Tongue In My Gorditas: Weekend Treats At La Unica

I needed this quiet weekend at home. 
Our weekend travels, increasingly fatiguing job, and simultaneous rate at which I have been pushing myself to creatively write and cook are starting to slow me down.  
In the past, I have enjoyed a uncannily high success rate of nailing recipes on the first try, even while cooking without recipes.  The last two weeks have brought me more homemade food fail than wins.  One pasta dish was so horrible that I have to suppress my gag reflex every time I think about it.  
I’m left pondering my losing streak.  It’s time to find more balance, use my energy and time wisely, and continue to be inspired.  Food has always been my first love and I find myself in an existential crisis between desire and practicality.  I’m left wrestling with myself.  My goals, abilities, weaknesses, and resources, reaching for a future involving more of what I love.  Food and storytelling. 
Wish me all of the luck and courage you can spare.
On Saturday morning, I stopped by La Unica in Moorhead, MN for their ethereal flour tortillas.  La Unica’s bags of corn tortillas seem to be sourced from the Twin Cities, but their flour tortillas are house made and preservative-free.  They’re delicate and more akin to lefse.  Delicious, simply gridded and brushed with butter.  
When I last visited La Unica in the spring, they were selling barbacoa beef cheek meat by the pint on Saturdays.  Now, they serve breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings until 1 p.m.  The tiny shop smelled fragrant with food and I noticed a steady stream of individuals picking up takeout containers.
Whenever you smell food at small markets, I suggest you always inquire.  
To order hot food, customers must fill out a small ordering form located by the kitchen door.  La Unica offers a selection of tacos, gorditas, huevos rancheros, and menudo.  Platters of food are also available along with a small selection of desserts which weren’t available this weekend.  
On Saturday, the woman at the register assisted me by translating the gordita fillings.  She lit up as she described the pork and green chili option, so I placed my order.  
The gordita was neatly packed in wax paper and wrapped in plastic.  Before I reached home, I ate half of the gordita and stopped myself.  The split corn cake cradled tender pieces of pork slicked in a spicy green sauce.  It was so tasty that I wanted to save some for Jake to taste.  
On Sunday morning, I returned for more gorditas and the shop was even busier than the day before.  This time, I bought one filled with beans and cheese, another with lengua (tongue).  
A young woman neatly packed up my order, instructing me to put the pico mixture on the tongue gordita.  

The bean and cheese gordita was ooey-gooey goodness.  
The lengua meat was was as tender and beefy as pot roast.  I removed some of the fattier bits and gave half to Jake without telling him it was made of tongue.  He polished it off with compliments. 
I added the pico to both gorditas along with a needed sprinkle of salt and spritz of lime.
The gorditas cost $3.50 or $3.75 depending on the variety.  For a small stomach like mine, one is hearty enough for a light meal.  I look forward to returning to La Unica to try more from their breakfast menu.  This girl likes her weekend grocery shopping snack breaks.  Especially when they’re as refreshing as finding gorditas in Moorhead.  
La Unica
2615 12th Ave S
Moorhead, MN 56560


  1. Chao

    Did you ever tell Jake what he ate, or will he find out when he reads this? Just curious…

  2. Jen

    I told him after he ate the whole thing. Mean, I know, but tongue tastes exactly like potroast!

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