Sometimes you eat a taco and nothing happens. The taco is average and uninspiring. And you consume it and no memories are made and you move on with your life. You go to Wal-mart.
And then there is something like the bacon and egg on corn at Los Compadres in what I call the Quasi West Side — the John Jay High School area between the West Side and Loop 410.
First, the waitress asked “Mixed? Or strip?” I chose the latter. But it was the smell of the corn tortilla that immediately struck me. Rick Bayless talks about how steam continues to cook a corn tortilla when it’s placed in the warmer. I imagined the steam from the egg doing just this to this tortilla and when I unwrapped the foil — poof — a hit of corn aroma.
This aroma was intoxicating and stronger than any corn tortilla I’ve had — by far. And then I noticed that there was a taco before me. Oh right, I forgot. Sitting there in the foil was a rustic yellow corn tortilla topped with scrambled egg and about the handsomest strip of bacon you’ll ever see. The tortilla was soft, the bacon semi-chewy and delicious. The egg was egg.
The bean and cheese I also ordered on corn, and this taco had a similar effect. The cheese melted in with the beans to create maximum gooeyness. It had that mixture of fat and cheese and bean flavor on that excellent corn tortilla. One of the best tacos I’ve had.
So let’s talk a little bit more about Los Compadres’ corn tortillas. To me, they tasted like the Maseca mix I use at home. To tortilla purists, this is not a good thing. To the majority of folks who don’t know what all goes into a corn tortilla, it probably doesn’t matter.
I’m somewhere in the middle. If these corn tortillas were made from a masa mix — which you can tailor anyway with other ingredients — who cares? Those corn tortillas might be the best I’ve had so far as The Tacoist.
The other tacos I had on boring old flour tortillas.
The carne guisada was very good. It had a nice thick stew and super tender meat and the flavor lasted — the sign of a well balanced and composed braised dish. You could really taste that chili powder and tomato paste to give it that depth of flavor.
The papa con chorizo was the lone miss. And it was a big miss. The potatoes looked whole, but they were too mushy. It was borderline mashed potatoes. Which, now that I write this, doesn’t sound so bad. But not my preference. The chorizo wasn’t as big a player in this taco as I wanted. And besides the potatoes needed seasoning.
The Quasi West Side for a lot of people might as well be BFE. Is it too far a distance to drive to eat some of the best corn tortillas in San Antonio? It’s not.
Los Compadres, 7546 Marbach Road, (210) 674-9881
— Worth traveling across town for
— Average S.A. taqueria. Some hits, some misses
— Mostly misses
— Benjamin Olivo
What do you think? Is there a taco I should have ordered, but didn’t? Have any taco news, issues or concerns? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.