by Chris Edwards
EDITOR'S NOTE–This is a new column for you, good folks of Corrigan, from the pen of new Corrigan Times editor Chris Edwards. The opinions expressed in this column do not reflect the views of the newspaper as a whole, only its writer. I encourage you all to drop by the office sometime, say "howdy" and chat about the weather, the latest big game or whatever you desire. You'll be glad you did.
One of the many things imparted to kids of my generation in elementary school (yet no longer taught, no doubt, due to TEA bureaucrats' definition of "complete education" replacing everything with standardized tests) was the subject of the four food groups and the idea of balanced dietary consumption.
Ashamedly, if I were put on the spot today and asked "What are the four food groups?" I could probably, at any given time, rattle off fruits and veggies but as for the other parts of that quartet, I'd no doubt be inclined to stammer out a meek "Ummm, barbecue and tacos?". In my years as an itinerant singer/songwriter roaming around this great state, I've eaten enough of each to qualify me as something of an expert, particularly where the former is concerned, yet I will forgo my thoughts on 'cue here because I could fill several volumes about that topic.
Now before you start thinking "Seriously? This guy gets paid to write about tacos? What kinda navel-gazing nonsense is this?," just keep in mind that I am only trying to spread some culture into your lives, especially if your definition of tacos include whatever delicacies Taco Bell is serving up, or the late-night beer-induced munchie manna that is Jack in the Box's three-for-$0.99 greasebombs. Without further adieu, here is a brief compendium of a couple of the best tacos found in all of Texas.
First off, for that unique Texas original creation, the breakfast taco, no finer can be found than what comes out of a little restaurant down in San Marcos (or "San Marvelous," as I like to call it). Located on Martin Luther King Boulevard, Casa de Lorenzo (formerly J&L's) has fed amazing, top-notch food to hungry Central Texans for many years. My good buddy Missoula Slim (who lives directly across from the place, that lucky so-and-so) turned me on to the magic of Casa de Lorenzo several years ago.
Although I've sampled a good swath of the menu there, nine out of 10 times I am there, it's for the amazing chorizo and egg breakfast tacos with a side of papas fritas (that's Latin-style fried potatoes, ya'll). No less of an authority than Kent Finlay, the proprietor of Cheatham Street Warehouse and the Godfather of Texas Music, claims Lorenzo's has the best breakfast tacos, and he's tried them all. So, do yourself a favor if you're ever down in San Marvelous and stop by and get your fill.
The second taco I want to bring to your attention comes in the form of the pastor tacos which are crafted by the friendly folks down at Tacos Dona Pancha in Nacogdoches.
I could describe their whole menu here in tones usually reserved for religious reverence, but for brevity's sake, let's just say Texas Monthly had it wrong a few years ago with their "Tacos You Must Eat Before You Die" cover story—the pastor taco at Dona Pancha is THE taco you must put on your bucket list.
I had eaten and enjoyed that succulent, slow-cooked pork product known as pastor plenty of times before sampling Dona Pancha's, but the first time I had a pastor taco in Nacogdoches' best (yet criminally under-appreciated) taqueria, it was like an epiphany had occurred. It is with good reason that my girlfriend (herself a budding taco connoisseur under my tutelage) refers to Tacos Dona Pancha as "the pastor place."
It was a Saturday morning we found ourselves at Dona Pancha, after a night of driving for many hours. Tacos are always a good cure for road-weariness and sleep-deprived delirium, and my oh my, what a choice the pastor tacos turned out to be.
In closing, I want to give an acknowledgement and a word of condolence to another favorite taco haunt, the now-defunct El Chile Picoso (a.k.a. "The Taco Stand") in Nacogdoches. The Southside of Nac-town will never be the same without the awesome 24-hour taco stand with its amazing barbacoa and carne guisada, nor can I listen to Tejano music for any length of time without thinking of the many good times and great meals on the patio of the Taco Stand accompanied by bouncing, accordian-driven tunes pumped from loudspeakers. You will be missed, old friend.
So, gentle readers, I have no words of wisdom to offer you today, except this: life is short (and getting shorter every day) so enjoy every taco.