Burgers Off the Beaten Path: Taqueria Taconmadre
For a taqueria slinging al pastor tacos, there's a disarmingly small-town Americana vibe at Taqueria Taconmadre. This isn't the bright green Taconmadre bus that many Houstonians visit regularly for their fix of breadbox-sized burritos, but the bright orange taqueria on Edgebrook just outside South Houston.
Photos by Katharine Shilcutt What's a hamburger without the ham? And...queso?
Consequently, it's not the burritos I'm seeking when I come to Taqueria Taconmadre but the often overlooked hamburgers.
The hamburguesa mexicana here encapsulates that intriguing mesh of Mexican and all-American that is Taqueria Taconmadre on a typical Friday night.
The door to the patio is usually propped open, both to allow the smoke from the grills to escape and to allow a view onto the busy drag outside where both low-riders and souped-up sports cars glide by in slow succession. American programs are usually playing on the jerry-rigged TVs (a Monk marathon during my last visit), but conversations at nearby tables are usually in Spanish. Orders are placed in that brand of Lone Star Spanglish that's often indecipherable to anyone not from either Mexico or Texas. Father and son man the counter, often bickering between themselves.
As its name would imply, the hamburguesa mexicana comes with a slew of traditionally Tex-Mex toppings sandwiched between the otherwise average patty and buns: plush slices of avocado, tangy crema and a garishly yellow coating of slippery queso that would look equally at home atop a pile of ballpark nachos. In turn, the shredded lettuce and pale tomatoes could do double-duty on a torta. The burger would probably be better served on buttery telera bread, but that's not the point. In a final amusingly literal twist, the hamburger is also draped with a single, salty slice of ham.
You will almost certainly come away from a meal at Taqueria Taconmadre asking why more burgers aren't topped with queso. I usually do. And in case you can't get enough of that squeeze-cheese, you can get a side of papas con queso to round out what is -- to me -- almost a perfect marriage of the two cuisines that Houstonians love most.
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