Breakfast Tacos at Villa Arcos

Look, I am an Upstate New Yorker who moved to Houston via Fairbanks, Alaska, so I'm not going to shine you on like I'm some world-renowned expert on what a breakfast taco is "supposed" to be, okay? But a few weeks ago, after a rigorous 6 a.m. hot yoga class, my yoga buddy Janet suggested we grab some breakfast tacos at a place one of her co-workers had told her about. "It's over near Ninfa's on Navigation," Janet said, "and my friend said they have the best breakfast tacos in Houston." And then I was all, "Um, okay. I like breakfast, and I like tacos--count me in." We punched the words "Villa Arcos" into our phones and hit the road.

We weren't even inside the small, red house that Villa Arcos calls home when I knew this was going to be an amazing food experience. We arrived around 7:30 a.m., and there was a steady stream of truck drivers grabbing breakfast to go. I worked at a Dunkin' Donuts on the NYS Thruway for a couple of years, and it was always the truck drivers who would steer me to the best food spots in any town. Suffice it to say, I was jumping up and down as we waited in line for our food.

I ordered an egg-and-cheese and a bean-and-cheese taco ($1.70 each), and my friend ordered the chorizo, egg, potato, bean and cheese (super) taco ($3.10); we each added a coffee to our order, bringing us both to $5 and some change, plus tip. They make the tortillas and tacos to order, but we only waited a few minutes before our names were called and we got to dig into our food.

What can I write that will convince you to go to this place? Or maybe you already have--lucky you! The tortillas are like nothing I've ever had before, and I want to wrap all of the food that I eat in them from now on--maybe even sushi. They are soft and warm, and substantial enough to hold the taco innards in. You can't really mess up cheese-and-eggs or cheese-and-beans, although my first egg-and-cheese taco was just slightly more salty than the bean taco.

But this was the first of several visits, and on those I didn't find saltiness to be an issue, so it's possible that I simply overloaded my first egg-and-cheese taco with the spicy green hot sauce they serve on the side.

I did experiment, later, with the "Super" tacos, and while they are delicious, I've decided that I prefer to order two of the basic tacos rather than one super taco.

A quick note for first-timers: Villa Arcos is closed on Mondays, and open 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sundays. It's cash-only, and while there is seating indoors and out, there is no air-conditioning.

Check out our own Katharine Shilcutt's Top 10 East End Favorites, where she shares her thoughts on Villa Arcos and more.

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Christina Uticone