Teka Molino, my unabashed favorite, has been serving unique Tex-Mex cuisine since opening in 1937. My preferred venue unexpectedly closed several years ago—its owner, our city’s Taco Nazi, must have finally tired of yelling at glossy-eyed patrons—but dynamite meals are still regularly enjoyed at its sister restaurant on San Pedro. Like the original, Teka mills its own corn to make masa: unusual menu items include fried tortilla cups, greasy little boxes that overflow with guacamole, cheese or refried beans. Teka is one of the few places where I exuberantly consume anything from the menu, whether chicken tortilla soup, a taco salad (there’s nothing healthy about it), enchiladas or any variety of taco.
My advice: Think about ordering one cheese enchilada with onions, a puffy beef or chicken taco, and at least one of the Teka cups. Be warned: the hours following your meal will be elated yet exhausted ones. You will enter a food coma and spurn Teka by nightfall, but by the following morning you’ll want to do it all over again.
Cascabel doesn’t neatly fit into this round up since it serves traditional Mexican fare, self-proclaimed by a sign hanging on its door—“No chips and salsa”—but I couldn’t leave it out, having succumbed to its savory sopes (sometimes called gorditas). Spongy masa bases are topped with spicy pork; black beans; or whatever else you fancy.
Chris Madrid’s, home to the renowned Macho Burger, also perfects the illustrious bean burger. The decadent Tostada Burger marries two of Texas’ finest culinary traditions: beef burgers and Mexican food. Atop the large, thin beef patty are diced onions, crunchy tortilla chips, and heaps of melted cheese. Coating both sides of the bun? Refried beans. Be sure to grab some salsa, this burger’s spicy, preferred condiment.
My advice: Chris Madrid’s screams “Don’t Mess with Texas,” with its giant Longhorn signs, colorful “I Ate the Macho” t-shirts, and enormous burgers. The fact that it also serves chalupas and my all-time favorite bean burger is merely icing on the cake.
Stay at home! Your expanded waistline will thank you; besides, no reputable hole in the wall stays open for dinner.
Kerr recently wrote about San Antonio’s Pearl Brewery Complex for Texas Monthly, authored An Expat’s Guide to London and freelances from her Manhattan base.