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.

At Home on Taco Row – La Tapatia #1


At Home on Taco Row – Tapatia #1

4503 Kostoryz Rd.
Corpus Christi, TX 78415
(361) 225-3551

So as mentioned last time, the Boss and I went and partook in a ritual we haven’t done in a while.  I must say, it was good to be back.  It’s true.  We are both currently reinventing ourselves in the “healthy” sort of way.  I don’t know how The Taco Show Host does it, but I had to drop my daily taco fix to stay under my now year-old draconian calorie limits.  But when the Doc speaks, people listen.  So I do the hamster thing at the gym as regularly as I can and stay motivated by participating in physical events like Tough Mudder, Beach to Bay, and the Harbor Half Marathon Relay.  Humble brags aside, this is not a fitness blog, but a taco blog, and  it was nice to bust a move on a couple of Gabriel’s best.

I also must say it was kind of The Taco Show host not to mention that I didn’t even ask if Gabriel’s had homemade corn tortillas when I ordered my barbacoa.  I faux pas some would consider unforgivable.   In my own defense, I had seen the big, fluffy, floured beauties saunter past under the guidance of obviously experienced porters a half-a-dozen times so I had already decided to have a couple.  I did end up asking if they had homemade torts and in fact they do so I look forward to giving them a spin.

Today we met at La Tapatia #1 at Kostoryz and Gollihar.  It’s a small place with that distinct South Texas patina commonly found in taco shops.  There were several other patrons and the place was abuzz with Spanish conversation.  The Taco Show Host ordered as is his custom, a carne-g and a chorizo and egg – both on flour.  I opted for one of my favorites, nopalitos and eggs a la Mexicana, and something a bit more sinister, a SPAM and egg – also both on flour.  La Tapatia has homemade corn torts, but I guess I still have an hankerin’ for flour.  We coffeed up and talked tech while we waited.  The coffee was good, and once they got rolling, constantly refreshed.

Once the goods arrived, we set to it.  The nopalitos taco was loaded with cactus.  A generous dose of the a la Mexicana vegetables provided the perfect complement to the vinegary tang of the nopales – all-in-all, a success.  Nestled in scrambled eggs and wrapped in a perfect tortilla, I couldn’t have asked for more.  While I don’t eat SPAM much, I do consider myself if not an expert, at least a very experienced dabbler in the SPAM taco.  As SPAM tacos go, this one didn’t jump out of the pack and scream “I am Taco, hear me roar!”  The technicians out there would have noted that it was for the most part well-executed, but it could have used more canned pig.

The accessories on the table were impressive.  Both hot sauces, a green, and a wonderfully-orange sauce were delicious.  I also ordered fresh chiles and between the three, almost managed to get my heat on.  Speaking of hot, I got into a text conversation the other day with a long-time friend – an army buddy I’ve known for 30 years.  He lives in a beautiful part of Wisconsin.  We don’t see each other much, but I’m always happy to hear from him.  He mentioned that he was corning beef.  Now I love me some corned beef.  Mostly because cold, wrapped in a good tort, it makes a great breakfast.  He was using a good recipe, Alton Brown’s, and I mentioned that I preferred it tweaked a bit on the spicy side.  Now, I’m not one of those people that think nothing’s too hot.  In fact, I know hot.  I’m not a big fan.  Hot is different for everyone.  Hot for me is pleasurable up to about habanero.  After that, moderation is a must.  I was recently reminded of this when a friend gave me some tabascos he’d grown in his back yard.  We all know tabasco…as in Tabasco – that delicious, fermented pepper concoction made on Avery Island.  I like the sauce, usually not that hot.  (But it comes in several levels of hotness.)  So I figured I’d pop one in my gob and give it a go.  I was on fire!!  The flojo moco, the hiccups, tears.  I had it all for 20-minutes.  Once again, a reminder to look before you leap.  I say take a look into La Tapatia #1 if you find yourself in the area and in the mood.



Our Taco Award Winner for this week is:

Olivia D’Abo

I’ll always see Ms. D’Abo as a member of the Q continuum on Star Trek – The Next Generation, or maybe as a spoiled princess in Conan the Destroyer, but either way, through the eyes of a teen-aged boy.  However, she continues to be active in her crafts acting and music.  Her long filmography includes many television series, voice acting roles, movies and the theater.  She has had success as a singer-songwriter, teaming up with music luminaries like Leanard Cohen.


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.


San Luis – New Blood, Old West

410 Highway 181 • Gregory, Texas • 361-643-5717
Mon-Sat 6am–8pm • Sun 7am–3pm

New restaurants serve food that can be misleading. It’s like when a guy first goes on a date with a girl (or vice versa). He puts his best foot forward, dresses nice, shaves, makes sure he doesn’t smell, and tries to fool her into thinking he’s not an animal. She sometimes pretends to be fooled. It’s a game we play, a protocol, a dance, until interface has been established. Until they know who the other is, and how to communicate and what to expect. Eventually the dance turns into routine. Routine is comfortable, though not exciting. With people this means each knows what they contribute, and does that in an efficient way. Things get taken care of, and a foundation of memory is built.

It’s the same with a restaurant. San Luis in Gregory is brand new, with a grand opening banner flapping in the parking lot. The smells of musty ceiling tiles, grease, and years of great food haven’t had time to season the place yet. The staff is still working out responsibilities, and everyone is on their best behavior. Their food may be different a year from now, but I couldn’t wait to try this spot with the storied name of San Luis, so close to my house in Portland, and it didn’t disappoint as it’s brother in Corpus Christi has. The place is a steel building, and the interior walls are finished out with varnished pine, floor to ceiling. It is cavernous, with an adjoining bar and a drive-through. The obligatory photos of Pancho Villa hang next to garish flat screens showing not Univision, but Kelly Ripa. Spanish and English were both spoken by the staff, depending on the complexion of the table. The common thread holding together the theme of the place seems to be the cowboy myth, alive and well here minus the cows. It wouldn’t surprise me to show up one night and find the tables moved to make way for a dance floor, and locals two-stepping in creased, starched jeans and cowboy boots.

I ordered a chorizo and egg, and a carne guisada. The chorizo and egg was fair, heavy on the egg and light on the chorizo. The carne guisada was good, and the meat was choice and fresh. The gravy had a bit of a black-pepper finish. The tortillas were bigger than average and couldn’t have been made too long before they hit my plate. They were substantial, fresh enough to be soft, but heavy enough to defy their contents to escape, including drippings. The coffee was the weak spot, literally, but served its purpose, and the salsa was better than most, a color hard to make out in the dim lights, greenish-red, thick and too fresh to have had time to separate into clumps of pepper and spicy water.

The other taco places directly North of the Nueces Bay Causeway leave a little to be desired, and this place is new blood – but I think it may even be better than that. It may be able to compete with places in Corpus Christi proper. I’ll know better after we get to know each other better.

Our Taco Award Winner for this week is:

Anna Gunn

Not a lot can be gleaned on the interwebs about Anna Gunn. She’s from Santa Fe, she’s done stage work, she is 43 and she’s smoking hot. Other than that, one could infer she’s a private person. That’s all I’ve got, but she’s the main reason Walter White does what he does in AMC‘s Breaking Bad, which premieres its new season July 15th.

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 eightball of blue sky to tacos@tacotopia.net.