3002 South Port Ave, Corpus Christi, Texas • 361-885-7705

I drove down Port recently and spotted four taquerias I’d never been to. I pulled into parking lots and emailed myself names and gps locations for each. One of the rationalizations I’ve had for not blogging every week was that I’d picked all the low hanging fruit. Well, the crazy thing about fruit is it grows back. Sure enough, close to HQ there are a bunch of new (at least to me) places to get tacos.

Pulling from the top of the list, I pulled my Valkyrie into the lot of the Merequetengue, which is inside the Q.C. Meat Market, and narrowly avoided an ankle-biting from a local dog who took issue with my mode of transport. Walking into the place, one is overwhelmed by the smell of a meat market: disinfectant and blood. I was bit apprehensive, but I ordered from the lady behind the counter and sat down at one of the tables that didn’t have chairs stacked upside-down on top of them.

The tacos were made to order on fresh handmade tortillas, and brought to the table by a waitress whose English was about as good as my Spanish. She pulled some sugar and a salsa verde from another table and set it in front of me – there was a red salsa, but not for me apparently. My routine when trying a new place is this; try the carne guisada with a fork, try the chorizo & egg with a fork, try the salsa with a spoon, add salsa and salt to the tacos, evaluate. Every step in the routine was satisfying here. The carne g, as you might expect from a restaurant in a meat market, was really good; toothy but not tough, and well seasoned. The chorizo and egg had good separation, with really good spicy chorizo and made so fresh to order that it was hard to distinguish the heat from the chorizo and the heat from the hot eggs. Add to both of these an excellent green salsa – a bit creamy, a bit hot, and good handmade tortillas. Merequetengue exceeded my expectations.

Our Taco Award Winner for this week is:

Debi Mazar

When I first watched Goodfellas, there was one thing – above all others – that made me wish I were Henry Hill and that’s Sandy, his guma, with a few pounds of cocaine, a tight dress, and an insatiable appetite. Cocaine is an evil drug, but if it were the 70’s and Sandy was offering it to me, I might be persuaded. Debi is now in her late 40s, is married to a tuscan cook who is inexplicably skinnier than she is, and she looks better than she did when she was in her twenties. You can see them working out who wears the pants in the family on Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel.

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 ’93 Vogue Italia in which Debi appears to

El Lucero – Begin Again

101 Old Robbstown Road, Corpus Christi, TX
Chorizo & Egg $1.45 • Carne Guisada $1.95 • Coffee $1.10

I’m 40. I know there are about half of you who wish you were 40 again, and the other half who dread the thought. My teen years were a time of trying to figure out where I was, and who I was. My 20s were a time where I still had hope and ambition that I would do something great. By the time I was in my 30s I was trying to adapt to the world, rather than bending it to my will – and I was managing my expectations. I’m not going to be a rock star. I’m not going to be a director, or an actor, or developer of some piece of software that would change the way we think. At 40, I’m lucky if I can make it through the workday. And I’m not just saying that. I do, now, feel lucky to walk out to my 10 year old pickup at 5, or 6, or 9, and unlock the passenger door because the keyhole on the driver’s door is jammed from when someone opened it with a screwdriver to steal my blue Fender Jazz bass many months back. I hop in, drive across the harbor bridge and the causeway with the sun over my left shoulder turning everything in front of me magenta and orange, looking at the water that is a different color every day. It never gets old.

So, in my 40s I hope it will be the decade where I start fresh – with a more solid footing and more realistic expectations, and wisdom. I don’t know everything, but I know more than I did yesterday. I see parallels in my experience and the American experience. We got kicked in the teeth 10 years ago, thinking nobody had the nerve to take a shot at us. Now we know what it’s like for every other country in the world – to not be untouchable. We got the wind knocked out of us, and got off balance when we tried to punch back. We took our eye off the ball, and by the time we came to we’d been had by the government, by globalization, by the banks and the financial industry, by the republicans and the democrats who feed us the illusion of choice, the fed, big oil, big pharma, and anyone else with a bar of soap and a towel at the blanket party. We’re not going out like that. We’re coming back, stronger and smarter. We will do what our country does best – reinvent ourselves.

