La Iguana

3833 Saratoga Blvd, Corpus Christi, Texas • 361-857-2247

It’s two days from Christmas. Christmas Eve Eve. I did about half of my shopping yesterday, in bold defiance of any instinct I posses for self-preservation. Today I wrap, and label, and do setup on any electronics. I will also be sharpening a couple of knives that I will exchange in the place of gifts, but it is bad luck to give a knife – as it signifies severance of the relationship (scissors as well). So I enclose a coin with the knife for the recipient to give back to me in exchange for the knife. It’s a superstition loophole, apparently ridiculous – but isn’t most superstition, including Christmas – celebrated on December 25th – which is likely not the date of Christ’s birth, and probably not even the right month according to religious scholars (and wikipedia, a source I’m more likely to trust). But enough digs at cherished popular belief. Kids love Santa and adults love to think Jesus was born on Christmas day, rather than the unpleasant but more likely alternative: that it was planned to coincide with a pagan winter festival in order to absorb it rather than compete against it. Why defy this quaint tradition, especially when the end result is not only an outpouring of love and an embrace of family, but also a financial stimulus bordering on a voluntary annual regressive tax – putting low income families into debt in order to give manufacturers and retailers what will probably be one of the best months in years. I’ll take it as long as I can have some eggnog, and chill with family I’ve not seen in a year, and maybe have a tamale or two. And tamales are really just tacos made with grits instead of tortillas, and a whole lot of love and hard work – work done mostly by Mexican women, let’s be frank. Hats off to all the abuelas and tias who spend hours over steaming pots and around tables piled high with the physical manifestation of the love of family, the essence of Christmas.


In the absence of tamales, I set out this morning in search of the next best thing, and ended up at La Iguana on Saratoga. I ordered carne guisada and chorizo & egg, both on flour. The tortillas were impeccable; fresh to order, barely charlie brown, with no flour dusting. The carne guisada was the slightest bit chewy, but the flavor was excellent, and the gravy a dark brown. I’d guess it is homemade. The chorizo & egg was mixed, heavy on the egg, but the chorizo had good flavor, and the salsa was good and hot. On top of this, the service was fantastic. I think they saw my camera, and acted accordingly. I couldn’t imagine them being this attentive to every customer. The restaurant was sparkling clean, and the coffee good and plentiful. They did not have tamales, but one can’t have everything.

Our free taco winner for this week is:

Sherilyn Fenn

She was, to me, at the beginning of the 90s, the most beautiful woman in the world. A classic beauty who could hold her own with Marilyn Monroe or Aria Giovanni. When a girl I was dating at that time told me she was interested in women, I gave her a copy of the December 1990 issue of Playboy to help encourage her. I guess it didn’t work, none of the 3 or 4 friends of mine that she slept with were women, but I have no regrets. Fenn grew up around performers, her father managed Alice Cooper, and her aunt is Suzi Quatro. She Inspired Dita Von Teese to dye her hair black, and inspired Johnny Depp to scrawl her name across his helmet in Platoon. She burned up the screen for years, appearing in a slew of notable movies: The Wild Life (which should be a cult movie), Of Mice and Men, and Just One of the Guys. David Lynch, who directed her in Twin Peaks, described her as  “Five feet of heaven in a ponytail.”  In the last decade she has not been prominent, but she’s continued to work and continued to be beautiful. She now raises her kids, acts occasionally, blogs, does some philanthropic work, and hangs with her lucky husband. 46 looks pretty damned good on her.

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 in on a dvd of  Two Moon Junction to

Feliz Amanecer

‪8151 Leopard Street, Corpus Christi, TX‬
‪(361) 241-9611‬

 This is a restaurant on Leopard. If you live here you’ve driven on this road. The Corpus end starts ‘uptown’, an area that sits on a bluff opposite downtown from the bay. This is an old road, named in the first maps made of the city. Below the bluff, leading into it one way west, is Shatzell which feeds past Coppini’s ‘Queen of the Sea’ fountain, through a 100 year old switchback and into Leopard. Follow it west and you pass through the 15-20 story “high-rises” that sit, aging and neglected but still intact. Continuing west you start to see the ghosts, the old Braslau’s Furniture building left empty by attrition, moved to what was once South Corpus, near where my mother lived as a child in the 40s and 50s in a brand new post-war house on Pennington.

Her father was a mechanic for the old Corpus Christi Post Office they tore down on Upper Broadway. My grandfather, a victim of the great depression, wouldn’t let a thing go to waste and repurposed a marble slab and trim from the restroom into a 400 pound coffee table that my family moved with us every year or so as a child as we struggled to find a place better than the one we were in before. The irony is not lost on me that I live back here in Corpus Christi, where my family left to find something more.

The Melba in the 30s and today.

Keep west and you’ll pass the bombed-out Melba theater, then a string of boarded up bars and dance halls, bail bondsmen and then across Staples you’ll see City Hall sitting across from a muffler shop and one of the city’s best (if ugliest) taquerias, Banda’s. Stay westbound, and leopard runs parallel to IH-37. It passes under the Crosstown Expressway, and onwards through the West side, past Padre Island Drive and eventually to Calallen. Amanecer is pretty far out, where most of the people dining are white with oilfield service coveralls on.

Taco places in Corpus Christi have established a baseline of quality to which other cities just can’t measure up. The cornerstone of this is the handmade tortilla, which you must have if you hope to compete. Most even serve handmade corn tortillas, but you have to ask. The prices are cheap and the tacos good, but there isn’t a lot to set many of the places apart from one another. They spring up where there is demand, and deliver basically the same tacos as the place closest to them. Feliz Amanecer is one of these places. As such I can’t tell you that it stands out, but it’s good.

What I can tell you about Feliz Amanecer is this: they’re big and neat, the service is quick and thorough, the Carne Guisada is above average and I was brought two very good salsas. Everything else is on a level with what you would expect from any self-respecting taqueria in Corpus Christi.

Our Taco Award Winner for this week is:

Mary-Louise Parker

This South Carolina belle has been acting since the 80s, starting out in soaps and eventually showing up alongside some of the biggest names in the business in productions like Bullets Over Broadway, Fried Green Tomatoes, Red Dragon, The West Wing, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and her hit Showtime series Weeds which has recently started it’s seventh season. I should mention that she was famously abandoned by epic douchebag and glowing-blue-wang-having Dr. Manhattan Billy Crudup when she was seven months pregnant. Yeah, I like Claire Danes too, but I prefer kinky-headed brunettes – and I don’t mean just curly.

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 a brand new MacBook Pro to


Feliz Amancecer on Urbanspoon

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