Barbacoa tacos and al pastor quesadillas at Tierra Caliente on North Shepherd.

The Carnicería Connoisseur: Tierra Caliente Meat Market & Taqueria

The barbacoa at Tierra Caliente Meat Market & Taqueria was excellent the last time I dropped by for a couple of tacos. They were quite a deal at $1.29 apiece. I also got some tangy marinated pork and mozzarella in a pair of quesadillas al pastor, also a bargain at $1.89 each. For dessert, I picked up a couple of the pecan and caramel candies called Glorias, which ran me 89 cents.

Most of the other folks eating there were Spanish-speaking workers on their lunch break. The millions of Latino laborers who roof our houses, build our highways, and do our landscape work eat a lot of tacos, tortas, hamburgesas and quesadillas every day. And, for a variety of reasons, they don’t like to sit down for lunch in restaurants. The profits to be made feeding this army have inspired every gas station and convenience store in Texas to call itself a taqueria.

Now carnicerias are cashing in on the boom. Places that used to sell nothing but raw meat and groceries are now calling themselves taquerias and selling tacos all day, every day. Many, like Tierra Caliente Meat Market & Taqueria on North Shepherd, have added counters and stools so customers can eat their tacos in the store. – Robb Walsh

Tierra Caliente Meat Market & Taqueria, 4420 N. Shepherd, 713-697 1663

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