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Tower of Tex-Mex

Photo by Laurie Smith

The Tex-Mex Cookbook challenged those food writers who have characterized Tex-Mex as bastardized Mexican food and made the case that Tex-Mex is actually an American Regional Cuisine. What a thrill for me to get involved in El Real Tex-Mex Cafe, a restaurant based on that premise and on my collection of traditional Tex-Mex recipes. I am very proud of the vintage Tex-Mex menu we offer.

I am also blown away by the 1936 “Houston Deco” Tower Theater location. The neon at the old Tower Theater was pretty magnificent. (As you can see, there used to be a much taller neon spike on top.) The neon was restored in 2010, just before we took over. We kept the original design, but we put up the words Tex-Mex where “Tower” used to be.

I wonder if the newly lit neon is the largest Tex-Mex sign on the planet?

5 comments to Tower of Tex-Mex

  • Anyone who says Tex-Mex is bastardized Mex can ROT!

  • mr. fatty

    Dude, sorry. El Real is not the real deal.

    Quite frankly I expected more. Horrible service, bland food, and high prices seem to be the way you want to do business.

    I had such high hopes for your restaurant. For christ-on-a-crutch-sake – you are a self proclaimed tex-mex expert! From the taste of the food, you sir don’t know a cheese enchilada from a frisbee. And the prices… boy howdy! How about charging $5.99 for a GOOD combo plate. That’s tex-mex. Not a $12 trough of gloppy, tasteless crap.

  • robbwalsh

    Gadzooks, Mr. Fatty! Sorry we didn’t measure up to your standards. But the #7 cheese enchiladas are just the way I like them–with American cheese in the middle, chili con carne on top and raw onions on the side.

    Now where do we get these GOOD combo plates for $5.99?

  • Maggie May

    For a GOOD combo plate at $5.99, just hop in your TARDIS & visit Leo’s. Preferably before their move from South Shepherd. (Yeah, Felix was good. But I preferred Leo’s.)

    I like El Real’s food fine & have always had great service there. Alas, those not attuned to Classic Tex Mex might consider it “gloppy.”

    One suggestion for the season: The Summer Special as served at (gasp!) Monterey House. One crispy taco, one bean chalupa, one tostada smeared with your excellent chile con queso–& a dollop of guacamole. No beans & rice; you’ve fine-tuned yours really well but we’re talking “light” here. Extra points if the chile con queso is served over a puffy tostada!

  • I own all of Robb’s cookbooks. I am a Texan, living in Nebraska so I never go to resturants here expecting Tex-Mex. The chains are just nasty as a rule..I don’t want broccoli in my chicken enchilada’s!! My husband quickly threw his hand over my mouth when I saw that & lead me out the door…I’m serious about my Tex-Mex! Thanks Robb for great books, I love the BBQ & also the Nuevo Tex-Mex. Can’t wait to get to Houston & try this new Tex-Mex heaven!
    Sheila

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