La Morenita, 750 Porter St.

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
Mostly 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

Los Cinco Hermanos, 311 N. New Braunfels Ave.


And the award for the coolest name for a taqueria goes to Los Cinco Hermanos, which could be the title of Quentin Tarantino’s next movie. I’m thinking a spaghetti western complete with epic and grand Ennio Morricone-style music, the five brothers on horses, galloping toward the camera while putting away beans and cheese.

Go ahead and nominate Los Cinco Hermanos for best hand-painted signage, too. I admit that the more of the menu that’s painted on a taqueria’s facade, the more I’m drawn to the place. This one even comes with caricatures of cows and pigs looking all cute before they’re ground up, seasoned and put in tortillas.

Los Cinco Hermanos looks so cool that my expectations for their tacos were unrealistic. I mean, look at the photo — the cow has lipstick!

None of the tacos made me want to get a tattoo of the promiscuous cow — band name alert! — but they were solid across the board with only a few misses and decent tortillas.

My taco companion and I started with two tacos uncommon on San Antonio menus: carne con chile rojo and the bean and rice.

I really enjoyed the meat in the red chile sauce, which was spicy and very tender. I had trouble delineating what peppers they used, but the combination resulted in an earthy and mellow flavor (strong in garlic) that put the emphasis on the meat itself.

The bean and rice is a taco I make at home often, but that is a rarity on local menus. We ordered this one on corn. To be honest, I couldn’t get a good read on the beans because there was like a whole ladle of rice in this taco. But it definitely worked.

The potato a la Mexicana was perhaps the best taco with its well done potatoes and charred veggies. The country ranchero had a very nice tomato flavor and you could really taste the bell pepper, which was more of a player and less of an afterthought. The chilaquiles were crunchy, but I wanted way more egg and cheese.

The carne guisada was so-so with a strong chile powder flavor. Thick and muddy, which I loved. As thick a stew as you’ll ever see. Unfortunately, it desperately lacked seasoning.

So I enjoyed Los Cinco Hermanos. Good food. Great service. I interacted with literally four of the staff while I was there. This includes the owner who asked why I was taking pictures of the outside. Because I’m a sucker for cartoons of a dolled-up animals. At least they didn’t put lipstick on the pig.

Los Cinco Hermanos, 311 N. New Braunfels Ave., (210) 444-1028

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

Guerrero’s, 1859 Rigsby Ave.

Chicharron prensado
Chicharron prensado

Driving down Rigsby Avenue on the East Side, Guerrero’s Mexican Restaurant beckoned. I’m sure it was it’s small stature and brick facade.

This stretch of Rigsby isn’t exactly the commercial hub that is W.W. White Road if you keep driving east. But it’s lined with enough businesses, including a few Mexican restaurants such as this one, to hold its own. Next to Guerrero’s is Rios Barbacoa No. 9, and next to it an AA room.

My buddy and I walked in and we ate tacos. But it wasn’t until I was at the register that I realized the Mexican-ness of Guerrero’s. There were actual signs. Listed on a hand-written menu posted next to the kitchen window: birria (stewed goat). Chilaquiles served in salsas verde or rojo. A sign that leans against the facade advertises quesadillas with “Mexican taste.”

Before these discoveries, however, a new taco — the chicharron prensado.

New to me, at least. I looked at the chicharron prensado on the menu like Picard would look with wonderment at an undiscovered planet. We asked, because we had freakin’ no clue. The young polite waitress said in Spanish that this taco was shredded pork with chicharron mixed in. Make it so, No. 1!

The pork was indeed shredded and cooked seemingly in a light green sauce, but not you’re typical salsa verde. To be honest, I couldn’t detect chicharrones. There was no crunch. The skins were that cooked into the meat. The taste? Like nothing I’ve tasted — definitely salty and a strong meaty flavor. It wasn’t my favorite, actually, of the six tacos we had. But it did not disappoint, either. I didn’t know what I was tasting, is all. It’s a must-try taco just to say that you’ve had a chicharron prensado.

The flour tortilla the chicharron prensado was more than respectable. My buddy, however, thought they were a bit cold.

We ordered six tacos, and the machacado and egg emerged as the best. The beef had good flavor and was not too dried out. Try the chile de arbol sauce, which enhances the beef flavor some.

The papa a la Mexicana was also spot on with potatoes done just right — perhaps they could have been crispier, but I know nothing. This taco was enhanced by the garlicky and extremely hot green hot sauce. This sauce kept me teary-eyed while I was paying the bill.

