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August 22, 2023

Bean and Cheese Battle Royale

By: Mando Rayo

You voted and we put the finalists to the challenge! In this episode, we taste the best bean and cheese tacos in San Antonio, Texas. Which bean and cheese combo will be crowned the winner of this Bean & Cheese Battle Royal? Why is this breakfast taco a staple and part of San Antonio’s food culture? Guests include Stephanie Guerra from Puro Pinche, Nydia Huizar and Richard Diaz from BarbacoApparel, and Jaime Macias from Jaime’s Place.

The full transcript of this episode of Tacos of Texas is available on the KUT & KUTX Studio website. The transcript is also available as subtitles or captions on some podcast apps.

Intro Hi, my name is Anthony Macias. I’m a taco blogger and connoisseur from Dallas, Texas. To me, tacos sound like the sound of a bell when you open the taqueria door. Tejano music playing in the background and everybody having a great time. This is Anthony, also known as Ant Eats 214. And you’re listening to Tacos of Texas on KUT.

[bell dings two times] Bienvenidos publico, en esta esquina tenemos el taco de frijoles  y en la otraesquina son los de bean and cheese Welcome to the Bean and Cheese Battle Royale. [bell dings three times] [crowd applause and fades into intro music]

Mando Rayo Who’s sweating out there. What’s up, taco world? I’m taco journalist Mando Rayo. And welcome to the Tacos of Texas podcast season tres, tres, tres, produced by Identity Productions in partnership with KUT and KUTX Studios. And we’re back exploring taco culture in Texas through the eyes of the people in the Lone Star State. So grab some beans and lots of cheese and get ready for some muy tasty taco conversations. Welcome, everybody. As you know, we are we’re here for the meat and cheese Battle Royale. Today’s Tacos of Texas is being recorded live in San Antonio, Texas. We’re at Jaime’s Place hosting the top three eateries that you voted for in that 2023 being in cheese battle royale. We started with a list of 16 los dieceseis mas dulces, and down to those ocho mas pocho and finally, los quatros baratos. Well I don’t know about that but you know bean and cheese could be pretty barato, right? Yeah. So we had four categories. We had old school mom and pop shop. We had drive thru edition. We have restaurants and food trucks. We had each of these on a bracket. We did two rounds of online voting and now we’re here for the final battle between Tacos El Rey. Everybody give it up for Taco El Rey, The Original Donut Shop, and Rosa’s Kitchen. The winner today will be selected by our beautiful and sweaty jury right here. We have Stephanie Guerra of Puro Pinche. We have Nydia Huizar of Barbacoa Apparel and Richard Diaz as well as from Barbacoa Apparel. And of course, we’re going to have the Gentes’ Choice Awards, which you will be voting for. The winners will be crowned with this custom made crown made by El Guapo Fabrication and Design. So thank you partners, not only Barbacoa Apparel and Puro Pinche for coming together and believing in the dream. We couldn’t do this without Jaime Macias from Jaime’s Place. What’s up? Y’all proud to be here in the West Side? All right, here’s the thing, San Antonio. We’re gathered here today in honor of the bean and chees taco, or, as I call it, the people’s taco. It’s simple, delicious, and different from one taco to the next with plenty of protein and energy it gives you when you eat it. And I definitely call it the Mexican protein bar. Anyone have their Mexican protein bars today? It’s something that’s affordable, something that’s on the go. But like you always had a pot of beans at home, didn’t you? Right. And then some tortillas and a little bit of that quesito. It’s just something that, you know, you can make in a large batch. And our vendors are here today, our finalists, and they’re going to have plenty for you to taste. The beans and cheese now has secured as a special place in so many of our corazón es and so thank you all for being here. Again, my name is Mando Rayo, I’m a taco journalist and host of the Tacos of Texas podcast. We’re going to take a quick break, but when we come back, we’re going to have our guest jury panel, come up here and talk about the bean and cheese tacos. So let’s get ready to rumble. [bell dings two times] [music plays] [crunch sound effect] Oh, it’s taco time. And now here’s a word from our sponsors from me. Vamos a Chuco Town con Visit El Paso. It’s the hometown of this taco journalist. On every corner of El Paso, you will find a variety of delicious cuisines that will suit any budget from authentic Mexican restaurants established several decades ago to up and coming award winning restaurants, reinventing traditional dishes with a modern twist. El Paso’s food and drink scene is recognized for its range of flavors, the birthplace of the margarita. Few things go better with El Paso’s authentic selection of Mexican food than ice cold margaritas. With the introduction of the margarita in the 1940s just south of the border, the tangy and sweet drink soon became a staple in restaurants and bars across the region. Follow El Paso’s Margarita Trail by visiting one or more of these iconic establishments and treat yourself to some of the best margaritas you can find. The Kentucky Club. The world famous Kentucky Club takes pride in being one of the oldest bars in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and claiming to be the birthplace of the margarita. Craft breweries make up an exciting and growing segment of El Paso’s culinary culture. With places like Dead Beach, Old Sheepdog Brewery, Blazing Tree and others. Beer fans and foodies can enjoy refreshment and light bites at one of the many breweries in town. Muchas gracias to our friends at Visit El Paso for sponsoring this podcast episode. Follow Visit El Paso on Instagram and Facebook at Visit El Paso or on their website at Visit El Paso dot com. [music] Our first guest intro was cut because we lost power when she introduced herself, so I’m going to introduce her now. Today’s guest is Stephanie Guerra from Puro Pinche. Based in San Antonio, Texas, Stephanie is an experienced consultant offering creative services such as social media, marketing, event production, content creation, y mas. Stephanie founded Puro Pinche at Puro Pinche dot com in 2010 to help celebrate and support San Antonio’s vibrant cultural scene. Puro Picnhe’s recognition has made her the go to person for when and what is happening in South Texas. Puro Pinche’s social media channels constantly aggregate and share need to know information about culture and events happening to its audience of over 60,000 people. So the power was cut because we’re doing a live event and it’s like 100 plus degrees out here in San Antonio, the gateway to South Texas. That’s right. So we’re going to be in and out.

