3245 Southwest Freeway @ Buffalo Speedway
November 2010–Mmmm…. Just hearing this extraordinary phrase “100% Taquito” reminds me of the delicious taste of taquitos in Mexico . Located between Southwest Freeway and Buffalo Speedway in front of the Compaq Center, 100% Taquito has the most authentic Mexican taquitos in Houston . You may think that it is a common Mexican restaurant in the Hispanic populated area, but it does not have any comparison.
One day my friends Wendy and Sylvia called me to go celebrate the end of the semester. We had a stressful week and it was time to take a little break and relax. I had not seen Sylvia for a long time and she wanted me to be there. They introduced me to this extraordinary restaurant “100% Taquito” Since I was always criticizing the kind of taquitos that are made in other places, we had not returned for more. Sylvia told me that her friend invited her and that she thought that I would also like it because I’m a taquito lover.
As you begin to walk towards the entrance of the restaurant, there are some pictures of how the restaurant was founded. Also, you can see how it looked before. When I visited 100% Taquito I never imagined that the taquitos could taste so great! Eventually, I became addicted to the tacos, but especially my all time favorite “Tacos al Pastor” are the best. Each time I visit my hometown, Mexico City , the first thing that I like to eat are these delicious tacos and 100 % Taquito has the authentic and same exact taste. When I look at the menu my first eye contact is always at the Tacos al Pastor. Immediately without thinking of anything else, I order them accompanied with a Mexican soda called Jarrito. I suggested Wendy to order the same thing and to share with me an order of sopes which she agreed to do. Also, we have our favorite dessert; their famous “Tres Leches” has made this traditional cake the most enjoyable part of the dinner. What a complete combination! Delicious tacos, a great dessert, and the company of my closest friends is what makes it an enjoyable meal.
100% Taquito began as a school project of Marko and Karla Garcia at the University of Houston . Together, with their parents Manuel and Susana Garcia, they tasted the market for authentic Mexican food with a concession trailer. They began with a taco stand at the parking lot of Super K’mart on Westheimer. Their purpose was to bring the real Mexican food out to the public. Overwhelmed by the results, the Garcia family embarked in the second phase of 100% Taquito: a place that recreates the heart of Mexico in Houston .
The Garcia family came from Mexico City which consists of over 20 million inhabitants or 40 million if you count its suburbs. It is the largest city in the world and the heart of Mexico . In its streets the cuisine from every region of Mexico merges in a festival of flavor. Served from trailers, holes in the walls, and restaurants on tiny stands; tacos reign as king. Oddly enough these tacos are nothing like the American interpretation. They are small as three fingers put together, made with fresh corn tortillas, and are never covered in lettuce and sour cream. The original taco is served with onion and cilantro with the small corn tortillas. There are a great variety of salsas such as green, red, and pico de gallo which are made with the original chiles and lemon. These salsas make the flavor of the tacos a wonderful taste. 100% Taquito brings the true flavor of Mexico to Houston . Imagine walking into a restaurant that fools you into believing that you are back in Mexico City . The serving area is disguised to look like a trailer and the rest of the restaurant is constructed and painted to look like Mexico City . 100% Taquito is the only place in Houston where you can truly experience authentic Mexican food. As soon as you take your first step into the restaurant, you can smell the aroma of the meat that is being cooked, and feel the enjoyment of other customers enjoying their food.
The critics believe that 100% Taquito is the best authentic restaurant around. Many newspaper articles and websites have supported this fact by reporting many stories on our local newspapers. This has given this restaurant great prestige among the Hispanic small business. They are very successful and well recognized. For example, Alan Truex from Houston Chronicle wrote an article explaining that “The food is all good at 100% Taquito.” Alison Cook from sidewalk.com wrote “Nothing less than the Best…It’s all top-flight.” These articles and commentaries about the restaurant helped them keep a great reputation. Also, the Daily Cougar staff wrote another article, “UH entrepreneur aims to please, 100% Mexican style” thanking a senior of the UH for bringing the authentic Mexican food to Houstonians.
