Acapulco #1

A Real Beauty of a Hand-Painted Sign

A Real Beauty of a Hand-Painted Sign

1133 Airline • Corpus Christi, Texas • 361-994-7274
6:00am – 11:00pm every day
Bottomless Coffee: $0.99
Chorizo & Egg: $1.35
Carne Guisada: $1.45
1133 Airline • Corpus Christi, Texas • 361-994-7274
6:00am – 11:00pm every day
Bottomless Coffee: $0.99
Chorizo & Egg: $1.35
Carne Guisada: $1.45

I’ve been to the edge and I’ve looked deep into they eyes of the abyss.  I spit over the side and listened to hear it hit bottom, and it didn’t.  The gaping maw of which I speak is, in taco terms, the valley of death – a desert I drove across knowing there would be satisfaction if I made it out alive.  There is no way of knowing when you’re traveling in the north where you’ll find a good taco.  While I was born in Texas I have no particular problem with yankees, or even the yankee rednecks you find in the midwest.  The food in Ohio, however, was deeply troubling.  Aside from the meals where my family was involved in the preparation I don’t think I had a single tasty meal for a week.  Life can be so cruel.

So upon returning to Tacotopia, I got a taco first thing Monday morning (Garibaldi) and then again on Wednesday (Banda’s).  I couldn’t help myself – I wanted coffee and you can get a large coffee and a taco at world class taquerias blocks away from my job for the price of a coffee alone at Aqua Java or Starbucks.  Okay, the coffee is not as good as Aqua Java’s but it serves its purpose and the tacos rock.  So this morning the Hat, the Matt, and myself all met up on Airline at Acapulco Taqueria #1.  It’s in the 30s outside and wet.  The weather, in a word, sucks.  My heater core needs replacing in my truck so in the cold the windshield fogs up.  I’m driving down the road with one hand on the wheel and one hand wiping down the inside of the windshield.  Plus I have a toothache.  All of this in addition to the seasonal increase in my workload and the stress of the upcoming holiday.  It’s enough to make a man plow their vehicle into a fireworks stand while lighting a cigarette.

TacosGood tacos, at least in this case, are the best medicine – well maybe some zoloft and a root canal, but who can afford it without health insurance? We sat down at the table and started drinking the excellent coffee, and I could feel the trouble being extinguished. Could it be things will all work out? Could the recession really be over? Could we exist in a world without poverty, war, and reality TV? I doubt it but at least I can take solace in one of the most perfect foods in existence, and I don’t mean the fabled eggnog custard pie.

Acapulco Taqueria is right near the two malls in Corpus Christi.  We’d heard about it for some time.  The place is hospital-clean the service is great.  There were a mix of cops and used car salesmen in attendance today, not a bad sign.  My carne guisada was good – nothing unusual about it but well made and very tender, no small relief to my aching jaw.  All this on good, thick, fresh flour tortillas.  I finished the carne g and moved on to the chorizo & egg, and it was exceptional: a perfect balance of grease, egg and sausage.

Leading IndicatorAfter 5 or 6 more cups of coffee and the exchange of weeks worth of tall tales the three of us lit out into the dim and dismal daylight, each one feeling a little bit better about what lay in store.

From the Hat

Hello, I’m The Hat and it’s been two weeks since my last breakfast taco.  I’ve long passed the grippin’ and jonesin’, and am beginning to get that attitude of superiority of one recently on the wagon.  Sure, you can do it the easy way, exiling yourself in a foreign land, like Ohio where they can’t even spell tako.  You couldn’t get a taquito if you wanted one.  Not me boy-o.  I did it the hard way, cold turkey, in the epicenter of taco activity.  Just me and my will power… and deep-fried turkey… and mince pie… and cornbread dressing.

I have to admit, on more than one occasion I found myself thinking about tacos, though.  Rehearsing in my mind that little peek inside the taco when it arrives at the table; watching my hands work on kinesthetic memory alone as they spoon a line of salsa down the middle and tuck it all back together; the prep finally complete.  Glad to be in company with fellow tacoteurs, but not really willing to share.