Stephanie Guerra The competition is even hotter.

Mando Rayo And the competition is even hotter. That’s right. That’s right. All right. So let’s go ahead and go back to Barbacoa Apparel. Nydia, well, let’s start with you. Why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us what your role is at Barbacoa Apparel?

Nydia Huizar Hi there. Thanks, Mando. I’m Nydia, and I am the designer and co-owner of Barbacoa Apparel. The designer and I do social media stuff, too.

Mando Rayo Nice, Richard.

Richard Diaz My name is Richard Diaz, also co-owner. I do events, printing, a little bit of everything. Yeah.

Mando Rayo Nice. Nice. And so I got to ask each of you, have you had a bean and cheese today?

Nydia Huizar I have not, but I know somebody who has.

Richard Diaz I did. I actually. I have to confess, I had one right before the event because I was hungry, so.

Mando Rayo Good, good.

Stephanie Guerra Yes. I had a bean and cheese taco today, but no, I won’t say where I got it from.

Mando Rayo Oh, come on. It’s not on the finals. Los finales.

Stephanie Guerra It was one of the. It was one of the top 16.

Mando Rayo Oh, okay. Good, good, good, good, good. Well, San Antonio is known for many things, but definitely the bean and cheese. Stephanie, let’s start with you. Why is the bean and cheese taco so important to the city of San Antonio?

Stephanie Guerra I, I think that the bean and cheese taco is a great representation of the people of San Antonio. Right? Like San Antonio, people are hard workers. We have all different ways of getting things done and we make sure we get them done. And I think that, you know, everybody has beans in their house, like you said, a pot of beans. Everyone can find a different type of cheese that they love. And then you got to put all the love into making the fresh tortillas. And San Antonio works hard to make those all come together. And especially since we are a predominantly Mexican American city, you know, we love our tacos, but bean and cheese always reminds me of comfort of home, of my abuelas making bean and cheese tacos or going to our taqueria down the street. I grew up actually going to one on Commerce for the majority of my life, so I’m not too far away. And I just think like bean and cheese is the perfect balance and will tell you if a Mexican restaurant is good.

