I Can Eat 50 Eggs: Taco Xpress

 
 
In honor of Paul Newman and “Cool Hand Luke,” I’ll review 50 days of eggs from 50 different restaurants.
 
Day 38: Taco Xpress
2529 S. Lamar Blvd. 444-0261, www.tacoxpress.com.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday. 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
 
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 02.07.12
 
The last time I saw Maria Corbalan, she was sitting on a grassy stretch in front of her Taco Xpress while workers were chaining her down. The statue of her anyway, the one whose outstretched arms proclaim like the Colossus of South Lamar that this is her territory. Corbalan was moving her statue to a perch closer to the road, as if to say to the food groupies who always have a new act to chase, “Don’t forget about me.”
 
Wouldn’t dream of it. Couldn’t anyway, given Taco Xpress’ crazy-collector-aunt decor. And Maria’s migas taco ($2.39) is easy to remember because it follows the classic model, with whipped eggs spread in a wide circle on the flat-top, then folded over and over to incorporate chopped onions, tomatoes, jalapeños and that magical migas medium: tortilla chips. It’s finished with a thick blanket of melted cheddar. There are never enough chips in the mix to suit me, but here’s a way around that: ask for a corn tortilla instead of flour. It has the soft, thick pliancy of a flour tortilla but the distinctive low grainy sweetness of corn. And if you watch your “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives,” you know they make the corn tortillas right there in the kitchen whether Guy Fieri’s watching or not.
 
But here’s something new to me: a breakfast gordita ($3.50). It’s a Tex-Mex McMuffin of sorts, with grilled corn cakes top and bottom, with sliced ham, cheese and hard-cooked egg in-between, finished with refried beans, what my friend and Taco Journalism writer Armando Rayo calls Mexican mayonnaise. It makes a revelatory breakfast sandwich, one you can customize with five salsas: pico de gallo, mild red, tangy roasted vegetable, vinegared pepper-and-herb chimichurri or creamy chile de arbol the color of a tangerine dream.
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
 
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