Relapse was but a text message away.  Two words:  “Taqueria Acapulco”.  I needed to call my sponsor, but it was from my sponsor.  I was lost.  I knew better than to put myself in that environment… the smell of tacos cooking, and of coffee, that easily obtainable breakfast gateway that always seems to lead down the path… to tacos.

Acapulco was a warm, dry place on a wet, cold morning.  It was brightly lit and smelled of cooking.  The Taco Show Host and M. were already there and had facilitated my breakfast with a cup of coffee.  After a look at the menu, I had decided.  But M. had noticed they were having a tripas special and ordered accordingly.  Not to be out-tacoed, I did the same.  Along with the tripas, I ordered a chicharrón con huevos a la Mexicana.  While we waited, we drank very good never-ending coffee and talked of the poor state of food in the Buckeye State.

When the tacos arrived, my tripas taco was splayed on the plate, guts spilled out like some breakfast tauntaun sacrificed for the nourishment of my body.  The tripas were perfect, clean and crispy.  Cut into lengths of an inch or so made them bite-sized and easy to manage.  They could only have been better with a fresh-made corn tortilla.  The flour torts were very good, though.  A bit of salsa, some cebollas y cilantro, and the taco had me wishing I’d another.  The second offering was good, but not a home run.  The chicharrones were the crunchy, bag-type and had plenty of bite to them.  There were plenty of them in the well-stuffed taco.  Both the spicy salsa, and the Ranchero sauce were good and added positively to the tacos.

As I look at the empty plate, I’m hoping to find just a little morsel that might have fallen out of the taco.  Surely I haven’t eaten them both already.  But I have and I’m left with nothing but the shame at having succumbed to the taco’s call once again.  I could see people looking down their noses at me already, and I’m uneasy at sight of the police car at the door when we exit.  What will my friends and family say about my return to the taco lifestyle?  Should I tell them?  But of course, this is a taco blog.

– Salud



Acapulco Restaurant on Urbanspoon

El Potro – Mounted Police


1401 Rodd Field Rd. Corpus Christi, TX 78412 361-986-1028 Sun-Thu, 6:00am–10:00pm Fri-Sat, 6:00am–11:00pm

(Ian: Red, Kevin: Green)

Tacotopia’s headquarters are in Downtown Corpus Christi, a once thriving heart of the city that has atrophied but continues to sustain its extremities. Most of the taco joints we visit are down here because they’re the places we drive by and see when we’re going about our day to day activities. Accusations have been made from some quarters that we focus too much on downtown, that we should look further to the North and West, and also to the South where most of the growth and prosperity seems to have taken place. We love downtown, but not to the exclusion of the rest of the city so today we packed a bag and headed down to Rodd Field off S.P.I.D. (that’s South Padre Island Drive for you folk outside of the tacotopia border) to a charming place called El Potro. The Hat and I were accompanied by my stepson Matt, who has considerable experience with the taco, and who suggested this taqueria to us. He was up and out the door by 6:15 to make the half hour drive to the outlands with me and made no peep about it being too early, truly a dedicated tacoteur.

It was a bit out of our normal AO. As I headed south, I couldn’t help but marvel at the line of traffic heading north to downtown. There was hardly any traffic going my way so I began to wonder if I was heading toward some disaster that everyone else knew about and was hastily avoiding. I’d been to El Potro before several times so it was easy enough to find. Ian and the young man were already there and waiting on me. The place was bright, clean, and thanks to the guys for saving me a spot at the table with my back away from the door. I guess it’s a fairly common neurosis, but I get a hinkey feeling with my back to the door. I felt safer knowing I would see any would-be maniac hell-bent on ruining my breakfast. I didn’t realize that we were probably in the safest place in the city.

