El Rodeo de Jalisco


101 Old Robbstown Road, Corpus Christi, TX

I drive a city bus for a living. One of the main routes I drive is the #12 Hillcrest Saxet Oak Park. After passing by Driscoll Middle School on my way outbound I make a right turn on Russell, and there’s a restaurant I’ve been to before right at the turn. This location has been a dozen different taquerias. You may remember it at El Lucero or Chacho’s. It has most recently been occupied by the crew that used to operate out of their location on Staples. The signs are painted very badly, but the food was excellent. The tortillas, on this visit, were some of the best I’ve had. Soft, hot, and fresh from the placa, they were perfect. I ordered a barbacoa taquito, and a chorizo and egg. The barbacoa was great, tender and consistently tasty. It sat on a homemade corn tortilla with onions and cilantro on the side, and a pile of finely chopped fat right in the middle. The C&E was also quite good. The salsa was a jalapeño salsa with some avocado, and was hot and flavorful. My server was on her phone, but this in no way hindered her as she asked my order in Spanish, and took it down as I responded in English.


After breakfast I drove around Hillcrest. It’s a neighborhood that was once a thriving area with stately houses next to more utilitarian dwellings. It was a neighborhood of colorLenders of the day provided mortgages to Blacks and Mexicans here who could not legally own homes in other parts of town. When Highway 37 was put in, it further isolated the neighborhood. Then refineries bought up huge swaths of land and bulldozed down the houses to make buffer zones, but this didn’t prevent an 80% higher rate of birth defects in the surrounding area. We don’t know how much of the toxic chemicals in the soil came from the adjacent refineries, but we do know they stored oil illegally in uncovered tanks for a decade. There are also elevated rates of cancer, immune-deficiency disorders, and reproductive system problems leading to hysterectomies in the community.

Now, to add insult to a long series of injuries, the new harbor bridge will be routed right through the middle of this neighborhood. This means more eminent domain, more displacement, more of the shit end of the stick. I realize this is the logical place for the bridge to go. I know the bridge will help the city, will provide jobs, tourism, access by larger vessels to the port. It will be a net benefit, but a huge loss to an already demoralized and broken piece of the city. It will be a loss that is, naturally, going to be carried on the backs of minorities.

I’m sorry to bring up something so serious in this forum which is totally flippant and insignificant. I don’t mean to diminish the importance of these issues, but this is my forum. This is where I say what I think, if only to myself. Hillcrest is a tragedy and a travesty. There’s no real way to un-fuck it. To the extent that I can, I apologize to its residents on behalf of my city. The Koch brothers should do the same – and they have more to apologize for, and the means to do so.

For more information on the defilement of Hillcrest, check out the Texas Observer, also their article on the Koch’s. Great info is also available at the TexasHousers.net blog, and thanks to Suzie Canales for being a tough broad. Below are photos of the neighborhood for you viewing enjoyment.

Julio’s Easy Stop – Like a Sunday Morning


5945 Greenwood Drive
Corpus Christi, TX 78417

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.