Alison Cook also discusses one of my personal Tex-Mex faves, Spanish Village, which also happens to be open 24-hrs/day. I particularly like their sandwiches, as I am a sandwich nut.
So what is the essence of Tex-Mex? I drove 200 miles east on Interstate 10 to Houston to try to answer that question.
San Antonio lays a legitimate claim to high-end Tex-Mex (if there is such a thing) and Dallas leans Anglo with its fajitas and frozen margaritas. But in Houston, Texas’s largest city, the cuisine is part of the fabric of everyday life. Perhaps that is because more than 37 percent of Houston’s residents are Hispanic, according to United States census figures from 2000.
“I discover a new Tex-Mex gem every week,” said Mr. Walsh, who is the restaurant critic for the Houston Press.
Neon signs flicker above pastel storefronts promising excellent Mexican food in virtually every block of the city. The trick is to figure out which places will deliver on that promise.
Here are a few guidelines: 1. It has to be family-owned. 2. A ramshackle space with added-on rooms is a positive. The most successful Tex-Mex restaurants started small and expanded due to popular demand. 3. It’s best if the patrons in the dining room look like the face of democracy. You want a mix of gringos and Hispanic customers; professionals and laborers.
UPDATE: D'oh! Kevin Whited helpfully points out in the comments that I am thinking of Spanish Flowers, not Spanish Village. Proof of just how much Tex-Mex there is in Our Fair City.