100% Taquito is open all week. Personally, I like to eat there at night, which is one of the Mexican traditions. The menu consists of a great variety of Mexican food not just tacos, quesadillas, sopes, tortas, molletes, ensaladas, Mexican bottled drinks, fresh fruit drinks, frozen slush, and desserts. For the people that don’t know how each of the plates on the menu is done, there is a broad statement for each of them, “not Tex-Mex” style for those that are looking for the real stuff.
What a complete combination, great tacos, and a mouth watering dessert. The puzzling thing about this restaurant like many others is that there are no waitresses. Just like the restaurants in Mexico , 100% Taquito is what we call “self served”. So the cashier took our order and gave us a little flashing electronic square and when our order was ready, it automatically vibrated until we pick up our food. The tray was full of tacos, the exquisite smell of the meat made me hungrier. The cashier area simulates a trailer with two tires in the front painted with a bright orange color.
Inside the restaurant there is a beautiful decoration of important and significant places in Mexico City . At one of the corners there is a painting of one of the most outstanding avenues, called Paseo de la Reforma, which shows the main monument, the Diana fountain. Wendy and Sylvia have never been in Mexico City , and I was telling them some stories from the paintings. In the other side corner there is another painting, this monument is called the Independence Angel and is located on an enormous avenue in Mexico City . This place has great significance to the Mexican people; it serves as a gathering place when we have something special to celebrate. For example after a soccer game, where the Mexican National Soccer Team wins a match people usually go out and meet at the Angel and celebrate their victory. This special place, is widely known in all the rest of the country, and is well taken care of by the national authorities.
To fully feel complete, once you’re having your dinner, and eating your mouth-watering tacos, the only thing you need is a good song. The music that they play is only Latin pop music and sometimes Folkloric or Mexican music. When we were there, they played the “Jarabe Tapatio” a popular music from Jalisco Mexico and we were dancing and singing. This atmosphere, suddenly takes you back to that small stand where we used to have our tacos in our greatly missed Mexico . One of the most original attractions from this restaurant is also the fact that they have a car inside the restaurant, so you can easily sense the feeling of being in the streets of Mexico . It’s a classic taxi with plates of Mexico City , with a driver and many decorations that most of the Taxis from Mexico have. For example, many cars in Mexico have a Mexican Flag hanging, also important significant items like a baby’s shoe, and a picture of the Virgen of Guadalupe.
The restaurant also has a small second floor, which portrays the ceiling of a common Mexican house. They have what we call “ Tendederos” which are lines of metal wire, which are used to hang clothes to let dry. They also have shirts of different soccer teams, which one more time takes you to the fact that we take our sports very seriously.
They have many different types of chairs, and tables, and spaces for you to sit. If you really want to go back to Mexico you can eat your tacos standing up, or at the tables that they have outside, which makes your dinner more authentic than anything. Once you leave this place, it is almost like if you have to travel back to Houston . The realism of this magnificent place, really takes you back, and make you keep wanting some more. That’s when the addiction comes takes place. Some people think that Mexican food is high in calories, and it is, but when you have this great food in your own city there is nothing much that you can do. You can become addicted in a second.
This restaurant has recently been remodeled and has added some more space to its location. The fact that day-by-day this restaurant attracts more and more people has left them no other choice, but to extend the location. I would not be surprise if in the near future we would see a big restaurant chain, providing people the great taste of the authentic Mexican tacos. This is definitely a good place to have some real Mexican food, and I know what I’m talking about, as I am a Mexican myself. If you ever feel like having the best tacos in Mexico City , remember that you don’t have to get on a plane and fly to Mexico , City you can find the best Tacos, and Desserts here in your own city.
UH Article about 100% Taquito
Houston Texas Cuisine
Mexican Restaurants in Houston