Daniela’s #1 – Bald Ag Taco Frag Finale

4258 Baldwin Blvd., Corpus Christi, TX 78405 • 361-883-3050
Chorizo & Egg $1.50 • Carne Guisada $1.85 • Bottomless Coffee 95¢

Over the past four weeks we’ve broken fast at every taco establishment between Old Robbstown and Baldwin on Agnes. In that time we saw a plane crash that killed a significant portion of the government of Poland, and a volcano that ground the European air travel industry to a halt.

This little blog is insignificant in the face for that continuing turmoil and strife so many see day to day. In the words of the late, immortal F. Zappa, “there’s no way to delay that trouble comin’ everyday.” Locally, Corpus Christi (aka Tacotopia) was named by Men’s Health magazine the fattest city in the US. While I question the statistical veracity of their half-baked math. Men’s Health is typically populated with articles detailing how this or that haircut on a chick means she’s wild in the sack so to take this ‘study’ as anything approaching accurate would be about as smart as taking any of tacotopia’s statistics seriously.

That said, there is no denying there is a problem with obesity in Tacotopia. I have a novel solution: eat less and exercise more. Tacos are not the problem, any more than are forks. Processed food might bear some of the blame, as well as sugar – especially in the form of HFCS. You find very little of this in breakfast tacos. Most of the ingredients are not far removed from their source. I’m not saying breakfast tacos are, in a word, healthy but I’d argue they beat the hell out of a McGriddle. Combined with exercise and moderation tacos can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. And ask yourself this: is a world without an occasional taco a world in which you would care to live? I say no.

The final stop on the Bald Ag tour is Daniela’s #1.  Located caddy-corner at Badlwin and Agnes this sprawling restaurant has some serious serving capacity.  When I showed up there were the police cruisers in the lot, always a good sign. The walls were peppered with photos of Zapata and Villa. The food came out and we got down to business.

The salsa roja was good, not too spicy but not too bland and with a nice flavor. The flour tortillas were fresh and hot, very light and were little match for the filling, falling apart before the tacos were finished. The chorizo & egg was fair, but rendered good with the salsa and the tortillas. The real star was the carne guisada which had a great texture, a nice rich flavor and even big chunks of bell pepper stewed in.

This place was pretty darned good. It is certainly worth a trip if you haven’t been there. I’d say it could go head to head with many of the most popular local favorites. The graph directly below reflects Daniela’s numbers.

From the Hat

Is it just me or does it seem to anyone else that the more time you have to do something, the longer it takes?  We tacoed early, so I’ve had plenty of time to produce some profound prose about pico… or picadillo.  But NOO!  I’ve even considered taking a right turn towards Damascus for inspiration, but I know that lightning waits down that road.  So I’ll do what any good Tacoteur in my position would do, I’ll get to the tacos.

Some of you know that TSH and I have been touring the Baldwin-Agnes Taco Nexus – sampling the wares, putting our 2-cents in.  And it’s been delicious.  We hit Daniella’s this time and did we hit paydirt!  I have to admit; I was hoping to get that mollejas taco for the perfect four-of-a-kind and was a bit disappointed when I discovered it wasn’t gonna happen.  After several rounds with the waitress, I began to feel I was getting a bit too “When Sally Met Harry” so I opted for a huevos con chicharrones a la Mexicana on flour and a barbacoa on corn con cebollas y cilantro. When the booty showed up, I was pleasantly surprised at the chicha taco.  It was BIG and stuffed with the goods.  I managed to hold up my lack-of-mollejas-disappointment until the first bite.  After that, I was hooked.  The taco was great. Plenty of fresh sliced jalapenos – perfectly spiced so that it didn’t need any salsa at all.  It was difficult not to scarf the thing down.  The chicharrones seemed to be of the dried variety, but they were prepared perfectly – with just the right mixture of chichas and eggs and vegetables.  It was all wrapped up in a damn fine flour tort to boot.  Outstanding.

The barbacoa taco was Tacotopia average.  Served piping hot, the aroma of barbacoa burst out of the foil and made friendly eyes at my nose from the get-go.  It was juicy, but not too fatty.  It needed salt, but the onion and cilantro were snappy-fresh and with a bit of a good, smoky salsa roja, it too was a sound offering.  The corn tort was thin, and perfectly round.  It was fresh and flavorful of corn.  I wouldn’t mind checking out their tortilla-making process.  I bet you could determine the value of pi to 10 digits by watching them work.

