Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Super Tacos at Rolando's

Rolando's Super Taco is a Tacoland legend. I had never been there myself, but I had heard murmurings of tacos that no mortal being could take on.. Tacos literally the size of your head. This morning I braved the humidity and heat in order to go where so many have gone before me.

Rolando's Super Taco
919 W Hildebrand Ave - (210) 732-6713

When we walked in we were greeted by Rolando himself. He smiled and welcomed us. As we got close to our table I realized who he was. I have had heaps of Migas lately so I was ready for something altogether different. I was hungry, too, so when I saw that they had free chips I was stoked. There were three salsas provided. One was bright, one roasted, one seemed like a green salsa. None of them had the flavor that I longed for. They were bland and had blind spiciness. The chips were a thick and brittle. No sweet tea, either, so that was another downer.

When I looked at the menu there were plenty of options for vegetarians and now they serve small tacos as well, so you don't have to order something that weighs the same as some newborn babies. I chose the Cheese Enchilada Super Taco. The service was good with frequent refills and tacos in a fairly timely manner.

The flavor of the taco was fully saturating and lively. The layers of beans, cheese, enchilada sauce, lettuce, tomato, and guacamole were perfectly complimenting. The only addition I would have made would have been adding some corn tortilla to the mix to give it the enchilada texture. The American cheese wasn't even half bad with this combination, but I imagine Cheddar would have been so much better. The only major complaint I have was that the tortillas didn't taste home made and they seemed tough, as if they had been microwaved. With a taco of this magnitude you really have to cut it into reasonable sized bites or you'll be wearing it instead of eating it.

I will definitley be back. Rolando's rocked my world.
I give them 3 1/2 out of 5 tacos.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ole Mole!!

Another adorable taco find from Etsy. This is a 5 inch circle painting by Retrogiraffe. Is it not the sweetest? It's a steal at $15.00.

Perfect for Taco Tuesdays! (or, really any day you choose!)

Our little taco friend is painted on 5 inch circle stretch canvas. The sides are painted as well, so it looks great when hung up!

This painting, if you decide to call it your own, will be carefully packaged and shipped to you. (I don't want anything to happen to it, either!) :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dissapointing Migas at Panchito's

With it's papel picado banners and tissue flowers it's like walking into Fiesta. With it's homemade tortillas and abundance of sweet tea it's like walking into heaven. Panchito's is a favorite of our family. Located right off McCullough where it meets Hildebrand is this busy bustling eatery. This is where we most frequently dine out of their locations. You can check out their other location on Zarzamora if that is closer to you.

Panchito's Mexican Restaurant
4100 McCullough Ave - (210) 821-5338

This morning I had another Migas taco, this time with no cheese (I can't bear American), and glorious ice cold sweet tea. This morning Panchito's was off their game. Normally their food is nothing less of splendid. The corn tortilla strips were too soggy and overall the taco was under seasoned. The size was less than impressive for the price. The salsa was even suffering, as it was heavy on the tomato flavor and missing bite. The texture was just not optimal. I had high hopes but this taco was a letdown. I'm glad that I requested no cheese. I am afraid that it would have pushed me over the edge and I would have put the taco straight into the trash. The saving grace was the tortilla. Soft, chewy, slightly stretchy and well toasted. They also serve free chips and salsa with lunch and dinner.

Their parking situation is fairly random.. In the mornings their lot is packed and there is only a couple of spaces, if that, and people are parking along the street. The rest of the day is a crapshoot. There are fewer vegetarian options than I would like, but what they do offer is delicious. Sometimes the service is a little slow, but usually it's very much worth the wait. I plan to give tham another shot and hope that someone called off work this morning..

For now I give them 1 1/2 out of 5 tacos.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Two Tacos from Garcia's

Garcia's is a tiny place on the corner of Fredericksburg and W Craig. The orange exterior and cock fighting velvet paintings (see below) hanging on the interior make this a lively place to grab a bite. This place is also very close to my house, so it's another spot that my family frequents.

Garcia's Mexican Food To Go
842 Fredericksburg Rd
- (210) 735-4525

My husband went to pick up the food this morning. As he arrived the food it was being put in the paper bag. In my experience it takes a little longer at Garcia's than other restaurants, but the wait is so worth it.

I selected a Bean and Rice and Potato, Egg, and Cheese this morning. They included a few little cups of their green salsa. I sat down , unwrapped the foil, uncapped the salsa, dipped the taco and took the first bite.

I chose to start with the Bean and Rice. The tortillas at Garcia's are hand made and perfect. Chewy, soft, stretchy, pliable. They are very very tasty tortillas indeed. I'm not sure if the corn are hand made, but the flour are heavenly. The beans had a wonderful flavor and texture. I could actually tell that the beans were refried by hand, as they had a slightly lumpy consistency and the skins were discernible. The rice was fluffy and firm, yet yielding. An absolutley perfect accompaniment to the beans.

