San Luis – Underachieves.

2110 Laredo Street, Corpus Christi, TX • 361-885-0117

When you see cops at the taqueria it’s gonna be really good (they’re eating there) or really bad (they’re pulling criminals out of the kitchen). San Luis’s parking lot was adorned this morning with a local cruiser, and the wig-wags were off so I put my wallet in my front pocket and walked inside. You may recall San Luis as one of our early reviews, and I have long considered it one of the best in Corpus Christi. So when this month’s Corpus Christi Books and Beverages book group meeting was winding down Wednesday night and I invited a few of the abundant and abundantly single intelligent and sexy ladies of literature to have some early morning tacos I suggested San Luis, figuring it would be a sure thing. Well, as my bookie says, there’s no such thing as a sure thing.

We could hear the ringing of the phone as we sat down, and it rang nonstop, unanswered, for the duration. It was as if we were listening to a skipping record of the vuvuzela. My wife eventually walked over and took the receiver off the hook, only to have the ringing magically continue like an episode of the Twilight Zone. Not only that, but the tacos took about 40 minutes to come out. We had only sporadic coffee service throughout that time, but by the time the food came I was white knuckling.

Check out the color from the chorizo.

The tacos themselves were not bad. The chorizo and egg was about average, a little too light on the chorizo, a bit too mixed so the flavor of the egg extinguished the flavor of the chorizo, but still quite eatable. The carne guisada was also easy to eat, but just a smidgen tougher than it should be and lacking any real distinguishing spice or flavor. It wasn’t all mediochre though – the coffee was good, especially with fresh scalded milk in a little sweating stainless steel dispenser. The salsa also rocked, and the tortillas were, as they always are here, amazing. My wife’s chorizo, bean, and bacon taco on a fresh handmade corn tortilla was exquisite. But when Nico, who is a cheese blogger, got her carne g with cheese you can guess what wasn’t in her taco. Yep, and when we brought it to the attention of the server, she brought out a bowl of shredded American cheese. Sure, we are the greatest country in the world, but American cheese just sucks, for real.

There was some discussion of the staff being short-handed, but we all left feeling a bit disappointed, a bit late, and a bit full. I will be back, but with lower expectations.

Our Taco Award Winner for this week is:

Adrianne Curry

Model, playmate, fangirl, geek, freak, hardcore gamer, celebrity bride, jabba’s slavegirl, gym rat. All of these could be used to describe the multi-faceted but singularly sexy Adrianne Curry. In the outfit pictured right, who wouldn’t want to be Jabba the Hut, even knowing that he meets his end at her hands. Ms. Curry pulled herself up by her brastraps through a troubled childhood, a working class life and problems with drugs to become a world-class model, and a brainy techy geek at that. She’s an ambassador for cosplay, and hangs out (often literally) with fellow taco award winner Coco. She’s got one of the easiest-on-the-eyes twitter feeds around, and just happens to be married to Peter Brady. She does all of this while spending hours each day in the gym. The force is strong with this one.

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 the January 2008 issue of Playboy to

Taco Taco SA – The Taco to Beat

145 East Hildebrand Avenue, San Antonio, TX 78212 • (210) 822-9533
Monday-Sunday, 7:00 am – 2:00 pm
carne guisada $1.99, chorizo & egg – $1.49, bottomless coffee – $1.49

I live in Corpus Christi, Texas, a town also known has Tacotopia. It is the optimal environment for tacos – close to Mexico, big enough to have real competition between the taco masters and small enough not to assume the pretenses you find in larger cities where they try to corrupt the identity of the taco by introducing elements from other cultures. I’m no xenophobe but I do feel that the breakfast taco has reached its apex, and a standard has been established that can never be bested. If you add Sriracha sauce and fried feta to your Carne G, you’ll have something delicious but it’s not a breakfast taco.

So a few months back when some ignorant journalist went off all half-cocked and said “When it comes to breakfast tacos Austin trumps all other American cities” I worked hard not to totally flip the fuck out. With quiet reflection, and a stiff drink or five, I assessed the situation objectively and reached the conclusion that this yahoo just didn’t know any better, and that the only real contender Corpus Christi has is San Antonio. I know in my heart that we have the best breakfast tacos in the world, but many would argue that title belongs to a little spot on Hildebrand in San Antonio called Taco Taco, a place that was named best tacos in America by Bon Appétit Magazine. Having not eaten there I couldn’t be sure they weren’t right, and it kept me up at night.

This weekend I came up to the home of the Alamo to find out. Just like most celebrities it was smaller than it looked in pictures, but there was a full parking lot and a line out the door. The ‘no photography’ sticker on the door had me worried this was going to be a text only review, when a lady came up and asked me if I worked for a magazine.

“No,” I said. “I’m a… blogger,” I continued, shamefacedly. After she checked my credentials she said “you’re a nice man, you can take pictures” and I felt like I’d just gone backstage. The booth was nice, the light was good, the wall of awards stared down at me. The woman who guarded the door turned out to be Helen Velesiotis, the owner, and she revealed that there was no animal fat used to prepare any of the food.

“Even the beans?”

“Even the beans.”

Strike one. While I respect the decision, and the strength of will it would take to make such a decision It can’t help but adversely affect the final product, and it did. The beans were good but suffered from lack of pork fat. They were probably as good as they could get without it but was a significant lard deficiency, a terminal condition for beans. The tortillas were excellent, both the flour and the corn. The flour were fresh and fluffy, but dense – and no dry flour on the surface. The corn were thick and heavy, but fresh – almost like a baked polenta. I got the chorizo & egg, and a carne guisada. The chorizo and egg was heavy on the egg and light on the chorizo – to the point where I could barely taste the latter. The carne g was very tasty, with firm rich big chunks of beef and a sauce that had been made better with a long slow cook. The salsa itself was really good, with a strong dried chili flavor but with fresh tomato, cilantro and onion, blended to a sauce that showed nothing but the seeds and the red.

Once I got most of the way through the two tacos, Helen emerged with more food, and then later with more again. First it was a tray of chilequiles, and they were the best thing I had to eat there – a perfect blend of crisp corn tortillas, egg, cheese, fresh jalapeños, tomatoes, onions and cilantro on the same excellent flour tortillas. Then was the Norteño, beans and white cheese on a charlie brown with beef fajita y avocado.

We left the place totally stuffed, and feeling like we had been treated like royalty by the kind greek lady with the excellent Texican restaurant. That makes it hard for me to say this: these aren’t the best tacos in America, there are a few taco shops in Corpus Christi that do a better job than Taco Taco, but Corpus Christi is on such a high level, and the two hours difference from CC to SA makes it harder to make tacos as good, simply by proximity to the Rio Grande. You’d be crazy not to eat here if you like tacos and you’re in San Antonio. And Helen, if you’re ever in Corpus Christi let us buy you breakfast.

The taco award will return next week.

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