Mando Rayo Hey, I think that’s right. Right? Nydia, what do you say about that?

Nydia Huizar Well, how can I expand on that? I don’t even know. Stephanie said it all. I definitely think that bean and cheese tacos, they’re an affordable taco. If you have a large family, a lot of a lot of us come from large families. That’s like a really great way to stretch out a comfort food that’s packed in protein, like you said, and is just delicious and part of, you know, Tex-Mex.

Mando Rayo Yeah, Nydia. Who made your first bean and cheese for you growing up?

Nydia Huizar They were in the top six team – Lupita’s. I lived like within walking distance to that restaurant, and my first memory is my grandma telling me to avoid stepping on broken beer bottles as we walked over, which is pretty sweet. And it’s so good, you know, it’s a soft food, so it’s perfect for kids and it’s just I don’t know. It’s home.

Mando Rayo It’s home. What about you, Richard? Tell me about your love for bean and cheese. And when did it start?

Richard Diaz I was introduced to bean and cheese as a kid. I think, like, you know, a lot of kids can be picky when they eat. And I think bean and cheese is a safe taco to have. So it’s a good introduction for kids. I remember growing up, my mom would make it. We would go to a lot of restaurants on the West Side. I think Elena’s on Zazamora was probably one of my first, but there’s so many restaurants on the West side and yeah, it’s I would I definitely judge a restaurant based on their bean and cheese taco.

Mando Rayo Nice. Nice. Now, let’s talk about, like, some technical aspects of the bean and cheese. You know, when I grew up, I grew up definitely tacos and burritos too, because I’m an original from El Paso. Chuco Tow, represent, what’s up. And for me, it was the bean to the cheese ratio is muy importante right. It was funny because I was like, go to our restaurant and you know, most most bean and cheese looked very similar, but when we got home, they had a different color, like because we used that Munster cheese, maybe like white beans, like.

Stephanie Guerra I think we should poll the audience and see what kind of cheese they like, right? Yellow or white. Is there another one? A third option.

Nydia Huizar Mix.

Stephanie Guerra Mixed cheese?

Mando Rayo A mix.

Stephanie Guerra Okay. Who can hear us out there? Who wants to vote really quick? All right. So if you grew up with yellow cheese, let me hear you. Who grew up with yellow cheese in their bean and cheese. All right. All right. Okay. Who grew up with white cheese in there being cheese tacos? All right, well.

Mando Rayo There’s one person. There’s one person.

Stephanie Guerra Maybe it’s only the West Texans. Who knows?

Mando Rayo I don’t know. Richard, let’s start with you. What do you look for in your perfect bean and cheese?

Richard Diaz I think it’s all about the beans. Some places make it with, like, chorizo and their beans.

Mando Rayo Ooh, that’s good.

Richard Diaz And actually, one of the restaurants that was in the top 16 was one of my personal favorites. And they, they use–

Mando Rayo Who was it?

Richard Diaz Taqueria Chapala Jalisco.

Stephanie Guerra The goth taqueria.

Richard Diaz Yeah, sin 13.

Stephanie Guerra Used to be an industrial club now it’s a taqaueria.

Mando Rayo Oh, okay.

Richard Diaz But they just do really good beans and then the cheese is great and then I always add bacon. I feel like bacon just adds that perfect saltiness to it.

Mando Rayo Love it, love it. Do you guys like being in cheese on corn?

Nydia Huizar Yes.

Mando Rayo Alright Nydia. Tell us! Give us, give us your statement on corn . Bean and cheese on corn tortillas.

Nydia Huizar Okay. So I feel like we might be in the minority, right? Like, yeah, flour tortillas are very important in San Antonio cuisine. Right. But corn tortillas, like when you when you heat them up, it brings out like other flavors that really complements the bean and the cheese. And so any time I pick up bean and cheese tacos, I usually ask for them on corn.