The salsa was a bright green with wonderful fresh flavor. It was pretty spicy. Two dips into the salsa cup had my mouth pretty warm throughout the entire meal.

The Potato with Egg and Cheese was delightful. There was not a terrible amount of flavor in the eggs, but the potatoes were cut very small and cooked until they were soft. They were mixed well together. Garcia's uses Cheddar cheese, though, which makes up for the lack of seasoning.

Neither of the tacos was greasy. They were fresh and tasty. Garcia's does not offer sweet tea, however, and the parking leaves something to be desired. There is a lot of variety offered at this local favorite and they have won their fair share of awards for their cooking. Vegetarians beware, some of the offerings are made with meat seasonings, and I believe the enchilada sauce is meat gravy.

My husband's favorite taco from Garcia's is the fresh Brisket with Guacamole. The house behind the restaurant has a BBQ pit in the back yard. They cook the brisket daily. If you're a meat eater, this is a highly recommended taco to try.

Overall, the tacos were excellent. The only improvements that I could think of would be free chips with lunch and dinner and the availability of sweet iced tea. Other than that, this is taco bliss.

I give them 3 1/2 out of 5 tacos.

Monday, June 16, 2008

My favorite breakfast...

Migas (pronounced MEE-GUS) is a Tex-Mex tangle of eggs, bits of corn tortilla, and a host of savory ingredients, from black beans, chorizo and cheese to salsa, avocado and chiles. Of course, this snob doesn't deal with the meaty bits in my own dish.

Migas is a dish that many professed egg-haters relish, it probably can thank its existence to thrifty cooks looking to use left-over tortillas, since tortillas are an integral part of the dish. The word, migas, in fact, is derived from the Spanish word for crumbs.

I like to tear up 2 corn tortillas per person eating (3 if they're a good eater) with my hands into small pieces and then I drop them into hot oil (I use canola, a little olive, and a little butter) until they are puffy and fairly crispy. Then turn down the head and plop on some salsa (Ro-Tel tomatoes are also good in this dish)..

Let the salsa soak in. Then pour in the eggs. It is of the utmost importance that you use organic free roaming vegetarian eggs. Anything else tastes like Styrofoam. I use 1 egg per tortilla. You can add sausage, bacon, jalapenos, chorizo, garlic, onions, sour cream, or guacamole if you like. I personally like it with diced bell peppers, diced broccoli, shredded potatoes, and crumbled queso fresco. Be creative! Improvisation is the real joy of cooking, you know.

Dust the dish with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. Serve with piping hot flour tortillas and enjoy!!

Migas with Cheese at The Blanco Cafe

I'll start my first review off with the closest restaurant to my house. I eat there more than is probably healthy, but with tacos a mere block and a half away, it's too tempting to pass up. The restaurant was started over 30 years ago and is a San Antonio favorite. Now with multiple locations around the city and a reputation of greatness, it is a Tacoland staple.

The Blanco Cafe #1
1720 Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX - (210) 732-6480

My husband called in the order for our food and in the time it took me to get on some shorts and shoes and drive down the block they were on the counter waiting for me. It never takes more than a few minutes to get our order when we eat here, and it's always pretty busy. This morning there were only two tables that were not occupied.

It should be noted that parking is a bit of a pain. Parking in front is of the parallel variety. Out back there is a gravel lot to fit one row of cars into. There are always cars parked up and down Elsmere. As my son and I made our way up the sidewalk he was chanting "Tacos! Tacos! Tacos!" It's his new favorite word lately.

My favorite waitress got me a huge cup of sweet tea to go with the foil wrapped deliciousness and we went back home. Truth be told, I downed half of it before I got to the car. Two old window unit air conditioners just isn't enough to keep the bustling Blanco cool. Luckily, their sweet tea is so delicious that you don't care that sweat is dripping from your body.

The corn tortilla strips were less crispy than I like. The saltiness of the egg was a perfect match for the subtle spice of the salsa. Their salsa is unique in that it's made with what seems like green chilis and tomato both. It's not too spicy, either. Your mouth simply has a nice warm tingle after you're finished eating. Good flavor, but not the end all be all in the neighborhood. The taco wasn't too greasy, either, which is a bonus for me. As much as I love tacos, I don't like the indigestion that can follow. The Blanco serves reasonably sized tacos for the price. One is enough for me, unless I'm really starving, in which case two leaves me stuffed.

The tortillas are handmade. They were more floury and less soft and chewy than they should be. Unfortunately, their corn tortillas are not made by hand. My main complaint is that they use American cheese on their tacos. American cheese is blasphemous, especially on a taco, so major points are deducted for that. Another great blasphemy in my opinion, no free chips. I have noticed that there are a lot of restaurants now charging for chips. This is an outrage to me, lover of Mexican food. Charge me an extra quarter for my meal and bring on the crisp tasty salty goodness!

