A few years ago, I had the inspired, but brief, idea of eating variations of chips and salsa for a month to see if I could lose weight. I decided that if it worked, my plan could make me a millionaire. Sadly, I never was courageous enough to try it, so I’m sharing the concept in this post in case any of you want to give it a shot. The reason for the idea was simple. I LOVE tortilla chips, as long as I have something to dip them in and enjoy and Texas has introduced me to so many great options.
If you think about it, there are a lot of salsa recipes out there, almost as many as Bubba shared shrimp recipes with Forrest in that Gump movie. You’ve got salsa roja, salsa verde, roasted salsa, corn salsa, black bean salsa, mango salsa, avocado salsa, pineapple salsa, peach salsa, and pico de gallo, to name a few.
And then you have the chips to use as the vessel for these delectable options, like the popular tortilla chip, but you can also enjoy plantain chips, quinoa chips, blue corn chips, sweet potato chips, taro chips, crispy flour tortillas, and more.
Thinking about chips and salsa made my brain immediately go to Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes in the Texas. Yes, I could take the time to research the difference between the two. Yes, I could share that I don’t know of any other foreign country + state food combination in the world. (If you know of one, let me know.) Instead of focusing on these two things, I decided to reach out once again to my friends and followers on Facebook to get their favorite places to eat Mexican and Tex-Mex food in the Lone Star State. Just like my recent BBQ post, the readers did not disappoint.
Texans LOVE their Mexican and Tex-Mex food and these are my friends and follower’s suggestions of favorite restaurants to enjoy that delicious basket of tortilla chips, salsa, and the goodness that follows my favorite free appetizer in Texas.
Since I live in San Angelo and many of my friends suggested their local favorites, I decided to give our oasis in west Texas a big shout out before I get to the rest.
- Fernandez – Janis likes the hot sauce and says the bean and cheese tostado is great.
- Fuentes Downtown – Janis also gave a shout out for their Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas and their hot sauce. Linda mentioned them, too.
- Armenta’s – Kimberly loves it.
- Franco’s Cafe – My husband, Dan, loves Franco’s at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I enjoy their huge bowl of Caldo de Pollo.
- Henry’s Diner – A San Angelo staple since 1973, Linda mentioned this location. They have excellent Mexican stuffed bell peppers.
- Los Panchito’s – Linda is a frequent visitor.
- Taqueria Jalisco – Brenda said it’s amazing and their new favorite. They enjoy the Ceviche Tropical and Quesadilla Ranchero.
Here’s a list from my friends and followers across the state.
- Chuy’s – Janis loves their Boom Boom Chicken Enchiladas and lucky for all of us, they are in multiple locations across the state. Bonus, that’s a fun dish to order just based on its name.
- Spicy Bite in Kyle – P.M. had a lot to say about this location south of Austin. He said there are lines of cars and trucks daily. His favorite dishes include the Monster Taco for breakfast, Enchiladas Divorciados, and Spicy Green Chicken Enchiladas.
- Casa Herrera in Abilene – Martha loves it.
- Casa Mañana in Wichita Falls – Kenneth likes their red tacos.
- Avila’s in El Paso – My friend Chuck and another reader, Farrah, both gave a shout out to this far west Texas location
- Mamacitas and Acapulco in Kerrville – Terri couldn’t decide between these two hill country locations so she shared both. Janis also mentioned Mamacitas and their Chicken Tacos Al Carbon and their Avocaco Sauce.
- Don Juan on the Square in Tyler – Holli suggested this downtown favorite in her community.
- Hacienda de los Barrios in San Antonio – Joanne raised a hand to this Alamo City business.
- Chaco’s Tex-Mex in San Antonio – Allison said their famous for their Monster Nachos and they can be split by four people and still have leftovers.
- Ninfa’s in Houston – My buddy Ryan said this is his favorite culinary gift from Texas. After all, it is the birthplace of Tacos Al Carbon “Fajitas.”
As for my own list, it could be incredibly long but I’ll mention some select favorites I’ve enjoyed on my travels.
- Cielo in San Angelo – Since several locations have already been listed earlier from San Angelo and I love them all, I thought I’d share this location because they serve the Pina Tropical, a pineapple filled with grilled chicken, shrimp, chorizo, red and green pepper, onion, and queso dip. It’s beautiful and scrumptious.
- La Playa Mexican Cafe in Harlingen – Incredible dishes are offered at this border restaurant but my personal favorite has to be the Fried Stuffed Avocado served with a fajita taco, rice and tortilla soup. Wash it down with a Margarita.
- Casa de Marisco in Weslaco – Nothing goes better on a handmade flour tortilla better than Carne Guisada and they serve some of the best.
- Casa Rio in San Antonio – The beautiful umbrellas and the location on the riverwalk don’t hurt this place. Enjoying a margarita while you people watch by the water makes it even better. Don’t feed the birds no matter how much they pressure you for a chip.
- Torchy’s Tacos in Austin – I’m a sucker for their queso and any of their fantastic tacos.
- Joe T Garcia’s in Fort Worth – One of the oldest Mexican restaurants I’ve frequented, the location near the stockyards has been around since 1935. Enchilada dinner…enough said.
- Palenque Grill in Laredo – Delicious Ceviche de Camaron. I’d like to try their Paitas Endiabladas on a future visit.
- Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant in Buda – Hand’s down the BEST chips I’ve ever eaten. I have no idea what they do to make them so light and crispy compared to other places, but I could sit and eat them all day.
- Julio’s Seasoning and Corn Chips in Del Rio (and San Angelo) – I had to give a nod to the original location in Del Rio. HEB shoppers will know the Julio’s chips and the great seasoning they are flavored with and also know you can purchase both, along with their queso and salsa in their stores.
- Pueblo Viejo in Livingston – Great Queso Blanco and I love the Shrimp Cocktail with jalapeños and avocado.
- Magoo’s Place in Alpine – We camp a lot in Alpine so we like to have breakfast here on occasion. Breakfast burritos are hearty and will keep you going while you explore the mountains of Texas.
- High Sierra Bar & Grill in Terlingua – My husband still says they have the best Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas he’s ever eaten.
After a meal of chips, salsa, guacamole, queso, enchiladas, fajitas, tamales, margaritas, and more, making room for dessert is both a challenge and a must. Texas restaurants and Mexican bakeries provide items to satisfy your sweet tooth. Flan, sopaipillas, churros, and empanadas are a good start.
And then there are the respados, respadas, or raspas, also known as a Mexican snowcone. I’ve never seen a raspa offered at a restaurant but there are many locations, particularly on the border, that you can enjoy on your travels in the Lone Star State. My first raspa experience was during our perimeter tour in June 2020. Morgan and Debra introduced me and I’ve never looked back. I still want to create a Raspa Trail. Hey, there are worse goals.
On a future quest, we can talk nachos. We’ll start with the State Fair of Texas and their Texas-shaped chips. Meanwhile, eat in the heart of Texas.
Until next time from Texas…safe travels