It was the first time I’d been to Daniella’s, and had no idea what to expect.  The food was good, the coffee was good and but for a slight mix-up with the taco delivery, the service was excellent and with a smile.  I’m still thinking that I could have taken a bite of Ian’s misdelivered C & E, and traded him for one of mine.  But I’m glad I didn’t because I probably would have given away that delightful chicharrone taco.  That would have sucked.


And without further ado, whatever the hell ado means, I will list the rankings of the Bald-Ag Taco Frag.

In 4th place, with a grade of 87.70 is Yoli’s

In 3rd place, with a grade of 90.00 is Daniela’s

In 2nd place, with a grade of 90.45 is Chacho’s

and the winner of the coveted Bald-Ag Taco Title is

El Charro with a grade of 90.78.



Our free taco winner for this week is:

Ann Magnuson

One might find it easier to answer the question what hasn’t Ann Magnuson done, than to list the things she has. She’s a singer, actor, performer, artist, cultural signpost, raconteur and all around freak. She ran Club 57 in the East Village, a nexus of the NY art scene that influenced the trajectories of such giants as Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Fab Five Freddy, Jean-Michel Basquiat, before moving on to acting (Making Mr. Right, A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon, The Hunger) and Music with Bongwater and later as a solo act.

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 your name on the back of an autographed copy of Cabin Boy to tacos@tacotopia.net.

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Chachos – Bald Ag Taco Frag Part 3

101 Old Robbstown Road, Corpus Christi, TX
Chorizo & Egg $1.75 • Carne Guisada $1.95 • Coffee 99¢

Welcome to Round Three of the Bald-Ag Taco Frag. Today’s contender for the title of Champion of the Baldwin-Agnes breakfast taco corridor is the young Chachos Tacos.  It was been open for about a month at this location, though there are two others – one of which we reviewed before, and also mentioned in our spam taco marathon.

Sitting across the tracks on Old Robbstown, off Agnes, Chachos has an interesting atmosphere, with motorcycle posters and minature hand-made steel models, eschewing the typical traditional styling of most taco shops for a more modern and purely texas theme. The signage is some of the best sign-writing I’ve seen in this town. The entrance is flanked by an impressive array of gumball machines.

I showed up with Matt the Hoople, and this was the rare occasion where I was at the rendezvous point before the Hat. On a side note, I am back in the dodge in case you were wondering, and expect another 100000 miles from it. My wife is in Chicago, and I’m on school bus detail while she’s away which is good and bad for Hoops – good ‘cause he gets sit-down tacos on a Friday morning before school, bad because he’s got to get up early for them. I didn’t have to get up early, hadn’t slept in fact.  I was running a copy job all night and barely made it home in time to change clothes and splash some water on my face before I whisked the ready kid out the door and into the heart of taco country.

We live in Portland (no not Oregon or Maine, Texas dammit!). The closest restaurant to my house is a drive through only taco stand with two windows on opposite sides and both drive throughs are often found spilling out into traffic on weekend mornings. And while I like convenience (and some killer horchata) I almost never get tacos from here because the tortillas aren’t fresh.  There’s another taco joint here, I think it’s called plaza Guadalajara, but they’ve got the same problem. Then there’s la Iguana, ditto. Other than that there’s Taco Bell. This is why you haven’t seen a review of any taquerias in Portland. I expect when the pickin’s get thinner I’ll do a Portland roundup but no time soon. So we met this morning out on Agnes for another week.

On to the tacos. I had, as I always do, a chorizo & egg and a carne guisada. The tacos were slightly larger than average, and presented in the double D formation. The chorizo & egg was not spectacular; it was light on the chorizo. The tortillas were quite good. I suspect they aren’t made on site, but were still pretty fresh and dense – strong enough to stand up to any filling thrown at them. They also had a bit of flavor to them, that could be tasted even through the stronger flavors on top of them. We were given both green and red salsa.  Both were chopped fine, not quite pureed, and both were very hot. I choked up on the green. The flavor of both were also good, and revived the less than lively chorizo and egg. The carne guisada, on the other hand, was excellent. Especially with the Chachos tortillas and the killer salsa. The coffee tasted a little burnt, but was plentiful and refilled frequently.

Chachos is well worth the trip.

From the Hat

Life is good.  Today’s taco tour takes us back to the Baldwin/Agnes area for our third competitor in the Taco Frag.  I’m always relieved to find more cop cars than you can count on one hand in the parking lot of a taqueria. I mean, it’s much more likely that their presence is due to good food than to a hostage situation.  TSH was there when I arrived and since he wasn’t sitting on his hands in the back of a cruiser, or hiding from gunfire behind the open door of his mighty Dodge Ram, I figured the coast was clear.

