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Chomp! Simple and delicious tortas at Taqueria Guadalajara No. 9

By by jessica rodrigojrodrigo@vicad.com
July 11, 2012 at 2:11 a.m.

The carne asada torta at Taqueria Guadalajara No. 9 brought me back to my college days. It's located almost caddy-corner to the VC/UHV campus and, I imagine, it's probably a student favorite.

Jessica's Rating

nFOOD: HH

nSERVICE: HH

nATMOSPHERE: HH

I hope you enjoy the adjustment of my ratings.

4 stars = Best of the best 3 stars = I recommend it without hesitation2 stars = Good place to visit for something new 1 star = It has a few pluses and few minuses

Don't miss/sure bets:

Taqueria Guadalajara No. 9 serves a mollejas plate, which translates to a sweetbread (Google it if you don't know what sweetbreads are). I wasn't feeling it then, but I know I will be back and try it another time. I'll be sure to let you know how it is.

Details:

Address: 2301 N. Ben Jordan St., VictoriaPhone: 361-485-0865Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

As I drive down Ben Jordan or Red River streets, I often wonder where the students are hiding. That's when I remember, it's summer vacation.

On a recent visit to Taqueria Guadalajara No. 9, I had a chance to relive part of my student life.

At New Mexico State, students could be spotted walking to and fro from cars parked in surrounding neighborhoods in a gesture that says, "Hell no! I am not paying $35 for a parking permit." Near the campus along University Avenue, there were a ton of places to eat: sandwich shops, pizza joints, juice bars and more. If you didn't have enough time to leave campus for lunch, there was Frenger Mall.

I remember eating steak tortas - nearly once a day if I could - at a place named Chihuahua's in Frenger Mall. When I finally figured out that scheduling an hour between each class gave me not only time to stuff my face, but also time to hit the books before a test or quiz. I spent a lot of time there. It was the one place where the eateries didn't get food carted to them from the main kitchen on campus run by Aramark. These were the only locally owned restaurants on campus, and it was where everyone wanted to eat.

So, when I saw the tortas on the menu at Guadalajara, I could already taste the carne asada and avocado combination on my lips. There is something so simple, yet complex about grilled meat on a bun with mayo, avocados, tomatoes and lettuce that is just so tasty. Maybe it's the way the carne asada is cooked or the way the avocados add an undertone of creamy texture and taste. I had to have one.

The menu offers photos of nearly every plate, but the thing with photos to remember is that they can be deceiving. If there isn't something to convey size, it could come out the size of a hors d'oeuvre at a cocktail party or a sandwich fit to feed a family of four. Since it didn't come with a side, I ordered a barbacoa taco on the side. This way I was safe in case it was too small, or if it was too big, I had a snack for later.

Luke loves his breakfast tacos, so he went for the breakfast menu, even though it was lunch. But they offer their breakfast menu after 11:30 a.m. for an extra buck. Not a bad deal, if you ask me.

Our meal came out in no time at all. We hadn't even killed half the basket of tri-colored tortilla chips, which we usually get close to.

My torta was bigger than I had imagined, but it didn't have as much meat as I was hoping for. The bread-to-meat ratio was a bit off, but the slices of avocado made up for it. They were thick and the perfect ripeness - not too soft to the touch and not hard enough to warrant the use of a knife. Guadalajara uses sour cream instead of mayo in their tortas, too, which was different, but I wasn't complaining. They didn't have a fire roasted salsa, but the table salsa was flavorful and spicy and the tomatillo salsa was spot on, too.

I almost didn't have room for my barbacoa taco, but I managed to control my portions and saved half my torta for later. Also, the taco had enough meat to split into another taco all together. I split that up too, and saved it to be eaten the next morning for breakfast with eggs and toast.

Jessica Rodrigo has been eating a ton of ice cream lately. What is your favorite flavor or place to get cool treats? Email her at jrodrigo@vicad.com or tweet her @eatseatseats.

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