Grilled Cheese Egg-in-a-Hole

This is one of those things that I only eat when I am alone, usually with a starched white napkin draped over my head in the style of ortolan-eating.  The attire is based on what I imagine to be similar emotional responses of gluttony, glee, and shame.  You can have your tiny roasted songbirds, I am going for this grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with a fried egg in the center.

Growing up, the egg-in-a-hole was a favorite weekend breakfast, and the grilled cheese was a weekday staple.  It wasn't until I became a decadent adult that I figured out that these two foods could be combined into one gloriously goopy whole.  You really have to try this.  The concept is simple--slap a couple of pieces of cheese between two slices of bread (American cheese is the most authentic, and really, we are not trying to impress anyone with this dish). Use any kind of bread that you like, but it should be large enough to accommodate that egg.  Use a glass with a thin edge or a biscuit cutter to cut a circle out of the center of the sandwich.  Butter up a skillet and place your dismembered sandwich in there.

Heat this over medium-high until it is just starting to brown, and then crack a large egg into that hole.  Let the egg firm up on the skillet-side and then carefully flip that whole thing over.  Flip over that little round grilled cheese at the same time.  Add salt and pepper, as desired.

Finish browning the sandwich on the other side then scoop it all out onto your plate.  Dip that baby sandwich into the runny egg yolk and tell me that this isn't a great idea.

It is SO GOOD. Just wear the napkin, and no one will ever know your secret shame. 


The Rough Beauty of Marco's Tacos

When I moved to Colorado I was expecting a bounty of great Mexican food--you know, it being the West and all, and sort-of the Southwest.  However, for the first few years here I lived in Boulder.  Boulder has many, many charms, as well as more than its fair share of great food, but it is not the best place to find good Mexican food.  If you are looking for great Mexican food (especially street food) you need to head to Longmont.  For great little offal tacos you can go to Las Palmeras (the tiny one on Francis street, not the larger, sister-restaurant on Main), or you can pick up some warm tortillas from Las Americas Tortilleria and make your own--and if they have churros on the counter, be sure to grab a couple for dessert.  If you don't want to bother to get out of the car to interact with other humans, you can even get a good drive-through lengua taco at the definitely-not-a-chain Taco Star on Main.  The best tacos, however, at to be found at Marco's Tacos, a concrete-enclosed set of hot dog carts located a little bit east of Main street, on 1647 Kimbark.

Over the years I have watched as Marco's literally has built up walls around those two hot dog carts, slowly creating something closer and closer to a brick-and-mortar restaurant.  On cold winter days there would often be a plastic sheet blocking the wind on one side, and on really cold days they just close up shop.  When they are open, they are hopping with business. Marcos has a really short menu--tacos, which you can order wrapped up in one or two griddled corn tortillas, or bacon-wrapped Sonoran hot dogs, which you can now also purchase as a Burro Dog.  The tacos are all made strictly with griddled beef (this is not a vegetarian-friendly place) and you then add on your own favorite toppings from the little cold stand set up between the carts.  There is always fresh pico de gallo, chopped onion and finely chopped fresh cucumber, wedges of lime, and chopped fresh cilantro.  You can also add on pickled jalapeno slices or a thin, fruity and fiery salsa.  My favorite topping is pictured below; roasted whole jalapenos, submerged in a murky, vaguely oil-slicked pool of peppery goodness.  I generally pack a couple of these up on the side.

On our last visit we decided to try the new menu item, the Burro Dog.  The Sonoran hot dog is a bacon-wrapped dog cooked in a tasty slick of bacon grease, loaded into a bun with beans, cheese, ketchup, mustard, and mayo.  The Burro Dog is a version of this that is loaded into a warm, flour tortilla.  I added jalapenos on top before it was precisely rolled up and served wrapped in foil.

We also shared some single-tortilla tacos, which we topped with salsa, cilantro, pico de gallo, onion, and lime.  No, these tacos do not come with cheese.  Classics, baby.

Marco's is really popular because the food is fresh, tasty, and inexpensive.  Even when we overdo it we never spend more than about 15 dollars for dinner for two. The bare-bones restaurant means that you have a choice of eating at one of the "standing tables" next to the carts, or while perched on the concrete ledge out front.  Because they lack a public restroom they are prohibited from having public seating.  We typically take our food home, or just down a taco or two while standing in the parking lot.  Marco's hours vary a bit according to the weather, but it is well worth a drive out to have some tasty tacos.