My earliest memory of this building was when it was the Manhattan Steak House.  I’m dating myself because it hasn’t been a steak house for a very long time.  The building fell into disrepair and became the target of vandals after the Manhattan closed.  In the recent past, the place has been several Mexican restaurants, none of which lasted very long.  The current incarnation is as a Chacho’s.

So far I’ve been on a roll.  I’d been able to order mollejas tacos, and barbacoa tacos at both of the previous contestants.  I wondered whether I could keep up my streak since not all taquerias have mollejas on the menu. But this is Tacotopia and sure enough, both tacos were listed.  The place was comfy and even I could tell the quality of the signage and the motorcycle motif to the interior was kind of cool.  Not often does one get to gander at the gams of some gal splayed on a motorcycle while eating tacos, but it worked.  I was far enough away that I couldn’t tell who the blonde beauty on the bike was, but Matt the Hoople, who also ordered Mollejas, thought it was Paris Hilton. I liked it better not knowing so I didn’t take a closer look.  But I did take a close look at the tacos.

Both were ample.  A peek at the innards of the innards taco found some good-looking mollejas.  Like El Charro across the street, they were fried to perfection.  The texture was good, again like a perfectly-fried oyster, but they weren’t quite up to those of their neighbor.  But they could be.  The frying oil was a bit past prime.  There was a hint of burn to it, not too bad, but it was there.  And I hate to garner a reputation as a hater, but the onions were just short of as fresh as they could be.  Neither were terrible violations, but this is serious business.  The barbacoa, was Tacotopia-good. It had that cow head flavor, (mostly due to more cow head fat) found in a good barbacoa.  It also had a noticeable barbacoa aroma that spurred my desire to dig in.  Both were served on really good flour torts.  Sorry corn tortilla lovers, no hand-made corn tarps here.  But the flour tarps were dense and tasty and more than up to the task of keeping the goodies corralled to the very end.  The salsas verde and roja were excellent.  The green had a sharp twang to it as well as plenty of heat and the red, while not as hot, was plenty spicy.  Both were fresh and delicious.   I’m hoping Chacho’s sticks around the neighborhood.  They make a mighty fine breakfast.


Our free taco winner for this week is:

Helen Mirren

Born in London, and descendent from Russian nobility Dame Helen Mirren is remarkably hot at 64. One might not realize after seeing her in so many prim and proper roles, winning awards for playing queens Elizabeth I & II, that in the earlier part of her career her choices were decidedly anti-establishment. I first saw her in Boorman’s Excalibur (which is being remade with Brian Singer to direct) where she played Morgana le Fay. Were one so inclined as to google image search her with safesearch turned off one might get an eyeful of any number of movies in which she was typecast as a woman not fond of wearing clothing, including Caligula, a film produced by Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione. In her personal life she has been uncompromisingly independent – choosing not to have children, cohabitating for more than a decade out of wedlock, getting a tattoo on her hand at a time when tattoos were only for bikers and sailors, and in a profession where a tattoo on the hand could end a career. Other great performances by Ms. Mirren include the Mosquito Coast, the Cook the Thief His Wife and Her Lover, and 2010 among others. Helen Mirren is one classy broad.

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 your name on the back of an autographed copy of Calendar Girls to tacos@tacotopia.net.

Yoli’s – Bald Ag Round 2

4217 Agnes, Corpus Christi, Texas • 361-888-8852
Chorizo & Egg $1.30 • Carne Guisada $2.00 • Bottomless Coffee $1.35

Part two of our Baldwin/Agnes Taco series, The Bald-Ag Taco Frag, takes us to Yoli’s. Our goal with this series is to judge the best taco shop in a number of neighborhoods, and then to pit the winners against each other. This is not the first Yoli’s we’ve been to: there’s one on Kostoryz where we stopped during the Spam Marathon. It is, however, the first full review of a Yoli’s.

While Corpus Christi has a lot of taquerias There are certain areas in Corpus Christi that have a lot of them close together, like mushrooms. Here at Tacotopia we’ve often wondered why this is. Some of these clusters aren’t even located in places where there would seem to be reason for exceptional patronage and yet they exist. Agnes, if you aren’t familiar with it, is a street that runs from downtown all the way out to Robbstown. Much of it is industrial, home to steel vendors, muffler shops, salvage yards, and abandoned buildings.

As you can see in the 1962 ad Mexican food has been a part of Agnes since restaurants advertised air conditioning and the phone number prefixes started with letters. These restaurants seem to pull in a lot of oilfield workers, but what restaurant in Corpus doesn’t I guess.

