Off the Beaten Path: Pancita de Res from Taqueria Coatzingo in Queens

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Photograph from ext212 on Flickr

I’ve been known to eat tacos standing up at one of the numerous trucks and carts that line Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, but my go-to spot for Mexican food in Queens is Taqueria Coatzingo. For one thing they have beer and the jukebox is usually blaring at top volume. Years of painstaking research indicate that these two criteria are usually good indicators of a quality taqueria. And the tacos at Coatzingo are so good—particularly the chivo, or goat, and al pastor, the gyro style roast pork—that I’ve only recently begun to explore the rest of the menu. Lately I’ve been dipping into the soups. And if the recent cold snap is any indication of the way this winter’s going, I’ll be having more of them.

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In my ongoing efforts to expand my offal eating, I recently tried Coatzingo’s pancita de res, or beef tripe soup. A friend had been raving about it to me for months. I’m glad I took his advice. The bowl of fiery red broth comes to the table brimming with tons of tripe. The aroma was just a tad funky, so I doctored the soup up with a generous squeeze of lime, a handful of chopped onions and some cilantro. It was some of the meatiest and tastiest tripe I’ve had. I’m no expert on bovine anatomy, but I’m pretty sure there was more than one type of beef tripe in that bowl. Don’t be put off by the color of this soup; it is by no means as spicy as it looks. All in all, not a bad deal for $5.95, and it goes a long way toward staving off the chill of winter.

Taqueria Coatzingo

76-05 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights NY 11372 (map) 718-424-1977