Julio’s Easy Stop – Like a Sunday Morning

JuliosExterior

5945 Greenwood Drive
Corpus Christi, TX 78417
361-225-4088

You may have noticed long delays between posts in the last few years. As politicians say, I’ve had to make a change so I can spend more time with my family. I’ve also taken a job in the glamorous world of public transportation. I drive a city bus. Two (among many) things bus drivers know, it’s how to drive a bus and where to eat. Julio’s Easy Stop sits right along greenwood, passed by both the route 25 and the 19. It is personally responsible for an average 1st year weight gain of 15 lbs among rookie drivers – and the food is worth every pound.

OldSignThere is an air of contemporary South Texas to this place, with a hint of classic Tex-Mex. The relatively new steel building sits adjacent to the outgrown prior home of the restaurant, complete with some of the best hand-painted signs in the city. Even with the lots of both buildings, there’s rarely an open spot, and one often has to park on the street. Ordering takes place at the counter where you’re given cups to fill on your own before waiting for your food at one of the seldom available tables. But this is all due to the amount of business they do, and you never have to wait for long. The food is turned around quickly, and comes out fresh and hot. The employees are often heard yelling to customers and to one another over the hubbub of conversation.

JuliosTacosI’ve been here a few times; I’ve tried the burgers and the tacos. They’re all good. The tortillas are great, each time coming out hot, fresh, and just this side of charlie brown (you can order them charlie brown but there’s no need). Again, there’s a touch of old-style Tex-Mex with a touch of modern. The carne guisada tastes a bit more flavorful than seems possible – like it’s got some ‘Season-All’ or other MSG enhancement in it. The Chorizo and Egg is great. The salsa is top notch, and quite hot. The coffee is fair as is most taqueria coffee in Corpus Christi.

If you find yourself out this way, you could do worse for a good meal – and you’d have a hard time finding better.

Our Taco Award Winner is:

SarahSilvermanTacoAwardWinnerSarah Silverman

She st

Doing standup to a Boston audience at 17, this bawdy jewess was a whiz kid, working for SNL when she was 23. She is as beautiful as ever today at 45. She is fearless, outspoken, and well rounded, having written a book, been nominated for a Grammy, and won an Emmy. She’s been dating Michael Sheen with whom she co-starred in Masters of Sex, but her romantic pairing on that show was with the fine and fierce Annaleigh Ashford. She’s an open atheist and is quite politically incorrect – treading upon the border between racial discussion and ethnic slur. She’s a vegetarian, a teetotaler, and I’d argue a serious actress with her parts in I Smile Back and Sarah Polley’s wonderful Take This Waltz, which are both roles an actor managed by fear or vanity would recoil from.

Offer includes 2 tacos, an audience with the ‘tacoteurs,’ and a free tacotopia t-shirt. Please redeem this offer on a Friday morning of your choice. Offer subject to cancellation by order of the wives of the tacoteurs. Enter to win by emailing your name on the back of the June 2007 issue of Maxim Magazine to tacos@tacotopia.net.

 

Hermanos Solis 5 – For Real

Hermanos-Solis-5-ExteriorHermanos Solis #5
2754 Port Ave • Corpus Christi, Texas

When I was a teenager in high school I liked punk rock. The lessons I learned from it have profoundly changed the way I’ve viewed the world ever since. I have less respect for authority and for tradition than I might otherwise. I’m a big believer in D.I.Y. I would rather spend an evening with someone who looks like Nina Hagen or Joan Jett than the girl next door. And perhaps the most important thing I learned from Punk Rock – is don’t lie about who you are. Don’t be a ‘fake-punk,’ a ‘poseur.’ The way it worked is as follows: I could wear punk rock clothes, the accepted uniform, complete with safety pins, torn clothes, band logos, and completely punk rock hairstyle and piercings. I was not, hovever, under any circumstances to say I was punk. If asked I could say I liked punk rock, but to be punk rock was to be completely nihilistic; to believe in nothing. If you believe in nothing, nothing can bother you – you’ve already reached an anti-nirvana. This is, like nirvana, an unattainable state. This is why the most punk rock people around died horrible deaths – Sid Vicous, G. G. Allin (do not google GG Allin). Everyone else was fake, or were doing something other than punk rock. Most of the best of the punk bands just said they were making rock and roll. If you listen to the Ramones they sound a lot like Jan and Dean or early Beach Boys. The Dead Kennedies were closer to the politics of folk music than to the nihilism of punk, even if they were treated like pariahs by the hippies of their native San Francisco. The Clash made music that was too polished and sophisticated to be punk rock. In the end, there were few bands a purist could consider real punk. The Sex Pistols were in that sweet spot, which is why they self destructed so spectacularly.

In the real world we all have our public face, and our true selves, and the two are almost always some distance from one another. I liked PIL and the Circle Jerks in high school, but I also secretly listened to James Taylor and Simon & Garfunkle, or (gasp) Fleetwood Mac. I liked Hall & Oates, then and now, and the rest of the world has come around to them it seems after casting them out into the wasteland of ‘uncool’. I haven’t had a mohawk in 15 years, but I still automatically dislike anything that is described with the words ‘traditional,’ ‘heritage,’ ‘mainsteam,’ ‘corporate,’ and ‘commercial,’ even though I have moved on intellectually. I’m old enough now to care very little about what people think of me but I care very much about how I think of myself. I aspire to be someone who is not selfish, who does good, who makes the world a better place, and who lives by a code instead of constantly reacting to the next thing I encounter. I shamelessly listen to Level 42 and the Melvins one after the other, with a Cocteau Twins chaser. That’s right, I like all kinds of ridiculous music. I’m not ashamed of it, well, not very.

