Taqueria Almeida #2 – An Upside to the Southside
Taqueria Almeida #2
2033 Airline Rd
Corpus Christi, TX 78412
Chorizo & Egg: $1.69
Carne Guisada: $2.25
Large Coffee: $1.35
As Tacotopia has grown out of its adolescence and developed into a hard working and respected blog (is there such a thing), if only in its tiny niche, it seems only fair that it should consider moving out of the smelly and violent streets of its youth into the fresh, clean and nondescript sprawl of Corpus Christi’s South Side.
Taqueria Almeida would fool you into thinking it would have food as non-descript as the ubiquitous plate glass windows of the shopping center in which it’s housed. It is not, however, without some character and heart. The big digitally produced backlit sign you see when pulling into the lot sits alongside a few hand-painted beauties. There is a drive through. There is green carpet on the walls, and lots of old-time Mexican kitsch that make you forget that you’re eating across from the Corpus Christi Athletic Club. It’s not only ironic but if you consider the full bar and the generous portions it’s a finger in the eye to the gym, and a net loss in the ledger of health for the block.
I got the usual; Coffee, Carne Guisada, Chorizo & Egg. I’m told I should get the C&E here with cheese but I opted to stick to my ‘scientific method’ (the quotes indicate more irony). The tortillas were excellent and could be a meal in themselves, especially when combined with the salsas (green and red) which are the best I’ve had in ages, except for my mother-in-law’s. They’re about the only taqueria salsa I can think of that is really hot, and good enough to make you burn your mouth using a lot of it. The Chorizo & Egg is not bad, not exceptional. The Carne Guisada is epic in it’s richness. The reddest I’ve had, and saturated with spice. And I will be wearing a path to the baño after the five cups of coffee I drank thanks to the quick action of the polite waitresses. Kevy the explorer handled the more challenging edibles on our excursion into Corpus Christi’s exterior (better than the posterior).
There’s something to be said for taking a foray from the familiar, into the foreign. It was a pleasant surprise to travel traffic-free into the heart of the Dark Side…the South Side. I usually try to stay out of the Southern part of town. It’s like a poor copy of the ugliness that is Katy, or Sugarland. Sprawling, congested, a collection of strip malls and cookie-cutter houses with no character. Thankfully, there is taco…
On the plate today was the taco version of surf-n-turf. I ordered up a mollejas on corn, and a fish taco on flour. Fish tacos are one of my favorite breakfasts. Today’s version of the dish didn’t stand up to my fish taco standards. The “McFish” was a fried, food-service style filet that had more than a hint of fishiness to it. Served with fresh cabbage and tomatoes, it was mostly good, but not great. The mollejas were fried crisp — a first for me — fresh from the grill is how I usually get them. Served ala Mexicana, they were well-seasoned but closer to chicharrones in texture than the soft deliciousness when hot off the grill.
The saving grace of the meal was the salsa! Wow! Both the green and the red were delicioso. With heat enough to open your eyes wide and make you blush. The green salsa was served in a squeeze bottle like some bizarro ketchup, making for easy application. The tortillas were excellent, both flour and corn. The coffee was cafe good, tasty and not too strong, served in a never-ending cup. The wait staff was courteous and attentive — a positive, but not stellar experience.
If you find yourself in the suburban wasteland of South Corpus Christi and you’re looking for something unique, point your weary self toward this oasis of local flavor.