If this place reminds you of a certain fast-food hamburger joint that is known for its arches, don't be surprised. The color, overall layout and decor are very similar, even down to the playground for the kids and the drive-through. But this family-run chain based in Laredo is the most authentic-tasting Mexican fast food you'll find in the city. The large, serve-yourself salsa bar has everything you need to doctor up your food; all the tortillas are oversize and made by hand; and the selection of tacos is very large and includes all the standard favorites as well as specialty items like carnitas and adobada. The tres leches cake, topped with cajeta or caramel, is one of the best ever.
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"My father and I have the same name, but he's known as Pancho," says Juan Francisco Ochoa, owner of the new Mexican fast-food restaurant Taco Palenque (2410 S. Wayside, 713-923-9733). "My father developed the Pollo Loco chain in 197...