditas Aguascalientes was packed even before 6 PM on a Sunday.

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Lots of kids

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We got a nice little bowl of pickled carrots, onion, and celery along with the chips and salsa.

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The sides to the quail were great!

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I thought the quail were a little dry.

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The menudo was tasty.

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Are these gorditas or huaraches?

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We’ll be back!

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About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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