Reposted with permission from The Tacoist.
Sometimes the taco does nothing. It is average and uninspiring. You consume it and no memories are made and you move on with your life. You go to Wal-mart.
And then there's a taco like the bacon and egg on corn at Los Compadres, which is located in what I call the Quasi West Side — the John Jay High School area between West Side proper and Loop 410.
When I ordered the bacon and egg, the waitress asked “Mixed? Or strip?” Not all waitresses ask, and I chose the latter. But it was the smell of the corn tortilla that immediately struck me. Rick Bayless talks about how steam continues to cook a corn tortilla when it’s placed in the warmer. I imagined the steam from the egg having the same effect on this tortilla, and when I unwrapped the foil — poof — like a hit of corn aroma.
The smell was intoxicating and stronger than any corn tortilla I’ve had — by far. And then I noticed that there was a taco before me. Oh right, I forgot. Sitting there in the foil was a rustic yellow corn tortilla topped with scrambled egg and about the handsomest strip of bacon. The tortilla was soft, the bacon semi-chewy and delicious. The egg was egg.
The bean and cheese I also ordered on corn, and this taco had a similar effect. The cheese melted in with the beans to create maximum gooeyness. It had that mixture of fat and cheese and bean flavor on that excellent corn tortilla. One of the best tacos I’ve had, again.
So let’s talk a little bit more about Los Compadres’ corn tortillas. To me, they tasted exactly like the Maseca mix sold at the store. This would not be the preference of tortilla purists who prefer corn tortillas be made using the nixtamalzation process. To the majority of folks who don’t know the difference, it probably doesn’t matter.
I’m somewhere in the middle. If these corn tortillas were made from a masa mix — which you can tailor with other ingredients, anyway — who cares? Those corn tortillas are some of the best I've had while writing this blog.
The other tacos I had on boring old flour tortillas.
The carne guisada was very good. It had a thick stew and super tender meat and the flavor lasted — the sign of a well balanced and composed braised dish. You could really taste that chili powder and tomato paste that gave it that lasting depth.
The papa con chorizo was the lone miss. And it was a big miss. The potatoes looked whole, but in fact they were too mushy. It was borderline mashed potatoes. Which, now that I write this, doesn’t sound so bad — but not my preference. The potatoes needed seasoning and I wanted more chorizo.
The Quasi West Side for a lot of people might as well be BFE. Is it too far a distance to drive to eat some of the best corn tortillas in San Antonio? It’s not.
Los Compadres, 7546 Marbach Road, (210) 674-9881.
Visit The Tacoist for more snapshots of San Antonio taquerias.
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