November 9th, 2010
Laredo Taqueria: The Gateway Taco
In all my years on this earth, I’ve learned one lesson that stands hard and steadfast: The best Mexican food comes from hole-in-the-wall restaurants. A testament to this rule is Laredo Taqueria on Washington Avenue. With its brightly colored orange and yellow facade, Laredo Taqueria definitely sticks out along the Washington Avenue Corridor. In the “cooler-than-thou” neighborhood, it’s a nod to the “way back when”… You know, five years ago, when the Washington Avenue strip was just a street and not the fist-pumping, douche haven it is today?
Laredo Taqueria is definitely cut from a different cloth than the nearby neighbors like Reign or The Counter. It’s not about aesthetics or trends at Laredo: It’s about good food and value, which is rather refreshing in this day and age. I was able to get a breakfast that kept me going throughout the day for five bucks. Paul can’t even get lunch from his culinary mecca, McDonald’s, for five dollars and I can promise that the food at Laredo runs circles around a McRib.
When you first walk into Laredo, you step into a line that’s probably a few people deep. The menu is on the wall above the ordering station and kitchen so you can easily make your decisions as you wait for the folks in front of you to place their orders. As you get to the front of the line, you come up to a tall glass counter with a woman slinging tortillas like she’s preparing to feed an army. Before her, in all their glory, are the fillings for your tacos. I must warn you, it’s a rather mouth-watering event and can stun you into silence because it all looks so damn good.
Take heed, because they do a brisk business and they don’t have time to wait for you to roll your tongue back into your mouth. Make your decisions before you get to the front of the line. If you see something that catches your eye, just add it to your order. Trust me, everything is tasty and the portions are so large that you won’t be able to finish your meal anyway. There’s nothing wrong with another plate of leftovers to box up.
During this visit, I ordered a potato and egg taco and a bacon and egg taco, both with beans. I’m always amazed that even though they serve the eggs out of buffet style platters, they are always light and fluffy. The taco’s are stuffed on an makeshift assembly line which culminates at the cashier. Once you’ve paid, make your way to any of the open tables, where you’ll be greeted with red and green sauce and a cup of ice for your drink. It’s quick and expedient, like everything else at Laredo.
You really can’t go wrong with anything at Laredo. This morning, my breakfast tacos had just the right mixture of egg to potato or bacon and they were stuffed to the point that it was almost hard to finish two. As good as the guts are, the tortillas are what keep bringing me back. Warm and fresh, they are light and fluffy and wrap whatever filling you choose in a blanket of deliciousness. I could probably gorge myself on tortillas alone and be a satisfied, if somewhat more obese, customer.
As I sat and ate my breakfast, a steady line of people filtered in for their morning meal. Laredo always has a steady line and sometimes the lines are downright long. I’ve all but given up on going during the weekends because the places is absolutely packed. Instead, I bide my time and make my assault during the week when the business is brisk and people get in and out to make it to work on time.
One of the best litmus tests for a restaurant’s popularity is its clientele. Can it appeal to all walks of life and all socioeconomic levels? Will the Greasers and the Socs eat side by side? That’s when you know a place is golden. Right, Pony Boy? There are a few places in Houston that can be put in this category and Laredo is definitely one of those. Their breakfast tacos reach across any and all class distinctions. Rich housewives from River Oaks, blue collar workers and college bums all share breakfast at Laredo Taqueria. If you need any more evidence that this place is good, let’s just say it’s a favorite of Houston’s Finest and we all know that the men in blue always find the best restaurants in town.
Where – 915 Snover St., Houston, TX 77007 (Map)
What – Breakfast tacos that will make your day.
How Much – Cheap. You can eat like a king for under $10.