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


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.

Strip Tease – Taqueria Nueva Vallarta

Strip Tease – Taqueria Nueva Vallarta

4117 S. Staples St. – Ste. 200
Corpus Christi, TX 78411
Mon. – Fri. 6:00am – 10:00pm

FullSizeRender (4)What a mess.  I don’t know about where you are right now, but the Sparkling City is a mess.  We’ve had a slow drizzle for the last couple of days and the grit and grime of the city has been uprooted from its natural place on the streets, and deposited on every surface in the city.  The muddy patina that looked so at home on my old Dodge POS, looks out-of-place on my current truck.   But at least I’m not the only dirty bird on the road.  Still, after a couple of days of muck, I’m ready for some sparkle.  And that’s just what I found.

Being in the taco-eating business, I get recommendations all the time about taco shops I should try.  Friend and taco fan, Jim always has a recommendation and has quite often proven to be in the know about new shops in town.  Most recently, he suggested Taqueria Nuevo Vallarta on Staples and I thought I’d give it a go.  The Taco Show Host was unavailable this morning, so I had asked another tacoficianado, Johnny Joe to meet me there and have breakfast.  Johnny’s a veteran of tortilla-wrapped deliciousness and has set us on to several good shops in the past.

Quite the contrast to the dismal, sloppy, mud-coated city outside, inside Nuevo Vallarta was bright and shiny.  It’s located in a strip mall in the newly renovated Parkdale plaza.  There’s not a spec of dirt anywhere in the place.  Our waitress, Nadia, told us that they had just been open for two weeks and were still working out some of the kinks.   I noticed the temporary signage on the building, but I really didn’t notice any kinks.FullSizeRender (1)

Nv. Vallarta is a full-service restaurant and while it was a bit early for me, I did notice a nice bar tucked in the corner.  The menu was varied and I jumped to the taco section expecting to find the usual fare, but to my surprise, I found more.  I ended up with a machacado con huevos a la Mexicana on a homemade corn tort and a lingua con cilantro y cebollas on flour.  Johnny ordered a carne guisada with aquacate and a chorizo, bean and egg, both on flour.

FullSizeRender (5)As we waited, we talked about old Dodges and dead hogs.  The coffee was good and kept piping hot by frequent visits from our waitress.  She brought us a couple of squirt bottles of hot sauce in preparation for our meal.  It wasn’t long before our tacos arrived and they were beauts.  The machacado taco had plenty of the carne seco.  The vegetables were fresh and the corn tortilla delicious.  It was one of those thinner, toothier torts that held up well to the overstuffed onslaught of the machacado mix.  The lengua also was good, not spectacular, but good.  The flour tortilla it was sharing space with though was primo.  I asked our server which of the sauces was the hotter of the two and she said that for her, neither.  She said she was fond of chiles.  Both sauces, red and green were rich and flavorful.  Not very hot.  But Johnny was prepared for the lack of heat, having secreted in a small jar of homemade sauce that definitely brought the heat.

We chatted with the waitress about fishing as we finished up breakfast.  I don’t know why, but I have a prejudice about strip malls.  But Taqueria Nuevo Vallarta definitely slapped that right out of my head.  Our breakfast was a total of $15 and well worth it.  I recommend checking out the joint.  I already have plans to go back for lunch or dinner and try one of the platos.


Our Taco Award Winner for this week is:

Karen Allen

Karen Allen

My first exposure to Ms Allen was in the movie Animal House.  She played the level-headed love interest of one of the Delts.  But the role that made her famous was that of Marion Ravenwood in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Her acting career spans just about 4 decades and she shows no sign of giving it up.  About here, the Taco Show Host would have a listing of media facts and double entendres, but I just don’t have the gift.  I will say though that my favorite part of the movie’s climax was not watching God have his way with the Nazis,  but the way the wind plastered her satin gown over her handsome figure.  Come on, I was 17.  As well as acting, she has her own clothing line, Karen Allen Fiber Arts, featuring handmade cashmere clothing.  Congratulations to Karen Allen, this week’s Taco Award Winner.

Offer includes 2 tacos, an audience with the ‘tacoteurs,’ and a free Tacotopia t-shirt. Taco Award winners may claim their prizes by responding on  the Tacotopia Facebook Page, or by emailing tacos@tacotopia.net.

Offer subject to cancellation by order of the wives of the tacoteurs.