Mando Rayo Nice. Okay. Hey.

Stephanie Guerra And corn is the original tortilla, right?

Mando Rayo That’s true. You’re right, you’re right, you’re right. There are certain tacos that I like with corn. You know what I mean? Like a good al pastor.

Stephanie Guerra Migas tacos.

Mando Rayo Or carnitas, migas. But there’s some that, like, I got to have it on flour, you know what I mean? And, you know, where else can you come and get some good flour tortillas but San Antonio.

Stephanie Guerra My mom Rosie, says she will not eat the bean and cheese if it’s not on a fluffy tortilla. So you know who loves fluffy tortillas?

Mando Rayo Fluffy tortillas, what’s up. There she is.. We’ll call her la fluffy. So I like you know, you mention a good chorizo, right. Chorizo with the beans mix together, but not just like assembly line. You know what I mean? Not on top of each other, but it has to be mixed in. That’s kind of the way I like it. It’s like because it brings in all the flavors, don’t you think?

Richard Diaz Exactly, exactly. Yeah. It has to be mixed in. I don’t know if, like other places, put other things in their beans.

Mando Rayo Is it still a bean and cheese? If you add other things?

Stephanie Guerra People kept trying to add people’s bean cheese and bacon tacos in there, but that was not what we were voting on. Yeah, we were not voting on people’s bacon. That’s a whole nother category.

Mando Rayo People were like, Oh, can we put avocado? That’s how way I like mine. Yeah, right.

Stephanie Guerra I think there’s a lot of vegetarian people that can eat bean and cheese tacos.

Mando Rayo Sin grasa, sin grasa.

Stephanie Guerra On corn tortillas. But they won’t put the bacon in there. Right. So we can’t include bacon.

Mando Rayo What would you say the per capita bean and cheese tacos that are here in the city of San Antonio?

Stephanie Guerra I want to say that there’s a taqueria on every corner so we can probably get like 500 different kinds of being and cheese tacos in San Antonio. But I could be exaggerating. I don’t know.

Richard Diaz That sounds about right.

Nydia Huizar Definitely in the hundreds, for sure.

Mando Rayo Yeah, I believe 500. 500 is a good number. We’ll go with that. Survey says 500. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. You are absolutely correct. I may throw a curveball here. Do black beans count on a bean and cheese taco?

Richard Diaz Let’s ask the audience, though, first, see what they think.

Mando Rayo All right, Audience! Audience! What do y’all think?

Stephanie Guerra Listen up, listen up.

Mando Rayo I can’t hear you – say yes or no.

Audience No!

Richard Diaz Black beans. No.

Mando Rayo Are you all traditionalists?

Stephanie Guerra We’re very much traditionalists. Yes.

Richard Diaz Yeah. I guess I wouldn’t say I won’t eat a bean and cheese taco with black beans, but it’s not my go-to, yeah, at all.

Mando Rayo All right. All right.

Stephanie Guerra I don’t actually know where I can find a bean and cheese to go with black beans.

Mando Rayo You’ll have to drive to Austin. [laughter] So what about, like, the tortilla? The base of the tortilla is super important for any taco, right. Tell me, like, what you all look for in a tortilla that makes it just spectacular bean and cheese. Nydia, we’ll go with you.

Nydia Huizar All right. If we’re talking flour tortilla, it’s got to be homemade. It’s got to have that kind of floury, like, leave a little powdery. And fluffy. Yeah. But that’s my criteria.

Mando Rayo Perfect.

Stephanie Guerra I think that the tortillas need to be hot, so I don’t know if that’s another battle, but if I get served, you know, hot beans, cold cheese and a cold tortilla, that just kills it for me. So I need everything to be warm and. And comfy.

Mando Rayo Well, you came to the right event for that because it is hot out here.

Richard Diaz It is warm.

Mando Rayo You can probably warm up a good tortilla just on the on the concrete down there.

