Chicken Salad Tacos and Other Summer Specials at Los Tios

Categories: On the Menu

ChickenSaladTacosHP.jpg
Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Chicken Salad Tacos

Chicken salad tacos. Perhaps you're confused. I was, at first. Chicken taco salad? Chicken salad and tacos? Chicken tacos with salad?

Nope, chicken salad (ya know, with chunks of chicken, mayo, seasoning, etc.) as filling for a taco. Sounds weird, but tastes great, I quickly found out, during my most recent trip to Los Tios. I was tempted to show I was in-the-know by ordering one of the "secret" combination platters, but curiosity about the "sizzling summer specials," especially the chicken salad tacos, got the best of me. And, besides, if familiarity breeds contempt, I best lay off the combination platters for a bit lest I get sick of them. (AS IF THAT COULD EVER HAPPEN).

The main reason chicken salad tacos succeed as a summer dish (an entree technically at Los Tios, though I would suggest splitting them as an appetizer) is the combinations of warm carbohydrates and cool protein, buttery crunch and creamy softness. Those juxtapositions are missing from most other tacos, even those with ostensibly summery ingredients like fish, because the fillings and tortillas share near-equal temperatures and similar degrees of smooshiness. Los Tios cleverly capitalizes a taco's potential for violent contrast by using deep-fried shells to house tender white meat chicken pieces liberally coated in a fresh herbal mayonnaise. A side of well-blended guacamole further enhances the pleasant opposition.

CevicheTostadaHP.jpg
Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Ceviche Tostada
Another summer special uses textural variation to its benefit but in a different way. With layers of refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, grilled chicken, and avocado, the tostada poblana seems at first to utilize only pedestrian albeit appetizing Tex-Mex components. A light sprinkling of queso fresco and intermittent streaks of poblano dressing, however, interrupt the familiar flavor profile by introducing, respectively, velvety dairy bits and acidic spiciness.

The ceviche tostada is the sort of summer dish I actually miss during the winter. Even though there's little I like more than padding myself in the middle of January with heavy monochromatic comfort foods, I do at times long for something more spritely and colorful. At that point, I'll try to remember the pert shrimp and scallops laced with lemon and accented with thick slices of fatty avocado.

Okay, now I'm already missing these seasonal specials. Good thing summer is NOT almost over, despite what the devils at OfficeMax may imply with their horrifically premature display of back-to-school supplies. I still have time for a second round.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
9 comments
nebbiobaro
nebbiobaro

I haven't been to Los Tios in years and consider it kindergarten Tex-Mex for the most part, especially since Skeeter's captain Gary Adair absorbed the restaurants as part of his Anglicization of all suburban food. However, bad as chicken salad tacos might sound, it does have its precedent in actual Mexico. Aquiles Chavez at La Fisheria for instance uses mayo in his (much better) octopus dishes ('enamorado'it's called, maybe). Anyway, I'm not running toward or away from this stuff at a hobbled Houston institution.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Actual useful content at the HP food section; color me impressed. Sounds pretty good thanks (no sarcasm intended either).

erichenao
erichenao topcommenter

@nebbiobaro Agreed. Used to go back in the 80's and early 90's but after the "change" just couldn't get over it. Food just wasn't the same and we really wanted to keep going. Found our "mexican flavors" elsewhere. La Fisheria is excellent. Love the descriptor of Kindergarten Tex-Mex. But like O'leary said mexican food in this town is HIGHLY subjective. And that is a good thing.

jsoleary
jsoleary

@gossamersixteen Glad to be of service (no sarcasm here either).  I also really like the seafood enchiladas at Los Tios. 

jsoleary
jsoleary

@gossamersixteen I should caution you that I don't know if you'll like Los Tios if you're looking for (interior? "authentic"? Not Tex) Mexican.  Everyone's definition of Mexican food is different and I'm not comfortable defining the term or saying what it definitely is or isn't. I love Los Tios - just want to be clear it's a certain style of comfort, old-school, 1960's style Tejas grub. Argh, sorry. Tired. Hope you know what I mean.


gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@jsoleary@gossamersixteenThere are definitely more hits than misses here, meaning that you succeed.. I'm just a content snob, when I read something I want to take something away from it (knowledge). 

Back on the subject at hand, everything you discussed in your article sounded pretty good and will be on our short list of places to try, as you probably know I'm not a fan of el tiempo so finding some good Mexican food is always a plus.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...