Corpus Christi can do it too. I lived in Austin in the 80s, before it blew up. During the S&L crisis there were tons of new office buildings that were totally empty. They turned it around, and their population has doubled in that time. Austin looked forward, and embraced education, diversity, and the future. Corpus Christi could take a hint and quit holding on to the past and start looking forward. Youth is our future, and if we don’t make this city a place they want to stay in they will leave, and we’ll fade away. I’m talking to you, city council. Work together, instead of fussing like children. Texting? Really? Is that your job? Arguing about texting? When half of the buildings downtown haven’t been occupied in more than a decade and are uninhabitable, and no one does a thing about it? They should be brought up to code or razed, I don’t care who owns them. It’s disgraceful to see the Lichtenstein building with gaping holes all over it’s rear – and human feces all over the stairs from downtown to uptown, and the only people who seem to care is Bill H on the vacuum cart and the hellishly efficient meter maids. And Brad Lomax, and Alan Albin at the DMD, and the folks at K Space, and Joe Hilliard, and last but not least Casey ‘the Rooster’ Lain. These are the people who are keeping this cities’ culture alive. Even Produce, though they took liberties with my companies’ logo on the last artwalk poster, and let’s not forget Glassworx, cuz the 20 somethings like to smoke things while they wear their kicks and their weird baseball caps with the bills on the side, and the Yin-Yang Fandango because anachronism is entertaining, and pachouli smells better wafting off a hippiechick than an incense stick, and SegCity cuz segways are like big girls – your friends may not think they’re cool but they’re a hell of a lot of fun. As long as I’m just plugging, stop by the Treehouse Collective who are not, as far as I can tell, commies – in spite of their name. And while you’re there you could do worse than to stop by Surf Club Records, or if you want the really cool shirts, or to get your cooking or pocket knives scary sharp, Whetstone Graphics – where you can even pick up a Tacotopia Tee. Let’s not forget Aloe Tile, in the old Studebaker dealership; The only downtown business I know with a banjo-playing co-owner. The most important person in the whole scheme of things (not to sound like Fred Rogers) is you. Go out and do something cool, or help someone who’s doing something cool, or at least don’t be a jerk.

This weeks taco joint has reinvented itself too, even since the last time we were there when it was Chacho’s. Now it’s El Lucero, and the atmosphere is a little different. Where once there was Harley memorabilia and steel, now there’s blank walls and disenfectant. I don’t know which is better, though in my experience cleaner taquerias do not necessarily render tastier tacos.  The chorizo & egg was pretty bland, not much chorizo, not much salt, not much flavor. The carne guisada had a ton of salt, and flavor – though it was very food-servicey flavor. The tortillas were good, both flour and corn, both salsas were passable – the verde was excellent, creamy with some heat.  This was their grand opening so I should go back and see if it get’s better later in it’s lifecycle.

Sorry for the extended hiatus. I’ve started 10 different posts that haven’t made it online, but the world is turning around me and I’m trying to get back in the fray.

The taco award winner for the week is:

Adrienne Barbeau

Barbeau in 1981

Long overdue for some respect is the talented and beautiful Adrienne Barbeau – who at 65 is still able to lure monsters out of their hiding places as she did in Creepshow, The Swamp Thing, and The Fog. Monster movies weren’t her only outlet for performing, even though she was married to one of the elder statesemen of the genre – John Carpenter, as she was in the classic Cannonball Run seen here trying to talk her way out of a ticket. Before her scream-queen days, she worked as a gogo dancer in New York and as such worked for the mob. She also played Rizzo in the Broadway production of Grease, and wrote a couple of books, and even had a kid at age 51 with her husband who happens to be the brother of little Steven Van Zandt. Now that she and I are both married I guess our long distance romance will never be consummated but I will always have a spot in my heart for her massive talents.

Offer includes 2 tacos, an audience with the ‘tacoteurs,’ and a free tacotopia t-shirt. Please redeem this offer at  to 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 copy of the European release of the Swamp Thing to.

Need a Shower with that Taco?