Stephanie Guerra I do see the lines are getting full and everybody is eating the tacos.

Mando Rayo All righty. Any final thoughts? I had this idea around the bean and cheese, but I was like, yeah, it was a natural thing for me to be in San Antonio about. What do you think is important here?

Stephanie Guerra I think San Antonio likes to hold on to the traditional values of being at home. When you get into fancy tacos, not everybody can make fancy tacos at home, right? Like, not everybody can afford the ingredients or knows how to season things or knows, you know, the right cuts of meat to get. Everybody can make a bean and cheese taco en la casa. Right? So San Antonio is probably the king and queen of hay comida en la casa. We like to eat at home a lot. So I think, you know, it’s a it’s a perfect place to bring it home. Hometown San Antonio. I know we have made national news in history, you know, for bean and cheese tacos and just the Mexican culture that we have there. And I’m glad we’re hanging on to it. And I think we should do this again next year and have it even bigger and better. So let’s do it.

Nydia Huizar I know we kind of talked about bean and cheese tacos, being some of the very early introductions to Tex-Mex that a lot of us, you know, have. And I think it’s the nostalgia. People really like comfort food and they really like being reminded of like happy times in their lives, you know? And for me, when I think of San Antonio, we’re like a very nostalgic city. As a few years ago, we came out with a bean and cheese shirt and that was like an instant hit. And it was really popular for parents to give their kids that shirt in that onesie. And so it’s just I don’t know, it’s family. It’s it’s comfort food.

Richard Diaz It’s a lot of kids’ introduction to Tex-Mex food. It’s very simple, but it’s delicious. That taco specifically crosses generations. I mean, it’s so easy to introduce that to your kids and then, you know, they can get into branched out into other other tacos.

Mando Rayo You know, speaking about kind of those traditions that we have at home, I think it’s super important because at one point, you know, now maybe in our parents generations or even in our grandparents generations, people were ashamed to bring tacos from a home to eat at school because they couldn’t afford like white bread and baloney and all that. You know what I mean? And so what do we eat? We have bean and cheese, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Stephanie Guerra Our ancestors passing that love down to us.

Mando Rayo That’s right. That’s right. Well, I want to thank so much our panelists today. You’re you will now be crowned as bean and cheese experts.

Richard Diaz I think I’ve eaten enough to you know. Yeah.

Mando Rayo You qualify, you qualify. Awesome. Well, thanks so much for being here. And now we’re going to take another short break. And during the break, we want to make sure we hear from some of you as what you look for in a bean and cheese taco. [music] All right. We’re here in the locker room, you know, sweating, sweat, todos sudados sweaty, you know what I mean? And we’re here to find out, like, what motivates you to become the best bean and cheese taco maker of all of San Antonio. All right, here we go. Here we go. We got our finalists. Tell us your name and who you’re with and then give us your best like strategy of how you’re going to win this bean and cheese battle royale.

Alejandro Hernandez My name is Alejandro Hernandez, and I’m with The Original Donut Shop. Man, we got the best donuts if y’all could tell. We’ve got the best donuts bro.

Paloma Hi, my name is Paloma, and I’m with Rosa’s Kitchen. And the way we’re going to win is cause not only are representing the best state in Mexico, Coahuila, we’re representing 70207, our hood. So go ahead, make some noise. Come on.

Andrew Arredondo My name is Andrew Arredondo, I’m with Tacos El Rey. The way we’re going to win, we put out hot food fast, consistent. That’s pretty much it. We’re going to win this. I already got the crown on.

Mando Rayo He actually does eat. He has a crown on. But you know, it’s from the dollar store. All right, all right. What makes your bean and cheese different from any other place in San Antonio.

Alejandro Hernandez The tortillas are homemade and of course it is made there it is fresh the best little tacos, bean and cheese tacos, man.

Mando Rayo Original donut shop shop.

