Sunday, September 8, 2013

100% Taquito

Located off US-59 between Buffalo Speedway and Edloe Street, this little slice of truly authentic Mexican street food is one of the best places for tacos in Houston that is not found on four wheels.  100% Taquito's origins though are not that far off.  It was originally started as a project form the University of Houston and began as a trailer in '96.  Eventually it got a store front but kept the look and feel of a taco stand.  The first thing you encounter when you enter 100% Taquito is that it is painted to look very much like Mexico City including a full sized Volkswagen beetle taxi cab very typical of the city.

The counter where you order your food has a facade made out to resemble food trucks.

!00% Taquito succeeds in providing a good place to eat..  The atmosphere there is always good with TV's showing music videos in Spanish or, as in the case this last time we went, having on Mexican soccer games.  It is never too loud or too crowed so that you can actually have conversations with someone if you choose to eat there.  There is also the option of taking stuff to go when you are on the run.

The menu of 100% Taquito is very simple.  You have your five main types of food (tacos, quesadillas, sopes, tostadas, and tortas).  Within each type of food you have about five or six variations depending on your filling.  Also available are salads, some sides, desserts and some items that just don't fall under any of these classifications, such as the chicken mole with rice or the molletes

Along with the food, 100% Taquito has a varied drink list.  They have a wide choice of Mexican bottled sodas as well as your typical beers.  They also provide juices and fruit slushies as well as some liquor based drinks such as sangria or margaritas.  The chela-rita (a frozen margarita with a bottle of beer upturned in it) is always popular.

For tonight's dinner I choose to order the baderitas and the tacos mixtos.  The banderitas are three chicken or beef flautas (tightly rolled tacos that have been fried) covered with red salsa, cream and queso fresco, and green salsa to form the Mexican flag.
The banderitas are excellent when you get them nice and hot.  You kind of have to eat them right away otherwise the salsa will make them a bit soggy.  While this does not affect the overall taste, it is a much better experience to eat the banderitas hot and crispy.  The three different sauces also provide your palate with some nice variation as you eat them.  The green salsa is tangy with some sour undertones. The cream and cheese provide a nice mellow and cooling contrast with the other two salsas, while the red has an earthy robust flavor.

The tacos come three small tacos to an order on corn or flour tortillas.The tacos mixtos are a basically a sampler of three different types of taco.  They include a chicken mole, asada (beef fajita), and tinga (spicy chipotle brisket).  All tacos come with freshly chopped cilantro and diced onions if you choose.

All of the meats are quite tasty.  They are cooked only after you have ordered them so you can taste the freshness.  The chicken mole is so good my wife has compared it to my mom's.  The fajita meat is nice a tender and juicy.  The brisket is moist and flavorful and not too spicy.  These tacos are best when you add some fresh salsa and lime juice from the salsa bar.

My wife ordered the chicken mole sopes and the esquites (corn in a cup with cream and cheese). The sopes are essentially a thick corn tortilla with black beans, the chicken mole and topped with cilantro, onions and queso fresco. Think of sopes as a cross between tacos and tostadas.  For me, nothing beats these with a little red salsa on top.

The esquites are a cup of roasted corn kettles mixed together with lots of cream, cheese and a spicy chile powder blend.. You can choose to have them with lime juice and a spicy chile powder blend.  Since my wife does not like spicy stuff that much she opted to not have any.

The mixture of corn, cream and cheese is just exquisite.  The flavor play very well with each other.  This serves as a perfect side for any of the other options form the menu.

My wife and I also shared a small order of chicharrones (pork rinds).  They were so fresh, they were still popping when they got to the table.  We added a squeeze of lime juice and I added some Valentina hot sauce and were ready to go.

As far as drinks go, my wife ordered a glass of the sangria.  The sangria is here is always very well made.  They know how to get the right balance between acidity and sweetness.  The wine is front and center but does not push back the natural fruit and juices.

I had two things to drink.  I had a mangonada, which is a natural mango slushy with plenty of the spicy chile powder blend.  If you have never tried it, there are many brands out there such as Tajin.  The beauty of it is that it plays so well with the natural sweet and tangy flavors of the mango.  The mangonada also comes with a Mexican spicy lolipop.

The last thing I had to drink was what they call a michelada.  A michelada is a drink prepared from a beer that has various things added to it such as lime juice, salt, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  I will admit that this drink is not for the faint of heart and may not be up everyone's alley.  But I like it.  It is very refreshing and it gives a new twist to a frosty brew.

The thing that I most like about 100% Taquito, besides the authenticity, is that since the food is very inexpensive and comes in small enough sizes you can be bold and try different things very easily.  So if you are ever in the mood for authentic Mexican street food, come check this place out.

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