Ricos Tacos Lupe

26 May

I think my boss was concerned with the progress of my taco blog and started giving me Tuesdays off so I can keep my loyal readers up to date on all the taco goings-on around the city. Here’s what you all have been waiting for….

This week’s taco adventure took me and my research assistant Annie to Ricos Tacos Lupe, a place that I had mistakenly been calling Rico’s Tacos (note the difference in punctuation). Located at 802 Southwest Blvd it is neighbors to some favorite SW BLVD haunts including Taqueria Mexico, Berbiligia and The Guadalupe Center.

Unable to pass up $1 street tacos Annie and I made our way to Ricos Tacos for lunch. Arriving at the restaurant during what appeared to be the lunch rush, the place was packed. The place is small and offers just a few tables so there was a bit of a wait. After we were finally seated a young boy (who probably should have been in school) greeted us at our table with chips and salsa and a menu with pretty funny spelling errors.

The salsa we were offered wasn’t especially interesting, lots of tomato taste, lots of salt. We were able to make due with the green salsa that lived in a condiment bottle on the table. And it’s a good thing we discovered that tasty green salsa or we may not have survived lunch. After giving our taco order to the waitress Annie and I waited for what seemed like an eternity to get our tacos. We sat and waited as tables seated at the same time or after us ordered, got their food, finished and left. I’m sure you’re thinking “why didn’t you complain, dummies?” I’m sure one of us would have said something had anyone ever bothered to stop at our table. Finally, a woman walked by and took notice of the bones protruding from my face as I nearly starved to death and handled the situation.

Our tacos finally arrived and looked delicious. I ordered beef cheeks (or “checks” as the menu said), carnitas, and al pastor. Annie ordered al pastor, carnitas and asada tacos. The tacos were served in two warm, soft corn tortillas with onions and cilantro. Annie enjoyed her carne asada tacos the most. She said the meat was seasoned perfectly. My favorite taco of the afternoon was the carnitas taco. The al pastor tacos were alright, but certainly not my favorite in the city.

I think it is important to mention that our tacos were deliciously washed down with an ice cold “Mexican” Coke. Maybe it’s the real sugar. Maybe it’s the glass bottle. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s called Mexican coke but is probably bottled in the US. Whatever it is, that “Mexican” Coca Cola is too irresistible to be passed up.

Final verdict of Ricos Tacos Lupe? Well, if I hadn’t thought about chewing Annie’s hands off (I need mine to type and they are therefore too valuable to eat even in emergency situations) because my order took so damn long I would have given them a more glowing review. But since I sat like a pendeja for an hour waiting for their tacos I can’t with good conscience highly recommend Ricos Tacos, even if they are rico.



26 May

First, I’d like to apologize to everyone for the delay between posts. Believe it or not, taco blogging is harder than it looks. Spread the word so I can start selling ad space, quit my job and devote my life to my true passion in life- tacos.

My next taco adventure took me and my research assistants, Maggie and Michelle, to beautiful Kansas City, KS to Amigo’s. Located right off 18th Street Expressway and Steele Road, Amigo’s can’t be missed. For those of you familiar with the area it is in the same shopping strip as an old Circle B (and for some of you, right next to where you pay your Cricket bill).

The taco Tuesday special at Amigo’s is 4 tacos for $4.99 or 3 tacos and two sides (fideo, rice, refried beans or charro beans) for $4.99. You have your choice of chicken or ground beef in a regular crunchy shell or FRIED! tacos. We all ordered some combination of chicken and ground beef tacos and sides. Michelle chose fideo and beans for her sides, I chose the classic combination of rice and beans and Maggie went with both types of beans.

If you ever have the option of getting fried tacos you shouldn’t hesitate to order them. If you are watching your weight and are worried about the extra calories associated with a fried taco then you shouldn’t be eating Mexican food in the first place. Like most things, tacos are better when fried. Both the chicken and ground beef tacos were delicious and made the whole trip worthwhile. I sampled the regular crunchy shell and wasn’t so impressed. I should have followed my own advice and stuck to strictly fried tacos. The tacos are your typical taco- iceberg lettuce and cheese topped with your choice of salsa. Three out of the three people I polled agreed that the tacos were surprisingly tasty.

The sides I ordered were bland at best. The rice looked like it was trying hard to be Spanish rice (or sopa as “we” call it), but that’s about it. Basically, it tasted like orange rice. The beans were just mush.

If you’re looking for an authentic Mexican restaurant, Amigo’s probably ain’t it. On the surface Amigo’s has all the makings of an authentic Mexican restaurant (or home)- no real theme in it’s decorations, posters of dead celebrities, loud Ranchero music, etc. A closer look will reveal that that is probably not the case:

First clue- white waitresses.

Second clue- you can also order an order of hot wings or fried tenderloin with your tacos.

Third clue- Amigo’s also offers a St. Patrick’s day corn beef and hash special.

Take from those clues what you will. Amigo’s may not be the most authentic of Mexican restaurants, but they serve delicious tacos. When asked if she had anything to say about Amigo’s Michelle offered this lame quote, “they found one in me.” Thanks, Michelle.

Esmerelda’s Food

26 May

After a late Saturday night full of birthday and bachelorette parties Annie and I found ourselves in need of a taco night cap. We needed a taco truck. “I’m ready for this taco escapade,” Annie said. With a willing participant and “Escapade” by Janet Jackson providing the soundtrack I headed for the BLVD.