Stephanie Guerra All right, what makes our bean and cheese the best bean and cheese is that not only are tortillas handmade. Nada maquina. Nothing like that. My mom is back there, you know, with a palo, just going ham on the tortilla and the masa cooking it up on the grill. And we have the best beans cooked with, you know, some of that good bacon grease. Y’all know what I’m talking about? Yeah.

Andrew Arredondo Our beans are cooked 4 to 6 hours every day. Everything’s hot. Tortillas, homemade. Like I said, as long as we’re putting out fast food.

Mando Rayo You’re solid. Right? Right. All right, everybody, everybody give a round of applause for our finalists. [music] Qué onda taco world, we’re here with Jaime Macias at Jaime’s Place in San Antonio. Well, first I want to say thank you for opening up your space.

Jaime Macias Oh, it was it’s a pleasure hosting United Tacos of America, Tacos of Texas podcast. Thank you all for considering us. First and foremost, really excited to host such a wonderful event. Thank you, Mando.

Mando Rayo Yeah, no, we’re here to do the being in Chiefs Battle Royale. And tell me from your own words, why is bean and cheese on important to San Antonio?

Jaime Macias Well, you know, it really is a staple of our gente, right? I mean, back in the day, you know, you you ate frijoles, you know, And, you know, it’s been a staple in the household for so many years. And, you know, we somebody somewhere added cheese to them and they realized what a wonderful combination it was. And now, I mean, it’s protein filled. You know, you get some dairy, you know, I mean, what else do you want?

Mando Rayo Well, you know, I call it the Mexican protein bar.

Jaime Macias You know, I think that’s such a wonderful phrase. I think you ought to make a sticker out of that. ¡Ándale, ándale!

Mando Rayo Well, tell us about Jaime’s Place. What are you trying to do here?

Jaime Macias Well, so we’re we opened up October 9th of 2020. There were some changes happening into the West Side, which has, for the most part, been a a an area where has seen a lot of disinvestment. It’s percolating with new interest. And we’re here preserving the cultura at Jaime’s Place built for the barrio and, of course, beyond for our brothers and sisters from Austin, Texas. You know, come on down where it’s real and and Yeah, and the beer’s cold.

Mando Rayo No, that’s that’s what I’m here for. [crunch sound effect] What’s up taco world? All right, We’re back here at a very VIP exclusive spot of Jaime’s Place. We’re here with some taco lovers bean and cheese. So tell me your names. And what do you look for in a bean and cheese?

Rosie Guerra My name is Rosie Guerra. I’m Puro Pinche’s mom.

Ralph Guerra Ralph Guerra, I’m Papa Pinche. That’s what they say.

Mando Rayo Love it, love it. So Papa Pinche, tell me like. You have a you have a number one taco?

Ralph Guerra I had a number one taco. My mother passed away last year. That was the best taco, bean and cheese taco ever. So I’m looking for the number two best bean in cheese taco. We have a good place. It’s called Elizabeth’s. It’s on Timberhill on the northwest side of town. Of course, there’s many taco places that we haven’t eaten, so we’re not sure. But Elizabeth’s taco hut is really good.

Rosie Guerra And me? Well, my thing is pretty big. I have to have a really fluffy tortilla. I have to have some refried, refried beans and then the cheese. When you put it on it, it has to be really melted really good in order to be a great taco. So I like actually I like quite a bit of places, but there’s a little place called La Barca off of Probandt and Steves. Elizabeth’s also is great. The taqueria by my house makes really good refried beans with the cheese and all fluffy tortillas and there’s just a bunch of places. But like I said, mine. If you don’t have a fluffy tortilla, I don’t want to eat it.

