I got a carne guisada taco and a picadillo taco, both on flour tortillas, for $1.89 each. And, properly topped with salsa, onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime, they tasted damn good. But I wonder what El Tiempo plans to do with the place in the long term. Will it become the prototype for a homegrown Houston burrito chain?
Barbacoa seems to be the favorite here, and I did sample some of that tender, succulent meat, though it was a gordita that I gobbled up full-speed, stuffed with melty cheese along with juicy fajita and sausage that had been added before my very eyes. I also went for the eye-catching red inside-skirt steak, fajita asada adobado (most people associate fajita with outside skirt steak which is made up of more marbled fat, but this cut is a tad leaner). Laurenzo tells the Press that the steak actually undergoes a sous vide process wherein it's put under pressure in a vacuum-sealed pouch with ice cold water and a spice mix that helps to tenderize the meat and also gives it that red DayGlo factor that rivals any banh mi's Vietnamese barbecue pork.
This taco was giant with its added spoon-slick of refried beans and rice, and a side of spicy salsa verde that I poured over the top, practically chanting my devotion to the tortilla itself, that hot, griddled perfection. This taco now has a place in my heart right next to Gerardo's barbacoa. It's good. Dangerously good.
"From a humble meat market for immigrants to a fast casual Tex-Mex taco stand, the transformation of the carniceria at 5226 Washington Avenue is a fast action view of the way Mexican food evolves in Houston," Walsh wrote back in 2008, but even if that's entirely true, the tacos here still kick ass...to this Houston interloper anyway.