Their vegetarian options aren't terrible and there are lots and lots of meat-eating options. They have been voted to have the best enchiladas in the city more than once, but be aware that there is meat in the sauce, even on the cheese variety. You can ask for the cheese sauce (my favorite) or the ranchero sauce instead. The bean and rice taco is also delicious, and I wanted one this morning, but the rice wasn't ready yet at 9:30am.

At under $2 for my taco and almost $2 for my tea, the price was right. The overall flavor and texture of the taco was pleasing. Don't expect wonderful service, though

I give them 2 1/2 out of 5 tacos.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Get Off My Taco Turf!

San Antonio sure has it's fair share of taco trucks. The most noted one that I know of is the truck that services The Saint regularly (no pun intended). They are everywhere in the Alamo City, though, and the communal atmosphere that comes along with fast food (pun absolutley intended).. Just another reason that I call my home Tacoland. Apparently not everyone in the City of Angels shares my affections for these street vendors.
Los Angeles in a stew over taco trucks
By Daniel B. WoodWed May 14, 4:00 AM ET

Swarmed around Leo's Taco truck on Eagle Rock Boulevard, about 50 night patrons are stuffing their cheeks with carne asada tacos – and chewing over one of this city's big controversies: taco trucks.
"Why should a taco vendor be able to park in front of someone else's restaurant and steal his customers away with cheaper food?" asks one man, spearing pinto beans on a paper plate with a plastic fork.
"But making them move every hour is a bad idea," says another as he orders a veggie burrito. "How can a truck vendor keep loyal customers if he has to move so often?"
These patrons, like many Angelenos, are as hot as salsa caliente over new rules that go into effect Thursday – what to do with the 14,000 roving restaurateurs who have brought inexpensive entrees, a sense of community, intensifying competition for diners, neighborhood complaints, and a political brouhaha to the street corners of Los Angeles County.
The new county law makes parking a taco truck in one spot for more than an hour punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail, or both. It replaces a longtime but rarely enforced measure that fined trucks $60 if they stayed in one spot longer than 30 minutes. The law affects unincorporated areas of the city – where about 60 percent of the population lives – and includes East Los Angeles, one of the biggest concentrations of Mexican-Americans in the United States.
The five county supervisors passed the new regulations unanimously a month ago, saying the volume of complaints had reached critical mass in recent years.
With less-expensive menu items and lower overhead, the mobile kitchens were forcing established restaurants to close early and suffer losses, according to the East Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and other business groups.
Bricks-and-mortar restaurants charged that taco trucks were too often parking directly in front of their establishments and siphoning off customers. Growing pressures within the Los Angeles economy – including the soaring prices of gasoline and food and slumping employment – have exacerbated the tension between stationary merchants who have leases to pay, employ many more workers than the mobile vendors – and who dearly need their patrons and parking.
"We have gotten so much negativity from the business community ... [complaining about] how much these trucks take away in business that we felt we had to listen and do something," says Maria Cerdas, a deputy for Supervisor Yvonne Burke. She says more and more trucks have ventured further into residential neighborhoods, where homeowners complain of loud gatherings and music until 2 or 3 a.m.
But the new law is generating a backlash.
Calling themselves the "taco resistance," some 150 of the city's 14,000 licensed vendors have stated they will refuse to comply with the law starting this Thursday. They have hired a lawyer, Philip Greenwald, a veteran of 40 years of representing mobile industrial caterers.
"These trucks pay taxes, they are inspected by the health department, and there is no legitimate reason to be pushing them around," he says. "This is not a matter of unfair competition but restraint of fair trade."
Others worry that one of the city's most distinctive social and cultural features could fall by the wayside.
"Thousands of Angelenos ... have long gathered at the trucks, in many cases since childhood, for quick carnitas burritos or mouthwatering cemitas, ... fired meat and other gut-busting goodness," says a recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times. "Call them what you will: roach coaches, loncheras, snack vans ... but taco trucks are a rich part of our region's heritage."
The Times and a leading political columnist in California, Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee, have called for the county's supervisors to rescind the law as unfair to those at the lower end of the economic ladder.
On Wednesday, a grass-roots campaign (, which has gathered thousands of signatures to petition a change in the law, is sponsoring "Taco Libre" – the chance to enjoy a last mobile entree before the new law takes effect.
"The whole taco truck culture in L.A. fills a void left by traditional restaurants," says Aaron Sonderleiter, whose website trumpets the rallying cry, "Carne asada is not a crime." He says the lower price of truck-vendored food (tacos for a buck, giant burritos for $2.50), longer hours of operation, and the outdoor venues create oases of neighborhood camaraderie, social interaction, and safety that are sorely needed in a city dominated by car travel, gang crime, and little pedestrianism and public transportation.
"This is about more than delicious and inexpensive food," adds his Web partner Chris Rutherford. "It's about people and community and neighborhoods."