The bean and cheese was on point — perhaps cooked in lard and with a nice mushy texture. The chorizo and egg was respectable — not excessively greasy, but not excessively flavorful.

The carne guisada on corn was odd. It had zero depth of flavor, which resulted in a big thumbs down at the table. Upon reflection, however, maybe its flatness of the stewed beef is more of a Mexican preparation than that of Tex-Mex? We both liked the corn tortilla, which was thinner than normal with good corn flavor.

Guerrero’s was intriguing enough that I will be back. (Seems like I say that about every other taqueria.) None of the six tacos were home runs for me, but enough skill was put into the machacado and the papa a la Mexicana that maybe the grand slam is there on the menu in plain sight — I just didn’t order it. If not for the tacos, I’ll return for all those non-taco items.

Guerrero’s, 1859 Rigsby Ave., (210) 333-2550

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

Lydia’s Taco House, 536 S. W.W. White Road


Many taquerias in San Antonio are houses that were modified into restaurants. Lydia’s Taco House, located on the East Side’s main commercial artery of W.W. White Road, however, actually feels domestic. It’s the kind of place you can shoot the breeze with a close friend over tacos and coffee and feel contented. A true mom and pop place.

So, I loved the vibe there. I also dug the texture of its homemade tortillas. These are the kinds of fluffy and thick flour tortillas I’ve been waiting for on this Tacoist trek across the city. These are the tortillas that reminded me of the tortillas made by my Abuelita Olivo growing up — in terms of their shape. I’m not saying these are the greatest tortillas of all time, but they will get a mention next time someone asks me for flour tortilla recommendations.

Inside one of those tortillas is a damn good, and Tex-Mex-ed up, chilaquiles. It’s a well-balanced taco with slightly crunchy chips and just enough cheese. And hot. The peppers and onions seemed freshly cooked along with the egg. All of the ingredients cozied up nicely in one of those thick tortillas.

The rest of the tacos were about what you’d expect from a good taqueria.

The papas rancheras were well-seasoned with big potatoes, but could have used more sauce. The chorizo and egg seemed fresh with the egg and chorizo mixed together perfectly — more egg than chorizo flavor. The carne guisada was tender and non-fatty but was in desperate need of more salt and stew. The potato and egg your standard S.A. potato and egg, the egg freshly cooked with blandish potatoes. That’s not a slight on the taco; that’s just the way they’re made in like 98 percent of Alamo City taquerias. The bean and cheese about your standard bean and cheese.

And $5.87 for those six tacos. That’s right: Between 5:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., 12 of the tacos on Lydia’s menu are sold for 79 cents. Makes the place’s vibe that much more homely.

Lydia’s Taco House, 536 S. W.W. White Road, (210) 628-1133

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

Taqueria La Tapatia No. 2, 3054 Rigsby Ave.


La Tapatia No. 2 on the East Side rides on an even keel. None of the four tacos I had blew my mind, and none blew.

La Tapatia No. 2 definitely has it’s act together, as I imagine the other La Tapatias do. The fact that there’s a La Tapatia No. 1 (Fair Avenue) and No. 3 (Culebra Road) suggests a certain level of consistency for a small chain. And it shows in the spot-on services. There’s a system and a dozen waitresses (it seemed) know exactly what they should be doing at all times, including the youngest waitress at one point advising, perhaps even consoling, an older gentleman (presumably a regular) named Jerry.

But back to those even-keeled tacos.

My favorite was the country ranchero, which is a gorgeous taco with charred — but not burnt — dark red sausage. This one doesn’t need salsa, because the peppers from the ranchero sauce has adequate pica.

The bean and egg had bits of bean suggesting they cooked and smashed them in house. The egg nice and soft and the overall taco piping hot.

The migas on corn was solid with the chips providing some crunch, which is an accomplishment considering the sogginess of its sister ingredients. Also, not dry.

Wasn’t thrilled about the chorizo and egg, which lacked a flavor punch.

I got nothing on the green and red sauce. Again, even-keeled.

The flour tortillas were kind of chewy, which brings up the place’s ambient sound. Loved the Mexican novella playing on the TV behind me — you know, adds to the experience. But there also was this periodic screeching and I immediately thought of the gears of a tortilla machine. And that would synch up with the whole chain theme of this ultra clean restaurant. Like, the tortilla machine is a synecdoche for the La Tapatia machine.

However, never asked about the screeching. Bad reporting on my part. It will remain a mystery for now.

(My apologies for using synecdoche in a taqueria review.)

Taqueria La Tapatia No. 2, 3054 Rigsby Ave., (210) 333-9885

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