1322 Leopard St.
Corpus Christi, TX 78401
Chorizo & Egg: $1.05
Carne Guisada: $1.50
Bottomless Coffee: $1.50
America. In Mexico as a kid when asked where I was from I replied “I’m an American.” The shopkeeper said, in perfect English, “So am I.” It had never occurred to me before, Mexico was contained in the continent of North America. My adolescent brain hadn’t bothered to make a distinction between American & U. S. Citizen. Most ‘Americans’ never do. It’s a part of our character to grab what seems true and hold on to it, defending it to the death against attacks and sometimes logic and truth. It’s what makes us strong, and what makes others hate us. I hear the mantra of ‘family values’ repeated from every corner, much of the time used to sell things. I hear condemnation of anything unfamiliar or different. One thing many Christians get right is charity. The problem of poverty is too big to fix without fundamental structural change in society, but it is being treated by many – some out of devotion to their faith, some out of dedication of humanity. You see evidence of this on Leopard Street. Any given hour on any given day you can see people asleep on the benches and sidewalks, and there are always the walking wounded – making their way down the circuit: Salvation Army, Metro Ministries, then to the bus station and back to panhandle. As I stood next to my truck a man shuffled by me and the smell was overwhelming. It wasn’t the smell of urine or filth. It was the smell of desperation.
I gathered with three generations of family this morning. My Father-In-Law, My Stepson and myself shared the table with fellow taco inspector Kevy the Hat. We talked politics, we talked food, we talked about women and men, we talked about the past. Dee, my Father-In-Law, grew up blocks away, and told us about how this restaurant used to be a diner called ‘Bunk’s’ that served up real root beer from a wooden barrel, back before they tore down the Sears and put in it’s place the city hall, years later, to cast a shadow on the overlooked and forlorn transients as they polish the crumbling sidewalks with cheap shoes and bare feet. The 1914 County Courthouse sits blocks away, empty for 30 years, again crumbling after a short lived effort to restore it lost steam a few years back.
My wife’s father is a man of respect with whom I carry on discussions on many things we both claim expertise in, if only in each other’s company. He’d recommended this place – not for the tacos, but for the homemade corn tortillas. Many years ago my family in a fit of wanderlust, which we had in spades already, and in an effort to prolong our short fall to the rock bottom of destitution sold everything we had, hopped in a camper van and crossed into Mexico where we traveled for months and months. I remember eating fresh corn tortillas that were hot out of the tortilleria, right there on the sidewalk outside. I haven’t liked a corn tortilla since, how could another compare? This changed today. These were big and fresh, and thinner than the typical corn tortilla. It looked like it was pressed, and had no real irregularity of texture but tasted like it was kneaded by the hand of god himself (please forgive me).