By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Minh T Truong
By Molly Dunn
By Brooke Viggiano
By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Molly Dunn
By Molly Dunn
By Eating Our Words
4. Taqueria Tacambaro
2520 Airline Drive, behind Canino's Market
One word: mollejas. No other truck — or restaurant, for that matter — does sweetbreads like Taqueria Tacambaro does sweetbreads. The execution on the delicate little glands is always consistent, always perfect: a crispy exterior that parts with a crunch to reveal a moist, meaty, nearly gooey interior that will turn anyone wary of sweetbreads into a true believer. Although this truck is often MIA, you'll find it behind Canino's Market when it's out. Finish your meal with a few slices of pineapple sprinkled with chile en polvo from the market, or a marronito from El Bolillo bakery across the street.
3. Taco Keto
1401 Cullen at Clay
The ruddy hue on the tacos, gorditas and "kesadillas" at Taco Keto will look familiar if you've had the pambazo at Taqueria Tariacuri — all of them have been given a run through roasted guajillo chile sauce before being tossed on the hot griddle. The salsa puffs up the tortillas on the tacos ever so slightly, giving them a softer and simply more enjoyable texture than a plain old corn tortilla. And as with our No. 1 spot, Taco Keto edges out much of its competition by serving all of its dishes with sautéed onions (in addition to the raw white kind) and a roasted jalapeño. The accompanying green sauce is for the truly brave, however, so beware.
2. Bansuri Indian Food Corner
11200 Wilcrest at Stancliff
This Missouri City-area taco truck is open only at night, but what a crush of business it does during those evening hours. Bansuri Indian Food Corner flips open its window promptly at 6:30 p.m. every night (except Sunday, when it's closed) and stays open for only two and a half glorious hours — three on Friday and Saturday nights. The line is long but moves swiftly as customers swing by for their nightly fix of dabeli (made from an old family recipe) or dahi puri. Those dabeli are Bansuri's most popular item, and it's easy to see why: Savory potatoes and cumin are combined with the sweet flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon mix on a fluffy, barely toasted bun that's the Indian — and vegetarian — equivalent of a slider. Everything here is vegetarian, in fact, and has been since Bansuri first opened in 2008 as Houston's first Indian food truck.
1. El Ultimo
Long Point and Jacquelyn
The man who first introduced me to El Ultimo, Houstonia food editor Robb Walsh, recently revisited the Long Point taco truck and proclaimed that it's still his "No. 1 breakfast taco truck" after all these years. I'm with him, except that I'd extend that No. 1 status to all of El Ultimo's offerings — especially its tacos de orejas (when the truck has the chewy pig ears in stock) and slippery, soft tacos de barbacoa. Every element of El Ultimo's tacos is to my mind perfect, combining to form the platonic ideal of a hot, fresh taco: Soft, puffy, homemade corn tortillas wrapped around well-seasoned meat, buttery slices of avocado, defty sautéed onions, herbal cilantro and a final sprinkle of salty cheese. These are the tacos by which I judge all others — the tacos that no other truck has yet surpassed. El Ultimo stands the test of time year in and year out.
The Eating Our Words 100
Of Baked Goods and Breakfast
Trancito Diaz, owner and chef of La Guadalupana.
La Guadalupana Bakery and Café is a small, unassuming restaurant tucked away in the corner of a small lot that it shares with a convenience store and a washateria. It's easy to miss if you're driving down Dunlavy any given day of the week and not actively looking for it. However, if you do venture inside, you will discover some of the best Mexican food Houston has to offer.
La Guadalupana is a gem in Montrose, receiving plenty of attention over the years for its breakfasts and baked goods. This is thanks to owner and head chef Trancito Diaz, who opened the restaurant more than a decade ago. Diaz first came to the United States from Mexico as an immigrant in 1982, where he started out as a simple dishwasher. This first job would serve as a mere jumping off point that would eventually lead to Diaz opening his own establishment.
What does he do?
Diaz oversees the full menu at La Guadalupana. Over the years he has acquired a binder full of recipes. "It holds all the recipes I've obtained over the years with my own personal modifications to fit my own style and make them unique to me." He manages the restaurant every day and employees his son, Robert, as a manager as well.
How did he end up here?
Diaz first learned to bake back home in his own kitchen. However, when he first moved here he got a job as a dishwasher at the River Oaks Country Club. After he'd been at the country club about three months, an opportunity to become a baker opened and he went for that job. Three months after that move, he was promoted to head baker. After some time at the country club, Diaz wanted more and decided to pursue French baking to expand his knowledge and skills of baking.