It's been awhile since a burger has stopped me dead in my tracks. Such is the arresting power of the trompi-burger at Taqueria La Macro, a new Monterrey-style restaurant in Northside.
I first ended up at Taqueria La Macro after my boyfriend came home from driving down North Main and reported that there was a new restaurant in the neighborhood and it looked like it served trompo. As we've discussed before, true trompo -- pork cooked al pastor-style on a vertical pit with a whole pineapple dripping down onto it as it rotates -- is incredibly difficult to find in Houston. Even at one of my favorite spots, Tacos del Julio, the "trompo" is actually kept in a refrigerator and warmed up on the griddle to order.
When we walked into the bright, well-appointed dining room at Taqueria La Macro, I expected the same. This place simply looked too clean, too modern to have an authentic trompo like places such as Karanchos boast. Yet there it was, a glowing orange beacon from the middle of the open kitchen, topped with a fat golden core of pineapple.
Trompo is a specialty at any Monterrey-style restaurants, and Taqueria La Macro is no exception. And in typical fashion for any restaurant operated by expats from Monterrey, the city and its famous mountains are well-represented from the neon outline of Cerro de la Silla in the window to photos of the chic, urban Mexican city on the walls inside. (When it comes to having pride of place, Texans and Regiomontanos are tied in terms of sheer ostentatiousness.)
Also in true Monterrey fashion, the trompo makes appearances throughout Taqueria La Macro's small menu: You can order it in tacos, taquitos, tortas, quesadillas and even on hamburgers. And although it's very good on a Gringa taco with asadero cheese, folded into a flour tortilla and grilled until oozing, it's even better on a hamburger.
It's also sort of Mexico's answer to a bacon cheeseburger. Here's how it breaks down:
- In place of a hamburger bun, you get buttery torta bread that's crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.
- In place of Cheddar, you get white asadero cheese, a Mexican white cheese that's both salty and creamy.
- In place of bacon, you get sweet, smoky, tender slices of achiote-colored pork straight off the trompo.
- In place of mustard or mayonnaise, I recommend squeezing a bunch of Tacos La Macro's peppy green salsa on top to cut all the richness from the beef, pork and cheese.
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It's a very nearly perfect creation, made all the more wonderful by the fact that it's only $5.95 (including french fries -- and that's where you should use the mayonnaise packets the restaurant gives you along with the burger) and even includes softly caramelized onions on top.
Grab a Modelo for $4 or a Michelada for $5 and settle in with your trompi-burger while you watch soccer on one of Taqueria La Macro's fancy flat-screen TVs. It's the Monterrey way.