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McALLEN — I have been slighted.
A few weeks ago, I was given the choice of doing a review of either caldo or pan dulce. I love both, but my heart was set on caldo. I was told that the caldo review was mine.
Then I took a vacation. My girlfriend and I drove to Abiquiu, New Mexico. We spent a week in the mountains. We went to sleep every night with the Milky Way visible from our bedroom window and awoke every morning to the enchanting landscape that inspired the famous painter Georgia O’Keeffe. We tried delicious green chili-filled New Mexican food, drank local craft beers as we enjoyed the warmth, crackling and intoxicating smell of burning piñon, and did more hiking than we’ve ever done in our lives.
And yet, throughout this entire religious experience, I had caldo on my mind.
Upon my return, refreshed and inspired, I learned that the other guy who does what I do had already written a review of caldo. While I’m sure his review is fine, I couldn’t help but feel the wind taken out of my sails.
With disappointment settling in, my girlfriend offered an idea. “Why don’t you review La Estacion?” she asked, a favorite location of ours. She’s so smart and beautiful.
La Estacion has locations in Mission and McAllen. They also offer one of our favorite desserts, Concha Caliente con Crema — a large, warm sweet bread sliced in half and filled with sweet, cheesy cream that oozes out into a puddle on the plate.
Like Georgia O’Keeffe walking her beloved Ghost Ranch, I felt inspired once again.
We both ordered café lecheros to start off. A cart was wheeled to our table with glasses filled with homemade espresso and a steel kettle filled with steamed milk. The waiter poured the milk into the glass and slowly drew the kettle higher, causing milk to foam as it mixed into the espresso.
As we sipped our steaming hot and creamy coffee, we considered what should preface the delicious concha.
For a moment, I’m tempted to order the caldo tlalpeño, a chicken soup that is served with chipotle peppers, rice, carrots, bell peppers, avocado and cheese, just to spite the powers that be who took this moment from me. But I must keep my eyes on the prize.
Plus, I’m much more in the mood for some breakfast. Like a lion gazing across the open savanna for its prey, I studied the menu intensely. It didn’t take long for me to find exactly what I was looking for, the Lion Breakfast — two scrambled eggs served with chopped bacon, ham, and chopped sausage links mixed in and American cheese melted on top. The meal comes with hash browns and two buttermilk pancakes.
My girlfriend ordered the Light Omelette that has three egg whites mixed with chopped tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and sliced mushrooms with bits of panela cheese crumbled on top. She ate the whole thing, but said it needed more seasoning. The plate also comes with hash browns and some thick slices of soft, slightly sweetened wheat toast.
After we finished our meals, the Concha Caliente con Crema was brought to our table. Any fullness we might have felt immediately dissipated at the sight of the crema oozing out of the still steaming concha.
The bread was sweet, fluffy and delicate, and the chocolate, shell-like topping was slightly crunchy and perfectly sweetened. The crema was rich, smooth, and perfectly complemented the flaky bread. Needless to say, it was a work of art.
I suppose I’m not upset anymore.
La Estacion Bakery is located at 7501 North 10th St., Suite 20, in McAllen and 2534 E. Griffin Parkway in Mission.