Safe is right, Kevin, unless you have a life threatening taco allergy or a warrant out for your arrest. The place was crawling with police, and that is typically a good sign. Cops like to eat, and they have evolutionary pressure to consume constantly while they are on the job just like a shark. If the tacos weren’t there we might have been their next meal. El Potro means colt in Spanish, but I couldn’t find any horseflesh on the menu. The place was bright and clean as is with so many of the businesses constructed since the turn of the century, or more to the point, constructed since the last world war – which stands in stark contrast with many of the structures downtown.
OK Ian, I agree that downtown has places that are not bright and clean. But I think you can make the case that things are happening DTown. This week saw an art walk, and a street festival on Starr street. House of Rock continues to have a variety of music at their exceptional venue. And while I’m playing shill for DTown, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Lomax Compound for serving up great food, beer, and coffee. (Not to mention housing a really good graphics shop). Seems I remember reading something about loft apartments selling up on the bluff, too. I’m optimistic. I have to agree with you on the whole cops-as-evidence-for-good-food – not to mention the stray probation officer. Here’s a shout out to F.G. We definetly were in a good position for an emergency. Just out of the line of fire between what must be a table reserved for the boys in blue and the doorway. We joked that “This place should sell donuts!” And what did we see?
Donuts of course, but after a couple of their tacos there was precious little room for desert. I got the standard chorizo & egg, and carne guisada taquitos and I’ve to say they were both excellent. The chorizo and egg hit me like a billy club to the face, one might call it chorizo brutality. The flavor subdued me. It needed no salt or salsa. The carne guisada on the other hand took a much more subtle approach. The flavor in carne g is usually in the sauce but this was all about the beef, which provided not only the texture but all of the taste. For me it needed some salt and salsa but this allowed me to regulate the degree, most times you don’t get any choice.
Speaking of chorizo, I took a different tack than usual. Normally I go for something out of the ordinary and usually off the menu. But after months of watching you get all the chorizo, I couldn’t stand it. I’ve been thinking about a place that used to be in Kingsville, La Siesta. We would go in there for a late breakfast on occasion and order the chorizo and papas platter. This stuff was the stuff of legends. You had to eat quickly or it would jump off your plate and attack your napkin, the tablecloth, or any other textile within range, leaving a sinister orange stain as evidence of assault. (Here, long after the fact, sitting at a keyboard, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.) That was my inspiration for one of my tacos this morning. The other, was a regular for me, the chicharrone con huevos. Both tacos were on flour torts and were excellent. (No handmade corn tarpoleans at El Potro.) The aspiring tacoteurs out there would appreciate the chicharrone taco. Served a la mexicana – it was a jumbo-stuffed beauty. The chicharrones had just the right bite. I’d say it could have used a bit more of the pig skin, but really it was delicious. The chorizo and papas really brought back the memories of those college days at Taco Tech. When I opened the taco to take a look, the slightly vinegary aroma rushed out at my face as if trying to give me a kiss. You’re right about not needing anything, but I had to try the salsa and it was terrific. It had a smokey, almost chipotle taste to it. Very fresh. For those missing out on the tripas, or barbacoa review, it was a good thing my tacos were excellent. Otherwise I would have had a case of taco envy. Across the table, Matthew had ordered the tripas and a barbacoa. At his first bite, I heard the crunch of very crispy tripas. He reported that they were “very good” and that the barbacoa was “pretty good”.
Yes, Matthew is succinct. All in all I could find nothing wrong with anything. Even their tortillas, which seemed to lack any real texture were hot, fresh and complementary to their imprisoned filling. All of this served up by a pretty waitress who could have easily been dressed up for Halloween as an 80’s witch, complete with blue eyeshadow and what I thought at first was a collar but I guess was a choker. We didn’t see the bottom of a coffee cup while we were there. I guess that about wraps it up for this fall behind edition of Tacotopia, and welcome to the new our new home at Keep those taco tips coming in
Happy Halloween all.  May the Great Pumpkin find your pumpkin patch to be the most sincere and rise up from within and deliver toys to the true believers. Salud.

20091016 Alteno


Taqueria El Potro on Urbanspoon