Mini-tour, Houston Taco Trucks - Jarro, El Norteno, Tacambero
I stop at these regularly as I’m constantly on the move around the city and they’re everywhere in Houston. Here’s some of the best I’ve found (with help from friends).
Jarro Café - 1521 N. Gessner, north of Longpoint, on the West side, inside the Beltway
The owner of this wagon, Memo Pineda, either used to or still does run restaurants in Mexico City so I’ve heard. The restaurant is a former Pizza Inn but he keeps the wagon in operation in front of the restaurant and lots of people prefer to eat there. He calls it his drive-thru window.
He uses top notch ingredients such as Angus sirloin for his bistec tacos although friends told him he didn’t need to do that for the people who would be eating at a taco trailer. He also has outstanding salsas. From a rented space in front of a liquor store he built a reputation and a clientele and eventually was able to buy the restaurant and set up shop indoors.
The menu at the trailer is shorter than inside and tacos are $.25 cheaper. There isn’t a loser on it that I’ve found although I like some better than others.. The salsas, including a fiery chile de arbol, crushed red pepper, and even more incendiary bright green tomatillo and serrano, used to be displayed on the bar on the side of the trailer in molcajetes but they’re now in plastic bottles with pour spouts. I was always a little uneasy with the open-to-the-air salsa bar, right beside a busy street with traffic whizzing by kicking up dirt and the exhaust fumes, etc., but some of the ambiance is lost with the plastic bottles.
For this picture I cheated by eating inside as it’s been impossible to get a good picture of the tacos in the car. There’s another plus to this; inside you can order platos and get chips, refritos and arroz. A dilemma that has plagued me here is the tacos are so good, I like them just as they are, but I also want to get some of the salsas. With the plato inside, you get chips to dip in the salsas which you can help yourself to at the salsa bar. This was my first time inside and I got the little paper cups with the salsa, a mistake. They also have small bowls which would be the better option. .
I got a 3 taco plato of Placero (crispy chicharron, avocado, lettuce, tomato, etc.), bistec, and molepollo which the girl at the counter said was the best. I have to disagree, I liked it less than any of the others I’ve tried, there was very little meat on that one, but the Placero was excellent. That was my first time to try the bistec also and it was just a bit of a disappointment. The others I usually get are al pastor, conchinata pibil and campechano, which is fajita plus loganiza.
The "Mayan" salsa is made of chopped purple onions flecked with Mexican oregano and chile powder and lime juice. The bright green one is hottest. He’s got the best line-up of salsas in the city. Those and the tacos are the reason to come here, not the sides.