What does that have to do with tacos? Nothing. Usually I’ll chime in at this point with some tenuous segue and tie the topic of my intro very loosely to the details of the taqueria in question. I’m not going to do that today. Suffice it to say – this blog is a personal journal in a restaurant reviewer’s clothing. Today I’m not event going to put on the costume.

Here’s the review:

Hermanos Solis #5 is on Port, and has taken up residence in what may be one of those doomed locations where successive businesses open and close with none taking root. See this post for one of the prior incarnations. I hope they can put an end to this because they are really good.

I saw them while driving a bus down Port for my new job. The gorgeous hand-painted signage announced the place like herald angels.

Without prompting I was delivered chips and red salsa. The salsa was good, the chips fresh – both flour and corn. Then with my tacos two more salsas showed up. The green was a jalapeño salsa, and the third was another red salsa – a chile based salsa with a red oily finish, and very hot. The tortillas were big and good. I’ve had them here before where they were so fresh that they felt like a loaf of bread out of the oven that’s too hot to eat withouth crushing and deforming it. These were not quite like that. They were a little charlie brown. Bigger than average, they were still quite fresh and very hot. The chorizo and egg was good, and very fresh. The carne guisada was filled with big tender chunks of nice marbled beef and a straight up beef gravy with a hint of black pepper. Upon eating with the salsas employed on the tacos it there was so much heat it was hard to tell what was temperature and what was pica. My nose was running. The tacos were juicy enough that I had to use 6 napkins to make it through the two tacos, and my cuticles were burning from hot salsa soaking my fingertips. The service was professional, and the coffee was hot and quickly refilled.

Our Taco Award Winner for this week is:

Amy Schumer

Amy-Schumer-Wins-Taco-AwardAmy Schumer (pictured right) has bigger balls than just about any comedian out there. She takes the half-hour one-man sketch comedy show format to places no other show can, through sheer strength of personality. Skewering chauvinism and feminism alike, she spares no one, especially herself, from her pointed jabs. Her 12 Angry Men in Amy Schumer parody is a masterpiece.

Offer includes 2 tacos, an audience with the ‘tacoteurs,’ and a free tacotopia t-shirt. Please redeem this offer on a Friday morning of your choice. Offer subject to cancellation by order of the wives of the tacoteurs. Enter to win by emailing your name on the back of some ‘Milk Milk Lemonade’ fudge to tacos@tacotopia.net.

 

Chipotle – Perfectly Bad

Chipotle-Exterior

4938 S Staples St • Corpus Christi, TX 78411 • (361) 985-0398

Corpus, a city ignored by the culture of US pop culture, has not been ignored by chain restaurants. In that department we’re blessed (or cursed) to host all but a few of the flavorless feed-troughs that spring up in every crappy shopping center across the USA with a few notable exceptions. No Papasitos. No White Castle. And until recently, no Chipotle. For years now, there’s been one big name looming over the taco world. No, not taco bell – they are really their own genre and should not enter into the debate over best tacos. That name is Chipotle. I can end the suspense. I’ve now eaten there, and I am saying, unequivocally, they suck.

Chipotle-TacosI entered with an open mind, but I threw a monkey wrench into the gears of progress and stopped the common feeder line when I asked the disinterested factor worker behind the counter if the tortillas were made in-house. ‘Nope.’

“Do you know where they’re shipped from?” I asked. After some annoyance and a lot of passing the question up the chain of command a yell came from the back of the kitchen. “Irving.” Then the slack jawed hipster in front of me adds “but they’re GMO free.” But they ought to be free free, because they taste like shit. I got the minimum order of tacos, which is three. Pricewise they’re in the same range as local taquerias, squarely in the $7-8 neighborhood for three tacos. I ordered 1 carnitas, one barbacoa, and one asada. It’s one of those situations where you have to specify what combination of add-ons the tacos will receive or they can’t make them. I attribute this to a lack of imagination, but whatever the case the feed-line ground to a halt again as I argued with the new schmuck manning a… (salad bar?). The carnitas tasted like shit. The barbacoa tasted like shit. And the asada might have actually been shit. The salsa was good though, and the salt was GMO free.

I went to the bathroom to wash the dripping from my tacos that were breaking down at an alarming rate off my hands. There was a spray of shit in the uncleaned toilet, the sink didn’t work (but the soap did) and there were no paper towels. I walked away from this taco-pocalypse with a burning combination of soap and salsa on my unwashed hands. Fuck this place.

 

 

Our Taco Award Winner for this week is:

Morgan Fairchild

Known for a string of less than stellar movies and for being really hot in the 80’s, Morgan Fairchild is still hot, and probably will be into her 80’s. Just ask P.W. (James Brolin) from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. This is her 2 years ago at 62.

Offer includes 2 tacos, an audience with the ‘tacoteurs,’ and a free tacotopia t-shirt. Please redeem this offer at Whetstone Graphics on a Friday morning of your choice. Offer subject to cancellation by order of the wives of the tacoteurs. Enter to win by emailing us at tacos@tacotopia.net.