Texas. Land of Shiner Bock, queso, beef, dry rub BBQ, and Mexican (okay, Tex-Mex) food. Truly one of my favorite places to chow down. I visited Austin and San Antonio at the end of September, partially to join the 10th Anniversary celebration of Austin City Limits, but let’s be honest, also partially to eat everything I set my eyes on.
I’ll go ahead and admit it, authentic Mexican is great but my heart truly belongs to Tex-Mex, something of which my hometown of Seattle has very little. I knew I had to take advantage of Texas while I could, so one day we headed to the Hildebrand area of San Antonio to a little…establishment…well.. fast food-ish shack imaginatively called Taco Taco.
Quite the luxurious digs, eh? No matter, everyone knows that some of the best food comes from some of the most unassuming exteriors. I took it as a good sign. Speaking of signs, inside Taco Taco there are multiple signs and banners proclaiming that they were named “Best Tacos in America” by Bon Appetit (a bit of internet research informs me this honor was bestowed in 2007). It has also garnered a fair amount of recognition from various Texas publications over the years, so I had to see if it could live up to the hype. Plus I just have a very tacky propensity for needing to try anything proclaimed the biggest, best, most famous, etc…. So I knew I had to go for it and order the taco that made Taco Taco famous: the El Taco Norteño.
It is apparent from first glance that this taco is HUGE. What is obscured by the wall of flour tortilla, though, is the vast sea of fillings inside. Taco Taco is not shy with their ingredients. The Norteño is stuffed to the gills with refried beans, white cheese, heaps of fajita vegetables, and a generous portion of grilled steak. Oh! And a surprisingly large serving of fresh avocado slices, greatly appreciated.
I wasn’t kidding. Taco Taco goes big. Many may balk at refried beans in a taco, but I personally didn’t mind it. Let’s get down to business though; this taco is obviously gigantic, but how was the taste? I have to be completely truthful truthful, Taco Taco, and tell you that the flavor could be a bit more pronounced. For the amount of food, the amount of taste didn’t really live up to my expectations. Was it a good taco? Yes. Did I eat a lot of it? Well, duh, yes. Would I recommend a Norteño to a friend visiting San Antonio? Sure, knock yourself out, it’s fun! Was it the best taco in America, though? Weeeelllll….
I gave up about 2/3 through this beast. It’s probably about 3-4 tacos in one.
After plowing my way through roughly two days’ worth of calories in a half hour, I concluded that this is a classic case of quantity vs. quality. So maybe bigger isn’t always better, but bigger is…BIGGER, and that’s pretty exciting, too.