Mando Rayo And, and it’s double refried. Right? You said because you said refried, refried. Well, thank you all for coming out. And we’ll see. We’ll see what happens at the end of the Bean and Cheese Battle Royale. [music] [crunch sound effect] Oh, it’s taco time. And now here’s a word from our sponsors from me. Located deep in the heart of South Texas, Laredo is the beginning of the Lone Star State and the travel experience that is American, Texan and Mexican all in one. This location lends itself to a perfect blend of culture, language, culinary influence and ambiance that can only be found in deep in the heart of South Texas. This small Spanish villa was founded in 1755 on the banks of the Rio Grande. They walk around the historic downtown and discover landmarks that are significant for both Laredo and Texas history. Some landmarks include San Augustin Plaza, Republic of the Rio Grande Museum and San Augustin Cathedral. Laredo’s warm weather creates a perfect ambiance for a weekend of fun and relaxation. Mexican, Tex-Mex, and just about anything else has a Laredo flair that sets it apart. So come for the authentic Mexican food and stay for the flavors. Whatever you crave, You’re sure to find an amazing array of enticing selections. Muchas gracias to our friends at Visit Laredo for sponsoring this podcast episode. Follow Visit Laredo on Instagram and Facebook at Visit Laredo Texas or on their website w-w-w dot visit Laredo dot com. [music] All right, here we go. So everybody is going to get a finalist certificate. As you can see right here. It’s very fancy. You can’t even, like, fold it. It’s hard. First finalist is Rosa’s Kitchen. Second finalist is Taco De Rey. And of course, the Original Donut Taco Shop. All right, here we go. Second runner up is Rosa’s Kitchen. First runner up is Original Donut Shop.

Mando Rayo And the winner is: y sigo sien del Rey. Tacos de Rey! All right. Come over here and come say a few words.

Andrew Arredondo I want to say thank you to San Antonio for coming out. Our faithful customers in the Edgewood District. I know we’re like the forgotten side of town. But we let San Antonio know we do have good cuisine on our side of town. I like to thank all of y’all.

Mando Rayo Congratulations. So here’s the thing is: everybody’s a winner today, no? Because out of over 30 restaurants. You are the top three finalists. So congratulations to all of you. And thank you, San Antonio, for making this very hot, very sudado and beautiful Bean and Cheese Battle Royale. [crowd cheers] Thank you. Thank you, San Antonio. And thanks to our panel of judges. Stephanie Guerra, Puro Pinche. Richard Diaz of Barbacoa Apparel and Nydia Huizar. And thank you to the whole team of Barbacoa Apparel and including Catherine Contreras-Sanchez and Matt Contreras. What’s up? Thank you to our bracket consultant, Mr. Dylan Welch. Special thanks to Priscilla Gutierrez, our cooks producer for the day and thank you to our final three participant restaurants: Tacos El Rey, Original Donut Shop, and Rosa’s Kitchen. Thank you Thank you to our sponsor Jaime’s Place, the fantastic venue which we are here today in the West Side. Thank you to El Guapo Fabrication and Design for creating that beautiful crown, I want to give a shout out to other participating San Antonio eateries who are really close to being in the final 4 bean and cheese. Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant, Taqueria Chapala Jalisco, Eddie’s Taco House, and Teka Molino. This has been the Tacos of Texas podcast, developed and produced by Identity Productions. If you enjoyed today’s episode and are craving more taco content, go to our website at w-w-w dot Identity dot Productions or follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and YouTube at Identity Products and United Tacos of America. This is your host, the big cheesy, Mando Rayo. Vamos a los tacos! Now let’s go back to our taco VIP lounge to talk to the winner. All right. We are here with the big winner, Tacos el Rey, Andrew and?

Andrew Arredondo’s Son Andrew.

Mando Rayo Andrew. Two. The two Andrews. Andrew. Tell me, what does it mean for you to win the the Bean and Cheese Battle Royale. The crown. The actual crown.

Andrew Arredondo Oh, you know, there’s been years that our customers have said that we have the best beans as Antonio. Uh, it means the world to us. It’s the years of hard work, and I’ve been in that restaurant since I could walk since I was about his age. And it’s just. It’s a great feeling, and it’s great.

Mando Rayo And did you know your daddy was going to win a crown today?

Andrew Arredondo’s Son Yeah.

Mando Rayo Why?

Andrew Arredondo’s Son Because he always. Because he’s the best dad.

Mando Rayo Oh, that’s so sweet. I love it. I love it. What is it mean for your team?

