Los Compadres, 7546 Marbach Road


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 ben@thetacoist.com.

El Rodeo, 8085 Potranco Road


Sometimes a taqueria is just a taqueria. It’s vanilla.

No taco drives you to murder the cook, like Johnny Depp did in “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” after finishing his cochinita pibil, because the food is so good that balance must be restored.

Vanilla is a very good thing if you’re in the neighborhood and you’re looking for a restaurant to satisfy your breakfast taco jones.

El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant on the far West Side is such a restaurant. All of the tacos were pretty good. The menu is your standard San Antonio breakfast taco menu and that’s wonderful.

An ecclesiastical man (he mentioned the congregation several times) kept raving about the ham-and-egg taco so, yes, I told the waitress, I’ll have that on corn.

The first thing that came to me was the corn tortilla, one of the better ones I’ve had. It was soft and on the thicker side — you could really taste the corn. The egg steamed. The ham texturally was more boiled than cooked on a hot surface. The red hot sauce — chile de arbol-based with something like lime to tame the chile — complemented this taco well.

The beans in the bean and cheese were more coarse than the typical pulverized refried we’re accustomed to. So more of a watery bean; I could still detect the skins. Very good in flavor; perhaps on the buttery side. The height of the beans made me wish I had ordered them on that excellent corn tortilla.

The flour tortillas tasted fine. But these weren’t the fluffy and pillowy kind. These are flatter, a bit tougher. Seems like some kind of agent was added to the comal to add flavor to them given they had a yellow sheen.

The potato and bacon was basically hash browns with chopped bacon mixed in. DRY. The bacon bits had beautiful crunch, though. The carne guisada was chunky and less stewy, but the meat was moist and tender. What little stew was more on the red side.

This place in the Westover Hills area is a full-blown restaurant and bar that’s open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. every day. The one thing I couldn’t stop thinking about was not tacos, but the $3 margaritas they offer during happy hour in cool flavors like mango and strawberry. However, no vanilla.

El Rodeo, 8085 Potranco Road, (210) 521-0246

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 ben@thetacoist.com.

Taqueria Arandas, 7055 W. Military Drive


For the latest exercise in taco eating, I went to the Far West Side. Or, what I used to call the Quasi West Side. This area anchored by West Military and Marbach Road is not West Side proper, which is less a side of town and more a distinct geographic area that abuts downtown to the west. The Quasi West Side also isn’t Westover Hills or the Sea World area, but somewhere in between, hence the quasi.

But here you’ll find Taqueria Arandas, where the hot sauces really stood out more than the tacos. Which begs the question: Can a hot sauce elevate a so-so taco? A conversation for another time.

Here, the red salsa is chile de arbol-based and has a clean and non-oily texture. Slightly vinegary and more rustic with its bits of chile flakes — more flavorful than hot.

The green salsa is much more complex than your standard serrano and water concoction. Definitely tasted some garlic, and way hotter than the red.

As far as tacos, they were good tacos. Nothing mind-blowing. The sausage and egg was my favorite. At first, I was disappointed because the chopped up encased meat was more weenie than sausage in texture and appearance — so, more pale than dark. But this taco was superb. The sausage cooked in together with the egg and served hot and steaming. Made to order, for sure.

The chorizo and bean I’d recommend, too. The beans and chorizo seemed fresh and clean and non-greasy. The corn tortilla excellent, but I couldn’t tell if it was made in-house or what.

(A note about corn tortillas: I’m somewhat clueless about them. They could be made from a just-add-water mix at the restaurant or elsewhere. They could be made from scratch, but very few restaurants, I ‘ve been told by experts, go through the painstaking process of running the corn through the nixtamalization process. I’ve made dozens and dozens of corn tortillas using Maseca, the mix, and still I feel I know nothing about them. Getting them to puff up is still a mystery.)

The chicharron and egg taco didn’t come with egg (top pic), but the preparation of the chicharron was a pleasant surprise. The sauce seemed less guisada, which is typically like a stew or a braise, and more of a ranchero sauce. It had that definite tomato base, but without the onions. And pieces of cooked-through green pepper, which is always heaven. The skins needed more salt, but the texture was definitely there — not too rubbery.

The big disappointment was the chorizo-potato with its mushy potatoes. It had adequate seasoning, but the elements seemed just thrown together as opposed to the sausage and egg.

Finally, I was turned off by the un-bused tables that remained un-bused for the entire time I was there. I slipped in just after the morning rush, and so you’d expect some dirty tables. But they remained that way as I paid and left. Not like dirty tables affect the food you’re eating, but they left a bad impression. That said, the service was great.

Taqueria Arandas, 7055 W. Military Drive, (210) 673-6707

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 ben@thetacoist.com.