Enrique’s Restaurant – Midlife Crisis


Enrique’s Restaurant

5230 Kostoryz Rd # 1

Corpus Christi, TX 78415


Chorizo & Egg – $1.39

Carne Guisada – $1.88

Over the past few weeks my life has become confusing and I’ve had this feeling that it’s missing something.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a happy man.  I love my wife and kid.  I’m professionally satisfied.  But at a certain point a lot of guys start to realize their youth is rushing away from them like a falling tide and it’s not coming back.  Some guys do the unspeakable and transgress the covenant of marriage.  Some buy a Harley and hang out on weekends with other white collar types in a similar place – dressed up for show to disguise the creeping malaise of eminent mortality.  Kevin & Shelly could be spotted cruising the strip in a Dodge Prowler this week, and when the thrill was exhausted from that as it inevitably is with cheap thrills they re-upped and bought a new Lexus.  I have simpler tastes – I pawned my Canon 40D DSLR and headed down the squalid sidewalks of taco row: Kostoryz.

I’d heard tell of this one little number – Enrique’s. “The bean tacos are the best you’ll ever have,” they said.  I had to find out myself if 25 years of satisfied customers could be wrong.  As we shuffled up to the front door of Enrique’s Restaurant past the tawdry ‘Romance Room’ bar we weren’t sure of what we could expect.  Once inside we were seated at a big table and looked at the expensively trimmed wood paneling and highbrow fixtures that belied the fact that this place sits in a run-down shopping center.  The waitresses brought the food to the table and we noticed they must have all left their cotton uniforms in the dryer too long this morning.  The service was good.  The coffee was good.  They offered a broad range of tacos – catering to any taste.  There was even a spam & egg taco on the menu – for those with the most depraved appetites.  The tortillas were homemade thick – both flour and corn.  The chorizo and egg was decent, and the carne guisada was better than average.  Something about the tacos when all put together was at once greater than the sum of its parts and less than hoped for.  The star of the show was the beans.  Sultry and greasy they defy description, sitting in pool of what I think was bacon drippings.  They were so good, but it felt so wrong eating them.  By the time we were leaving I felt strangely unsatisfied, despondent and more confused than when I’d come in.  ‘I’m so sorry’ ran through my head as I rehearsed it.  I hope my regular taqueria will take me back.

From the Hat

I write this epistle today with thoughts about life’s high noon.  I’ve started seeing the telltale signs of age.  Today its ears, but eyes, knees, and who knows what else will plague me in the coming years.  I guess it happens to everything.  Time and Gravity don’t play favorites.   But without that long passage of time, we’d not have long-time friends.  Today, and for the weekend, my long-time best friend Jim R. is in town running from the World Championship Bar-b-que Goat Cook-off in Brady, Texas.  He’s here in Sur de Tejas with a truck full of drum kit.  We’re hoping to drag Ian into a couple of jam sessions this weekend in Papalote.

The mob tacoed at Enrique’s this morning.  The tacos were good, not great, but well worth the trip.  For you gearheads, I had something called Carne Fritas.  Thin-sliced little disks of fried beef in a savory sauce with tomatoes and lettuce on a homemade corn tortilla.  The corn tarp was good.  Could  be me, but it could have used salt.  I like them a bit thinner, but for you thick corn tortilla fans, it was a good one.   I also had a picadillo taco.  Basically ground hamburger taco meat with potatoes added.  It was tasty – served on a good homemade flour tortilla.

The Star of the show today was the salsa – a very fresh-tasting squirt bottle of red delicious with plenty of heat.  I considered asking to take some to go.  The coffee was good too.  It was the standard café coffee that you find everywhere.  Good honest coffee with no pretentious names and sizing conventions.  The place was clean.  The woodwork on the uncluttered walls is really well done and meant to be there in a couple of decades.

As we left, I noticed the shopping center was showing  signs of middle age too.  But with just a little imagination, I could see gentrification happening in the next several years.  My guess is that Enrique’s will still be around for that future facelift.  I’ll be there too, having a taco.



TO-CE-CHI – The Freshmaker


4521 Kostoryz Rd
Corpus Christi, TX 78415
(361) 225-2585


4521 Kostoryz Rd

Corpus Christi, TX 78415

(361) 225-2585

FrontA while back a few of us tacoteurs gathered one morning to sample the fare at a spot that came highly recommended: To-Ce-Chi.  To our dismay we found the doors locked and the posted hours informed us we wouldn’t be having breakfast there… ever.  Now I love me some breakfast tacos.  I could eat them three times a day forever and I doubt I’d tire of them.  Breakfast tacos, though, aren’t the only kind of food I can say this about.  I am an omnivore.  I’ll eat almost anything you put in front of me and likely go back for another helping if you don’t have it locked away.  So other types of food are going to start finding their way onto Tacotopia occasionally.  This first supplemental installment is about – what else – lunch tacos.  Kevy the Hat and myself showed up at the To-Ce-Chi at lunch – and we weren’t disappointed. The name To-Ce-Chi is shorthand for Tomate, Cebolla, Chile – Tomato Onion and Peppers.
tacosBefore we even ordered we were served beans – and they were delicious.  I had the #1 – Mexican Tacos (very imaginative) which had 3 soft corn beef taquitos, sauteed onions, lettuce, tomato, avocado and cheese.  The Hat had the #10 – Tacos To-Ce-Chi: Corn tortillas with picadillo guesado, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and cheese.  These were pretty much the same plate but the #10 had the picadillo guisado instead of the shredded beef, and my tortillas were fried where the #10 had fresh tortillas.