If I can offer one piece of advice from all my travels and adventures it is this- NEVER turn down street food. Sure, you’re taking some chances but it is almost always worth the risk.

We stopped at the first taco truck we found, Esmerelda’s Food, parked on Southwest Boulevard across from a place called Boulevard Nights. (I think it used to be Oasis?) We tentatively walked up to the truck unsure of what we were getting ourselves into. I ordered our tacos in Spanish- 2 carne asada, 1 al pastor, 1 carnita and 1 chicharron- and waited for the friendly man to hand me my food. While we waited one of the more unsavory looking patrons climbed into his beat up Honda Civic hatch back with 4 different colored panels, revved his engine, spun his tires and peeled out, flinging mud and rocks all over the rest of us in the process. None of us were impressed. Well, I could tell Annie was a little impressed.

The tacos, however, were impressive. As you would expect buying tacos off the street would yield street tacos. I especially liked the carnitas taco. The pork was a little dry, but delicious. The carne asada was deliciously seasoned and tender. All were served on two soft corn tortillas with a generous amount of cilantro (my favorite) and just the right amount of onions. On a table on the sidewalk we found limes, cucumbers and two different types of salsa- green and red. Both salsas were spicy and flavorful. I made the mistake of putting both on all my tacos, so I had no real way of distinguishing which one I liked better.

I can’t recommend the chicharron tacos. I knew what I was getting myself in to, and I don’t know why I did it. A chicharron (at least from what I was told by grandmother, who has a propensity for making up her own language) is a pork rind. I like pork rinds. I do not like cooked pork rinds; and I do not like tacos made with cooked pork rinds. I tried it to be adventurous and to prove myself as a taco reviewer. One bite was enough. No amount of cilantro and lime could save it.

If you ever find yourself on Southwest Boulevard late at night, you would be doing yourself a favor to find Esmerelda’s Food.  The name might not be creative, but the tacos are amazing and cheap at $2 a pop. Buen provecho!

El Patron

26 May

My first adventure in taco reviewing took me to El Patron located at 2950 Southwest Blvd in Kansas City, MO. I, along with 3 friends/research assistants, headed to El Patron around 6:45 Tuesday evening with hopes of getting a spot on their rooftop patio. No dice. Apparently we weren’t the only hungry taco fans with that idea. Instead, on a beautiful Kansas City evening, we were ushered to the back corner of the restaurant far away from any windows or fresh breezes.  

Shortly after we were seated a young man with a wispy mustache brought us a small bowl of chips and 2 ramekins of salsa- one hot and one mild. It’s no secret that gringos love chips and salsa, any Mexican worth their salt knows that and plans accordingly. Maybe there is a salsa shortage I’m not aware of and that’s why we were given such small portions. We quickly devoured our salsa rations and had to ask for more. The hot salsa was pretty good, but not especially spicy. The mild salsa was nothing to write home about. I’m pretty sure it was just a can of tomatoes and a can of salt blended together. 

The Taco Tuesday special at El Paton is $1.49 tacos- ground beef, chicken and al pastor tacos. Deciding that if I wanted to be a respected taco blogger I needed to sample various items, I ordered one of each. I opted for crunchy corn taco shells over soft flour and crunchy flour. (Personally, I don’t believe in soft flour taco shells. That’s just a burrito.) Annie ordered a al pastor taco and a chicken taco in a crunchy flour shell. Michelle ordered the chicken taco platter (with soft flour shells…). James ordered fish tacos. 

Having tried the al pastor tacos a few weeks before, I knew what to expect-tender  marinated pork, cilantro, onions, a soft corn tortilla and a wedge of lime. I thought the al pastor tacos were pretty delicious, but could have benefited from more cilantro. Annie wasn’t so impressed. 

The crunchy tacos are where things start to get dicey. Before I could even taste the tacos I was already at odds with El Patron. My two crunchy tacos were served to me in two bright yellow pre-made “Old El Paso” style taco shells. (The kind white moms use to make tacos, or my grandma when she is being lazy.) Boo. I was expecting fried tacos. 

I thought the chicken tacos were just alright. Michelle said she thought they were a “safe choice.” By safe I can only assume she meant they had no real flavor in any direction. Annie thought the chicken was moist and tender. “I wouldn’t day dream about it” she said. Neither would I. 

James loved his fish tacos. They are served on flour tortillas with cabbage and a slice of avocado. The one small bite James offered me was actually pretty good. James also thought the waitress was “really smooth.” Whatever that means.  

The ground beef tacos were the night’s biggest disappointment. They can only be described as Spaghetti-O’s in an Old El Paso shell topped with ice berg lettuce. If you have any taste buds you should avoid the ground beef tacos at all costs- even if they are on special. 

So, to summarize my visit to El Patron I will say this- go for the al pastor and what I can only assume is a lovely patio and never ever order the ground beef tacos. I have heard their margaritas are delicious and strong (maybe to make up for those wack shells).

Please feel free to comment if you agree or disagree with my assessment. Also, I would love suggestions for next week’s edition. If you just want to comment about how fat it is to have a taco blog, then you can keep that to yourself (and go F yourself).