Taco Mexicano, 3603 S.W. Military Drive

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Really, all I’m looking for while hopping from taqueria to taqueria across San Antonio is greatness in a taco — a taco I can’t wait to tell you about. A taco worth driving across town for. I believe I’ve found such a taco at Taco Mexicano on S.W. Military Drive — the pork in salsa verde (pictured above).

In a flour tortilla are bite-sized pieces of pork in a green salsa I presume to be roasted tomatillo. It’s a classic Mexican dish, and yet uncommon on breakfast taco menus in San Antonio. Taco Mexicano’s version is the best I have ever had. The pork is tender and semi-fatty. From the sauce comes a richness that I would attribute to pork fat, mellowing out the tangy tomatillos, and garlic. I also would put serious money that the drippings from the browning of the pork were reconstituted into the sauce like any good braised anything. Duh.

No need to add cheese or apply any salsita — you’d most definitely ruin this taco that way. It’s basic, with just enough sauce that it’s not too messy. The flour tortilla is sort of layered to indicate it had puffed up brilliantly while on the comal. Perhaps the slightest of crispiness along the edge, but perfect for sopping up the salsa that escapes from the ends while inhaling this taco.

Our waitress had to recommend it because it wasn’t on the menu. I asked her as I was paying if the pork in salsa verde was a regular dish at Taco Mexicano, and she said yes.

The other tacos, unfortunately, weren’t as satisfying.

The bean and cheese was a respectable bean and cheese, the beans obviously made in-house. The papa a la Mexicana was greasy and lacked seasoning. The nopales were too salty and clearly came from a bottle or can. The chorizo and egg was the strangest chorizo and egg — the chorizo brand would be unrecognizable to most San Antonians. I can only say, and I know this is strange, that it tasted like egg drop soup in a taco.

Nothing to write home about on the hot sauces. I’d recommend getting something on corn — that tortilla was soft, almost paper thin and tasty.

The Taco Mexicano building on the South Side is old and rundown and seems like it’s been about a dozen different restaurants. Google still calls it Jalpa Mexican Restaurant. There’s a diner set up in the front complete with a countertop and short stools, kitchen window with ticket wheel. A separate dining area looks to be an add-on. They do karoke, too.

I want to go back to Taco Mexicano to see what else on the menu, if anything, can live up to the pork in salsa verde. To tell you what I think of that taco, after we finished our order, I asked the waitress for another.

Taco Mexicano, 3603 S.W. Military Drive, (210) 927-1266

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.

Mary’s Snack Bar & Cafe, 2709 W. Southcross Blvd.

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Here’s a little gem on the southwest side that’s nestled in what looks like the main drag of a small town.

However, most of the retail buildings along this stretch of Southcross Boulevard are shuttered. It’s weird to me that this specter of a community is in the middle of the seventh largest city in the U.S. But, of course, there are taquerias.

Mary’s Snack Bar & Cafe looks like a business left over from whatever past these buildings allude to. Like Tacoland, it doesn’t resemble what its name says it is.

Mary’s opened in 1965, when this strip was bustling with military personnel from nearby Kelly AFB. The new owners took over the place years ago, but kept the name because it was well-known in the neighborhood, we learned after talking with some of the staff.

Oh, and the tacos are solid.

My buddy Val and I ordered a smorgasbord of tacos (don’t we all, usually?). We both agreed that the chicharrone guisada was tops with its chewy, well-seasoned pork skin in an excellent and consistent stew with its bits of red pepper. Yes. Hell, yes.

The waitress recommended the carne guisada and it didn’t disappoint with its good beefy flavor and tenderness. Other solid selections were the asada a la mex; the bean and cheese; the country sausage guisada (it was a guisada fest); egg a la mex and papa country — all pretty good with solid homemade tortillas.

The service was solid, too — some of the best so far on this fledgling Tacoist journey. The inside of Mary’s looks like the 1960s. An older couple watched The Price is Right on a TV directly in front of them while eating tacos. An older gentlemen in the corner, clearly a regular, drank coffee and eyeballed us the entire time.

On a non-taco note, the waitresses were wearing T-shirts that said “Got Ribs?” on the back. So we asked. On Fridays, they serve beef short ribs during lunch. Now that sounds pretty damn good. Rib-ist?

Mary’s Snack Bar & Cafe, 2709 W. Southcross Blvd., (210) 921-2575

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.