Enough already with the specifics!  How was it?  Good.  This food was much more like the mexican food I’d eaten in Mexico.  Heavy with fresh vegetables, fresh tortillas and fresh cilantro one might be tempted to say their food is fresh.  The salsa was a puree of green peppers with a hint of avocado and perhaps some poblano.  The cheese was very much like the cheese in Mexico.
Looking around the place you’d think you were in a stall in a mercado, with every square inch of space filled with something to sell or something to pay tribute.   Kevy noted a bleeding portrait of Jesus complemented by a corner dedicated to Zapata and Villa.  All three of them died for someone’s sins.

La Silberia Los Gallos


La Silberia Los Gallos

4538 Kostoryz Rd

Corpus Christi, Texas


Chorizo & Egg: $1.45

Carne Guisada: $1.75

Large Coffee: $1.05

My elite Tacotopia strike force of three had intended to review the To-Ce-Chi this morning but some advance recon determined we’d be waiting until 11:00, when it opens, unless we fell back and found another target.  This is Corpus Christi so we only had to hump it a half block before we saw signs of more taco activity at La Silberia Dos Gallos.

Shelly immediately confronted the Eggs a la Mexicana.  I stuck to my specialty, as you’ll see later.  Kevin, however, squared off against two of the meaner tacos we’ve come up against in the the wilds of the South Texas desert.

The Rivera-esque Calla Lilies (I think, I’m not botanist) adorning the walls barely concealed the savagery with which we would devour our enemy.  When they set my plate down I almost felt sorry for it, sitting and looking up at me innocently.  But eating is my business, and this morning business was good.


The Chorizo & Egg was excellent.  More than anywhere I’ve been this place was able to keep the egg and chorizo separate while allowing them to mingle.  The result was distinct tastes as you ate of tortilla, chorizo, & egg.  Like a hot fudge sundae with the hot and cold in different parts of your mouth, or the fabled everlasting gobstopper that feeds you a 3 course meal from one jawbreaker.

Then there was the Carne Guisada – not even offered on the breakfast menu but still served – that was amazing.  It had a hearty sauce, viscous and nearly opaque but a deep reddish brown.  The beef was perfectly tender and marbled.  The tortillas themselves we excellent. I’ll now hand the walkie-talkie over to Kevin for his report.


Today’s foray into tacotopia was a journey from one end of the animal to the other – from tounge to tookus.  On the plate this morning were two tacos notoriously avoided by most gringos:  tripas, and lengua.  For the uninitiated, that’s intestines and tongue.

I’m not a stranger to tripas, but long I’ve been told that they should be eaten fried crispy.  And I’ve always followed that advice.  Today, given a choice, I decided to have a more adventurous go at some served soft.  Admittedly, they weren’t my favorite.  Being the first time I’ve had them served this way, it is hard to tell whether it was the chef, or the subject.  Served scalding hot, they were soft, under-spiced, and had a chewy texture that probably takes some getting used to.  The unique tripas taste was present, but magnified 10-times over the hard-fried version. The flour tortilla was good – fresh and hot.

The lengua was really good.  Done a la barbacoa and served in big chunks, it was tender and savory, with just about the right amount of greasiness.  The texture was of a perfectly-cooked roast beef.  It was lonely on the excellent corn tortilla, missing the cilantro and onions that I ordered.  However, the lengua stood alone, defiant in its loneliness…almost as if it had kicked the interloper vegetables off the plate on the way to the table.  No “Where’s the beef?” here.

The coffee was good, Condiments, were so-so.  An order of chopped jalepeños on the side showed signs of a night in the refrigerator.  And the salsa was nondescript.  Not a lot of heat.  Still, a positive taco experience.  I’m sure I’ll visit the place again, if only to try the tripas fried to a crisp.

Shelly had notes to offer as well:

Eggs A La Mexicana Taco

-Met my need for quantity — LOTS of egg with a hearty, handmade corn tortilla (as evidenced by the irregularities in shape and thickness)

-Eggs had that grilled, folded over and bit browned on the outside quality that adds a bit of flavor and holds it all together

-the “a la mexicana” part was colorful but the side of chopped peppers was needed to get to the proper heat level

– The tortilla was delicious — better built for scooping than folding

At the end of the fight we walked out scarred but victorious. We’d had death served up to us by exotic waitresses in matching heliconia skin tight polos with golden butterflies sitting like medals on their chests.  We’d eaten all they had to dish out and asked for more (bread pudding to go).  We’d taken our licks too (we did kill a roach crawling on our table).  It’s all done out of love for our home, Corpus Christi, the greatest place on earth for tacos.