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October 25, 2011 / John Edwards

Taco Tour Day 0

It’s always nice to leave New York. As great as it may be, it can feel confining. I jumped at the opportunity to spend this week touring Texas and New Mexico with SeriousEats.com editor Carey Jones.  One week driving around the South / Southwest, paid for by someone else?  I’m in.

The first stop on Day 0 was Houston.  If “Highway” doesn’t come right after “Houston” in the dictionary, it should.  I’ve never seen so many highways in my life.  Though the city is laid out on a map in rather straightforward terms, it seemed as if they elected to build highways instead of regular roads.  For a relatively “new” city, it makes sense.  Supersize for your growing population.

The first stop was El Real, a former theater converted into a Tex-Mex restaurant.  Carey grew furious as I spent the better part of the dinner transfixed by “A Fistful of Dollars,” which they projected on the wall.  Their puffy tacos were quite good: crispy tortillas filled with picadillo beef, a peppery and spicy loose ground beef.  Not to miss were the house salsas, and the queso. A can’t miss, though, are their churros: quite possibly the fluffiest, crunchiest churros I’ve ever had, dusted ever so gently with sugar and cinnamon. These weren’t the stale, microwaved junk they Sodexho served you in high school; no, handmade by a Mexican baker, they’re to die for.

At the end of Day 0, we’d had 5 tacos, 4 salsas, and 1 amazing churro. Not a bad way to christen a journey!

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