A Hungry International Crew
Thump, thump, thump! That was the sound rumbling in my head as we left the Tim Xavier show at The FWD last Saturday. But something else was rumbling that hot and steamy night; our stomachs. The crew and I worked up quite an appetite as we laughed, drank and danced our way into the wee hours of the morning.
As we piled into the Volvo, we all decided that nothing else would satsfy our ravenous appetite like some good, old-fashioned Mexican street food. Since moving to Houston this past February, I’ve been meaning to give Tacos El Tepache a try. Regulars hang around El Tepache at all hours of the day, snacking and chit-chatting with the friendly chefs and locals. I often see Jimmy, the local beggar cashing in his winnings for some savory south of the border delights.
“Tacos El Tepache it is!” I yelled as we cautiously made our way to our tasty destination. We finally arrived. A beautiful international crew composed of two African Americans, a Mexican American, Guatemalan American, Asian American and one European (A Spanish Conquistador), approached the taco truck and was promptly greeted by Kike, the cheerful graveyard shift chef. Even at 3:30 am, Kike was extremely friendly and patient, as he methodically explained the menu for the day. As the self-proclaimed connoisseur of Mexican street food, I quickly ordered the Tacos El Tepache specialty; Tacos al Pastor and the less common Tacos de Chicharron.
The Tacos al Pastor were superb! (3 in one serving, maiz, cebolla & cilantro) The marinated, finely-chopped, pork butt pieces over-satiated my taste buds with every bite. Hints of cinnamon, vinegar and chipotle filled my palate, balanced by the tanginess of pineapple and something else I could not quite identify; perhaps a secret ingredient? Unsurprisingly, the Tacos de Chicharron did not disappoint. (2 in one serving – maiz) The sloppy mixture of fried pork rinds and tomato based sauce overloaded my senses, conjuring distant childhood memories of long nights near a campfire at my uncles ranch; however, this one being slightly spicier (Serrano, I think) and full of garlic. The international crew was equally satisfied, having enjoyed a variety of delicious tacos. The salsa choices were limited; homemade green and dark red. The green being a mild, tomatillo based salsa with a tangy aftertaste and the dark red was a smoky, bold, onion-serrano mixture; perfect for the Tacos al Pastor. As I congratulated chef Kike for a fine meal and admired the drawing of the scantly clad woman on the side of El Tepache’s truck, the need for sleep grew stronger and stronger. Yes, at the end of the day, as I curled up in bed,the tacos at Tacos El Tepache left me satisfied, happy and in a beaded sweat, as Tim Xavier would put it.