What in the Heck is a Comal?
Trivia time, amigos! What’s round and flat and makes the best tortillas in the world?
(Funny, but no, the answer isn’t your mom. Give us a few points for maturity
It’s the comal!
…Okay, so you might be scratching your head a little right now. What the heck is a comal?
Picture yourself in line at Cafe Rio. Better yet, get in your car and drive to the nearest location right now. You’re waiting in line….You see puffs of flour flying in the air….A roasted, nutty smell wafting all around you….You turn the corner and BAM! There it is. A beacon to the purest, most awesome sight you’ve ever seen. That, mi amigos, is the Comal.
The big, black, flat spinning dial is one of the secrets that makes our tortillas so irresistibly, mouth-wateringly delicious.
It all started with the Aztecs, who used comals to prepare tortillas and roast cocoa and coffee beans over the fire. Pure genius! So what makes a comal so awesome? Why not just use a frying pan? Because the comal has memory, amigos.
That’s right, memory, or rather flavor memory. Comals are designed to preserve the flavors from all the dishes you’ve ever cooked on it, and those flavors pass to whatever you’re cooking next, and so on and so forth. The more you use a comal, the more flavor it has to give.
That’s why the older a comal gets, the more valuable it actually becomes (just like a good, stinky cheese), and why in traditional Mexican culture, it’s passed from mother to daughter (unlike a good, stinky cheese).
Comal cookware comes in various shapes and sizes, at Cafe Rio however, we use the Hummer of all Comals. Ours are massive because we have so many mouths to feed (when we say “small army,” we aren’t exaggerating). We roll 64,000 tortillas a day, and in one year, we will cook 23,040,000 tortillas. 23 million! That’s a lot of mouths to feed amigos, so yeah, our Comals are massive!
So if you think about it, every time you’re eating one of our tortillas, you’re not just eating that tortilla, but you’re eating its grandfather and great-grandfather and great-great grandfather.
Trippy, huh? You should probably sit down a minute, clear your head, eat a tortilla. Or ten!