There are neighborhood taquerias, and then there are those like La Morenita on the East Side. Located on the corner of Porter and South Mittman streets, La Morenita is surrounded by homes.
In this pocket of east San Antonio, it seems, you have two choices: La Morenita and Mittman Fine Foods, which gained notoriety when former Mayor Ivy Taylor revealed it as her go-to spot during the media-fabricated taco wars of a few years back.
Inside La Morenita on a recent Saturday morning, the place was packed — to be expected. I found the tacos to be consistently above average, but none that set the benchmark for any specific taco.
The tortillas were worth noting here: They are cooked in some kind of fat, probably oil. So they have that glossy feel to them. The Palate, my partner in taco crime, didn’t prefer them, but I thought they were quite good.
I was feeling adventurous, so I ordered the lengua a la Mexicana. The few times I’ve had lengua tacos, the tongue was thinly sliced, which kind of tricks you for a second into thinking you’re eating a part of the cow that’s not as thick as tongue. La Morenita’s version was indeed chopped tongue, thick pieces of cow tongue that, admittedly, freaked me out. The taste was gamey, and this version wasn’t for me. But this one’s on me not being Mexican enough.
In the machacado, the freshness of the onions really came out as it, and the other veggies, mixed in nicely with the egg. The spiciness of the green pepper kicked in periodically to remind me of its presence.
The country and egg was very good — the egg done just right and not at all greasy from the sausage bits.
The chilaquiles rojos had a heat that kind of creeped up on me. Texturally, this taco was spot on: I loved the semi-crispiness of the red chips complemented by the softness of the egg and other ingredients. The white cheese provided a nice change of pace and flavor profile not normally see with chilaquiles in S.A.
The carne guisada was disappointing as it lacked a depth of flavor. The bean and cheese was about average. And the potatoes in the papa a la Mexicana were well seasoned and cooked perfectly.
The sauces didn’t add much to the tacos. They weren’t bad, just about your average green sauce (serrano-based, it seemed) and child de Arbol red sauce.
If you’re in the neighborhood, La Morenita is definitely worth a stop. There’s a second location at 3313 Gevers Road, on the southeast side.
La Morenita, 750 Porter St., (210) 534-3790
Worth traveling across town for
Average S.A. taqueria. Some hits, some misses
— Ben 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.