1302 Navigation Blvd. Corpus Christi, TX • (361)  884-4303
Restaurant -6:00AM – 10:00PM
Truckstop – 24Hrs.

The Labor day weekend is upon us.  With it brings the end of summer (somewhere), the beginning of school, and of the NFL season.  You have to look hard, but if you try, you can feel subtle changes.  The shortening length of the day is finally noticeable and while still miserably hot in the Sparkling City, the heat doesn’t dominate the day like it has once did.  Soon the wind will change and we’ll be blessed with cool weather.  I look forward to that morning when I’ll have to linger on my daily shuffle to pick up the paper and relish in that delicious, distinctly autumn feeling in the air.

Labor day is also a time for end of summer celebrations.  Every year in Brady, TX, they hold the World Championship Barbecue Goat Cook Off – and I plan to be there this year.  Once upon a time we fielded a team in the yearly event, but not in a while.  Seventh place was our only appearance in the top 10.  I didn’t spend the time to get the numbers, but I’d have to guess that during the festival the population of roughly 5,000 quadruples.  It’s a reason for Brady Ex-Pats to return to the roost, and touch base with those they haven’t seen in a while.  Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, they are all great for getting in touch and staying in touch.  But they’re not human touch like a handshake or a hug from a friend.  Food’s good too.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had barbecued goat, wrapped in a tortilla with onions, peppers.  A creation damn close to the proto-taco.  I’m looking forward to both the friends and the feast.

But Brady is 5 hours from the Bay City and that means a drive.  I have my traditional stopping spots on the route, usually somewhere in San Antonio to fill a growler with a fresh barley beverage to enjoy with friends.  Sometimes a bite to eat in Fredericksburg, or at a favorite Truck Stop just outside of SA that has a really good burger.  And it’s Truck Stops that have me thinking this morning.

Taco Show Host and I met up at the Corpus Christi Truck Stop and Restaurant for Taco Friday this time.  I don’t know if it happens to anyone else, but I quite often find myself talking with random people about tacos and to that end I give a shout out to the unknown recommender of this hash house.  I’d never been there so I didn’t know what to expect.  The place evoked nostalgia with three public phones in the dining room.  There was a smoking section complete with ashtrays, though no one was smoking.  And if needed, a shower could be had for $7.  A peek into the kitchen saw a well-used flat top with a guy using it well in the preparation of our breakfast.  They had a pretty good selection of tacos and I settled on a picadillo and a fajita.  Both on flour.  The food took a bit longer than usual, but it was well worth the wait.  My tacos were huge and stuffed.  I’m a fan of the picadillo taco – a humble taco of ground beef, usually in a gravy with potatoes and spices.  The Truck Stop’s offering was the best I’ve ever had.  Cooked on the flat top when I ordered it.  It was creative with fresh tomatoes and peppers and potatoes.  More hash than stew.  Instead of a thin hamburger gravy, there was a rich coating of delicious caramelized meat and vegetables.  Outstanding!  I definitely recommend it.  The fajita taco was exceptional too.  Griddled beef, onions and green peppers glistening with the magic cooked into that flat top.  The beef was tender, but not overcooked and seasoned with a good amount of black pepper.  Neither taco needed anything.  However, for professional reasons I had to try the salsa. It was delicious.  As close to home made as I’ve had in a restaurant, ever.  Tomatoes, onions, and plenty of chili.  I couldn’t get enough.  And it turns out it was made fresh earlier in the morning by our waitress.  She was attentive and friendly, as was everyone I talked to in the place.  Our coffee cups never runneth out and the coffee was pretty good.  If you had to pin me down and make me point out a deficiency, it would be the tortillas.  We debated some as to their origin:  off-the-shelf, or not.  I say not because there was too much evidence of hand in the tarp.  Maybe even an inexperienced hand.  Taco Show Host didn’t seem convinced by my evidence.

We sat, stuffed, and had a couple of cups of coffee before TSH pointed out the fly-strip, complete with flies dangling from the ceiling above my head, and still I’ll be back.  A word of advice though, let them do what they do best and order something that’s sure to be cooked on the griddle.


Our Taco Award Winner for this week is:

Jennifer Beals

Former teen model, Jennifer Beals is best known for her portrayal of “Alex” in the 1983 movie Flashdance.  She has appeared in over 50 films and more recently in the titillating Showtime series The L Word.  She is scheduled to play Chicago’s first female police chief on Fox’s Ride-Along.  This self-described “Spiritual Person” is currently married with children.

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 a original copy of Tinikling ou ‘La madonne et le dragon to