Food Fight: Battle Breakfast Taco

There are those of us who are naturally early risers. And to those people go such wonderful things as brilliant sunrises, early morning calm, blessedly empty streets and the smell of freshly brewed coffee. And then there are the rest of us, for whom significant motivation is required to crawl out from under the burrow of sheets. And what greater motivation is there than the allure of breakfast tacos?

Breakfast tacos are just one of the many benefits to living in Houston (in case you forgot that there were any). Although they are ubiquitous here, you'll quickly find as you move east or north that you'll be virtually unable to satisfy any cravings you have for flour tortillas filled with eggs and meat, unless you take matters into your own hands.

As a result of its omnipresence, every Houstonian has a favorite breakfast taco place. This week -- to shake things up a bit -- we asked our followers on Twitter to recommend their favorite taco places for us to try. We had lots of votes for Whataburger (hey, Texans love their Whataburger), along with a few more suggestions, which we've pitted in battle for your dining pleasure.


Breakfast taco platform: Thin flour tortilla, obviously mass-manufactured.
Breakfast taco ingredients: Fried potato sticks, egg and cheese.

The marketing geniuses at Whataburger recently had the brilliant idea to offer their entire menu 24 hours a day. That means that no matter what time of day or night you've decided to get drunk, Whataburger's utterly milquetoast potato, egg and cheese "taquitos" will be waiting patiently for you. Whether you want to soak up all the whiskey in your stomach or simply to plow something into your mouth -- it doesn't matter what -- because anything sounds good when you're drunk, these relatively flavorless tacos will do the trick, being the food equivalent of milk of magnesia.

Other uses include bringing them in to your coworkers on a Monday morning, fully knowing that their day is already so bad that any type of free food will cheer them up, and then seizing the moment when they're in a breakfast taco haze to convince them to cover your presentation for you later that day.

Chiloso's Taco House

Breakfast taco platform: Housemade flour tortilla, very thick and with a few scorched spots.
Breakfast taco ingredients: Egg in both. One with Chappell Hill sausage, one with chorizo.

This tucked-away restaurant at 701 E. 20th Street in the Heights is as neighborhoody as they come, with nearly an entire store's worth of Kirkland's merchandise hanging from the walls, colorful signs entreating you to "LAUGH LIKE YOU MEAN IT" and "FOCUS ON FAITH." Mercifully, there's a relatively calmer patio. The ladies working the tacos mean business, but always have a smile on their faces.

Despite their pleasant demeanor and the ridiculously good tortillas (they should sell these by the pallet, with butter), the fillings were only average. An ominous three pepper mark next to the Chappell Hill taco translated to an absolute lack of heat, and the chorizo was equally bland. Fortunately, the silken yet spicy green sauce included in our bag of tacos perked them up quite a bit.

Brother's Taco House

Breakfast taco platform: Housemade flour tortillas, also very thick and toothsome.
Breakfast taco ingredients: Egg and chorizo in one. Chicharones in the other.

The taco stand at 1604 Dowling, just outside of downtown and across the street from Sparkle Burger, is an excellent cross-section of humanity on weekday mornings. But who cares about humanity when the best breakfast tacos in town are waiting inside?

This is how a breakfast taco should taste: dense yet fluffy tortillas gently coddling a pastiche of eggs and perfectly spiced chorizo. You don't even need salsa for this taco. Take a walk on the wilder side, though, and get a taco filled with pillowy chicharrones in a piquant red sauce (similar yet totally different from the green sauce-coated chicharrones at Guadalajara on Washington Avenue) to really perk up your morning, no coffee necessary. Your stomach and senses will thank you.


As if there were a question: Brother's Tacos, hands down. Get thee to Dowling Street tomorrow morning and find out for yourself.

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Katharine Shilcutt