We didn’t stop at the first taco truck as we drove in from the airport on Telephone road in our rented car. We didn’t stop at the second taco truck either. These trucks are parked in the lots of gas stations or convenience stores. They often don’t sell drinks, giving that business to their host store.
We did stop at the third taco truck, Gallegos Tacos, not because we could tell anything about its quality from the road, but because it was on our side of the street. We knew we could be that picky. I got one campechano (chorizo and some kind of beef) and one barbacoa taco . Dave got two of lengua and one pastor. His pastor was the best, I think. The cook got busy cooking the meat, warming the tortillas, even heating some onions to go with it. While we waited, he gave us a brothy cup of charro beans, with a deep, rich bean-onion-cumin flavor. Each taco had two soft corn tortillas and a sprinkling of chopped onion and cilantro. The bill? Five dollars total for beans, and five delicious tacos.
We knew Houston was flat. We knew Houston was tacky, but somehow we forgot how the two interacted. Flat means every inch can be paved. Flat means there can be signs, stores, strip malls everywhere. It is a colorful jumble, all man-made. In St. Louis, hills intervene, forcing a little greenery, or a wall. The contours hide the continuity of stores. Not so in Houston.
But we do have that big, big sky, above the flatness. Today it was mostly blue with only a few wispy clouds buffering the heat. Ninety seven degrees Fahrenheit of heat. I thought I missed it, that I would love how heat through to the bones felt, but I got over that in about 20 minutes. I remembered the Texas conundrum, that by the time it is cool enough for real hiking, it is hunting season.
Not 20 minutes off the plane, and biting into that taco!
The Houston ambience.
Cooking the food.
The yummy tacos.
Dave waits patiently.