100 Favorite Dishes 2013-2014: No. 37, Trompo Tacos at Taqueria La Macro
The ruddy trompo is spicy, juicy and totally addictive.
Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg
This year, leading up to our annual Menu of Menus® issue, Kaitlin Steinberg counts down her 100 favorite dishes as she eats her way through Houston. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most awesome, most creative and, of course, most delicious in town. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that seem particularly indicative of the ever-changing Houston foodscape.
The word trompo comes from the Spanish for "spinning top," which is what the vertical rotating skewer stacked with meat resembles. The whole apparatus looks like the preparation for Middle Eastern shawarma, and that's likely because Lebanese immigrants to Mexico brought some of their cooking techniques with them when they left their homeland.
Today, trompo is traditionally slices of pork marinated in chiles and pineapple or citrus that's then cooked on a rotating spit. It's sliced to order, which means it's super fresh, and the mixture of spices and acidic pineapple breaks down the bromelain in the meat, which means it's also super tender.
Barbacoa tacos on either end and trompo in the center.
I daresay La Macro makes the best trompo tacos in town. They're tiny--the diameter of each homemade corn tortilla is probably no more than three inches. They come with diced onions and a bit of fresh cilantro and nothing else, which may be surprising to those of us accustomed to Tex-Mex with guac and cheese and pico and anything else we can fit between a tortilla.
For a truly classic trompo taco, ask for sliced pineapple on top as well (it's an extra $.50, but worth it). And that's it. Pork, pineapple, onions and cilantro in a tiny doubled corn tortilla. Sounds simple, but it's the trompo that makes La Macro the best taqueria in town.
The trompo is almost impossibly red, like tandoori chicken, but with different spices to give it that ruddy complexion. It's spicy, too. Nearly spicy enough that I didn't need the extra homemade tomatillo and red chile salsa La Macro provides. There's a burst of heat in each bite, followed by a rush of acid, and then the fresh zing of onions and cilantro. Finally, the tortilla calms the taste buds once more until you go back for another bite.
It should also be noted that, while the trompo tacos are my clear favorite, the barbacoa and chicken tacos at La Macro are wonderful as well. If spicy, tender pork isn't your thing, give one of those a try instead. But if spicy, tender pork isn't your thing, you're probably crazy.
See the full list of favorites on the next page.
The list so far: No. 38: Spicy Tamale Plate at La Mexicana No. 39: Mum's Chicken Curry At The Queen Vic Pub No. 40: Canestri alla Funghi at Paulie's No. 41: Biscuit with Marmalade and Crème Fraîche at Blacksmith No. 42: Fried Oyster Po'Boy at Goode Company Seafood No. 43: Roasted Duck Red Curry at Morningside Thai No. 44: BBQ Pulled Wild Boar Sandwich at Sammy's Wild Game Grill No. 45: Guanciale Burger at Plonk No. 46: Parma 600 Pizza at Pizzeria Solario No. 47: CFC Deviled Eggs at Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar No. 48: The El Real Burger at El Real Tex-Mex Cafe No. 49: Custard Sandwich at Petite Sweets No. 50: Black Pepper Beer Lobster at Hai Cang Seafood Restaurant No. 51: Red Dragon Roll at Michiru Sushi No. 52: Fried Bananas Foster at Custom Confections No. 53: Bánh Canh Hue at Simply Pho No. 54: Kimchi Koagie at Koagie Hots No. 55: The Juicy Lucy Burger at Lowbrow No. 56: Eggplant Fries at Batanga No. 57: Macarons at Ganache Dessert Bar No. 58: Grilled Cheese at The Golden Grill No. 59: Baklava French Toast at Harry's Restaurant & Cafe No. 60: Patata e Funghi Pizza at Pizaro's No. 61: Old Fashioned Frito Pie at Armadillo Palace No. 62: Korean Spiced Brisket Plate at Revival Market No. 63: Bánh Mì at Les Givral's Sandwich and Cafe No. 64: Squirrel Master Burger at Cottonwood No. 65: Shorty Mac at H-Town StrEATS No. 66: Enchiladas de Mole at La Guadalupana No. 67: Bad Ass Hambur-Torta at Pistolero's No. 68: Green "Hurry Curry" at Nit Noi No. 69: Dozen Raw Oysters at Pappas Seafood No 70: Banana Split at Cloud 10 Creamery No. 71: Lazy Lane Frites at Brasserie 19 No. 72: Chicken Pot Pie at Kenny & Ziggy's No. 73: Chili Cheese Mac from Jus' Mac No. 74: Taco al Pastor at Taco Keto No. 75: 'Date With a Pig' at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop No. 76: The Heights Burger at Gratifi No. 77: Lamb Lollipops at Américas No. 78: Mortadella Sandwich at 13 Celsius No. 79: Carnissima Pizza at Coppa Osteria No. 80: The Marie Laveau Sandwich at Sandy Witch No. 81: Catfish and Grits at The Breakfast Klub No. 82: Grilled Ahi Tuna at St. John's Fire No. 83: Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches No. 84: Greek Burger at Hubcap Grill No. 85: Pork Tamales at Irma's No. 86: Ham, Egg & Cheese Crepe at Melange Creperie No. 87: Crab Daddy Bao at Fat Bao No. 88: Sesame Soft Balls at Golden Dim Sum No. 89: Porchetta e Fagioli at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 90: Uncle Daryl's Cake at The Chocolate Bar No. 91: Lobster Cake Benedict at Sorrel Urban Bistro No. 92: Homeroom at Bernie's Burger Bus No. 93: Vuelve a la Vida Soup at Connie's Seafood No. 94: Foie Gras Mac & Cheese at BRC Gastropub No. 95: Sweet Potato Gnocchi at Brooklyn Athletic Club No. 96: Chicken and Waffles at Adair Kitchen No. 97: Soft Pretzel from Mongoose Versus Cobra No. 98: Bulgogi Tacos with Kimchi at Chi'Lantro No. 99: Almond Croissant at Phoenicia No. 100: Bangkok Fries at Boheme
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