The Best Taco in America?

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A few months ago, I was watching TV at a ridiculously late hour when I became hooked on a food network program chronicling Bon Appetit's Best Dishes in America. I watched as they named the best steak and the best pizza. Finally, they came to the best taco in America. I watched anxiously as they counted down from number three, knowing deep in my heart that Houston or San Antonio should rightfully take the prize-winning spot. Sure enough, they gave it to San Antonio's Taco Taco taqueria for their enormous monstrosity known as the El Norteño. We didn't win, but at least our great state beat out those snotty Californian tacos. And when I found myself visiting San Antonio for the weekend, I knew that I would have to make a trip to Taco Taco and see this taco for myself.

Taco Taco is an old-school taqueria on a quiet side of San Antonio located on 145 E. Hildebrand Ave off 281. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but the long line wrapped around the side of the building is certainly enough to pique one's interest. They don't take reservations or even put your name on a waiting list; rather it's first come, first served and until you're served, you're waiting outside in the heat. Luckily, the line moved fairly quickly, and I was able to score a table in the tiny dining area in less than half an hour. Once inside, I ordered the $4.75 beef fajita El Norteño, as seen on TV. That's a pricey taco, but such as are the perils of fame, I suppose.

The El Norteño was a huge beast of a taco that consumed most of the dinner-size plate it was served on. The tortilla was thick and chewy with appetizing grill marks crisscrossing it. It was filled with a smear of refried beans, slices of avocado, grilled onions and peppers, and chunks of tender beef fajita. The flavors melded together nicely, and the beef was intensely juicy and flavorful. The chewy texture of the tortilla was a perfect base for the fatty avocado and creamy beans. It was definitely an excellent taco, but the best in America? I'm not so sure it beats some of the outrageously decadent yet utterly cheap treasures we find in many of Houston's taco trucks. If you're in San Antonio, I definitely recommend trying it, but it's not worth the drive if you're just in it for the taco.

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