Brian had the table staked out when I showed up, and we commenced our warmup for the eating. This consists of some sitting exercises, stretching, and about 45 seconds of cardio. Before long the Hat showed up with Shell in tow, and we ordered.

The food, altogether was okay. Not great, not as good as El Charro from Last week. My carne g was serviceable, The chorizo & egg fair. Flour tortillas were good, and the salsa was bad. There was nothing really that I could put my finger on that set this place apart, though compared to most mexican restaurants I’d eaten at before I moved to Corpus Christi it’d be among the better.

The nicest thing about this place, I’d say, is the hand painted signage. They were also on the spot with fresh coffee any time our cups were low, and we must have put away two pots between the four of us. The environment was conducive to discussion and we talked about plumbing, cars, foundation repair (both literal and figurative), triumph and tragedy.

Next week we continue our spotlight on the Bald-Ag taco cluster. Tune in! Turn on! Taco out!

From The Hat

It’s been a rainy, windy week in Tacotopia, and I have to tell you, I’m ready for a taco. Today is the second installment of the BaldAg Taco Frag and we’re convening at the Yoli’s on Agnes. The Taco Show Host was early. I wondered immediately what we in for when I saw that TSH was driving the RV. Was he thinking that the taco-throwdown-about-to-go-down was going to wipe him out so that he would need to sleep it of on the parking lot?  Or had he been there all night to get the jump on his Carne-G?  I worried. I put my worries aside once inside where Shelly and I found TSH and Brian W., another taco aficionado deep into their coffee, yacking about recent manly exploits I’m sure. But the conversation ended like it had been doused by a bucket of ice water when we sat down.

Yoli’s is an attractive restaurant. Fresh paint, nice signage (IMHO anyway – I’ll leave the expert judgment to the experts). There was a pleasant mélange of aromas wafting from the kitchen – breakfast tacos at this time of day, no doubt, but the menu was extensive.  As I worked my way through the taco listing, I noticed that Yoli’s served mollejas and barbacoa. You might remember that I kicked off the BaldAg Taco Frag with these two tacos and I figured I’d order the same again. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea. Maybe I was trying to relive last week’s exceptional mollejas taco (The best I’ve ever had), but I promised myself that I would not let past performance prejudice my palate. I ordered both con cebollas y cilantro on flour as Yoli’s doesn’t have homemade corn torts. The tacos arrived in foil and we set to opening them like kids at Christmas. First to the mollejas. The mollejas taco suffered from a technical error that influenced every part of the experience. The pieces of sweetbread were very large. So large that while they were crispy-to-perfection on the outside, they were slightly underdone in the centers. This threw off the the texture and flavor. I will definitely go back and try them again to make sure it wasn’t a one-time problem. The barbacoa was Tacotopia-average. It was a bit lean and needed salt, but all-in-all, pretty good. Both tacos were well-endowed, stressing the tarpoleans almost to failure, but they held firm. The tortillas were pillow-like – a pleasure to eat. Aside from the mollejas faux pas, there were a couple of detracting elements to breakfast. The onions and cilantro were not stale, but the meal would have benefitted from a bit fresher produce – still not a show-stopper, though. The salsa left me wanting. It was fresh, but with no heat or flavor. “Falsa” I think says it all.  Hoping to hot it up a bit, I ordered some serranos. They arrived, minced in a pile that filled a saucer. They were beautiful and could have showed the onions and cilantro a thing or two about freshness. The experience was rounded-off by a never-ending cup of coffee and joking and laughing with friends. Not a bad way to start the day.


Our free taco winner for this week is:

Joan Jett

Though she’s a yankee vegan, she is undoubtedly an expert on eating tacos. Jett was the headliner of the first real concert I attended, at age 12, in 1983 in Fayetteville, Arkasas on the floor of the Razorbacks basketball arena.  I pushed my way up within 2 people of the stage before collapsing from exhaustion, excitement, and armpit stank inhalation. Still one of the most ass-kickinest rockers on planet earth, Ms. Jett is coy about her orientation, though it is was clear early on with her cover of Crimson & Clover, and many of her later more ‘descriptive’ songs that while she appreciates a broad menu of culinary fare she is partial to tacos. Coming from humble beginnings, Jett embodies the DIY spirit rising out of the ashes of the Runaways and starting her own record label after being reject by a score of record companies. Constantly touring for more than thirty years can take a toll on someone less centered and driven, but one only has to look at Joan Jett’s set jaw and chiseled abs to see she just gets better with each passing year.

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 your name on the back of an autographed copy of Joan Jett’s Greatest Hits to tacos@tacotopia.net.