Andrew Arredondo We have a lot of restaurants on the west side, on our side of town, Edgewood, that we’re kind of like the forgotten side of town. You don’t get a lot of interviews. There’s not a lot of camera crews on our side of town. But there’s a lot of good food and there’s a lot of loyal customers that that come every day for work, for dinner. And it’s not just our restaurant. It’s all the restaurants in our area that we’re kind of just forgotten about. But we’re still there chugging along and putting out good food day in, day out.

Mando Rayo So you’re like a comeback kid, right?

Andrew Arredondo I would say so.

Mando Rayo I love it. [music] In the next proximo Tacos of Texas: Mexican hands. The strength, the tenderness and techniques and how recipes have been developed in kitchens by our matriarchs.

Outro The Tacos of Texas podcast is presented by Identity Productions in partnership with KUT and KUTX Studios. Our host and producer is Mando Rayo. Our audio is mixed by Nicholas Worthen and Ever Calderon. Our story producer is me, Sharon Arteaga, and our creative producer is Dennis Burnett. Music was created by Peligrosa in Austin, Texas, and King Benny Productions, located in the Quinto barrio of Houston.

This transcript was transcribed by AI, and lightly edited by a human. Accuracy may vary. This text may be revised in the future.


December 19, 2023

Bonus Episode: The intersectionalities of Black Mexicans with Chef Adrian Lipscombe. 

Chef Adrian Lipscombe grew up in San Antonio and we’ll discuss Texas foodways from her Black heritage to growing up in the gateway to South Texas, San Antonio. Chef Lipscombe is the founder of the 40 Acres Project, a city planner and Culinary Diplomat with the U.S. Department of State.


December 12, 2023

Bonus Episode: Regional Taco Flavors of Texas

From border to border, El Paso to Brownsville and a little in between, we’re gonna talk tacos regionales and just like the musica itself, there’s many elements and things that go into them. Our guests include Miguel Cobos from Vaquero Taquero and Paola Gabriela from Visit El Paso.


November 7, 2023

Taco Pop Culture: A Taco Talk on All Things Tacos on the Interwebs

Stephanie Guerra, of Puro Pinche, hangs with us in the studio to talk taco pop culture.


October 31, 2023

Black Mexicans, Part 2: Tracing the foodways of Black Seminoles and Mexicans in Texas and Mexico

There is so much untold and uncovered history of the African diaspora, especially that within the lineages of slavery. Food can signal a variety of possibilities within history, and in this episode, we examine the melding and the migration of Black Seminoles across Texas and into Mexico. We join Windy Goodloe and Corina Torralba Harrington, […]


October 24, 2023

Black Mexicans, Part 1: Tracing the foodways of Black Seminoles and Mexicans in Texas and Mexico

There is so much untold and uncovered history of the African diaspora, especially that within the lineages of slavery. Food can signal a variety of possibilities within history, and in this episode, we examine the melding and the migration of Black Seminoles across Texas and into Mexico. We join Windy Goodloe and Corina Torralba Harrington, […]


October 17, 2023

Archiving Our Food History: What Goes Into Researching and Saving Oral Recipes and Histories.

In this episode, we talk to Dr. Meredith E. Abarca about putting together her online archive El Paso Food Voices. Author and blogger Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack shares how she has used her cookbooks as a way to archive her family’s recipes.


October 10, 2023

Inside Houston’s Encuentro: The Native American Roots of Texas Mexican Food

The complex cuisine of Texas goes back before the land was known as either Texas or Mexico. In this episode, we visit Houston’s two-day, anthropologic culinary event Encuentro. We learn about the Native American roots of Texas Mexican food from both scholars and chefs present at the event.


October 3, 2023

Salsa Magic

This episode includes a breakdown of the salsas that complete our favorite tacos, from taqueria style, to hot sauces. It includes the science of peppers to a local hot sauce brand’s origins. Then we’ll go into my home kitchen to make one of my favorite salsas and how to pair them up with your favorite tacos.