Review: Henry’s Puffy Tacos (San Antonio)

I’m in San Antonio for a couple of days, and I decided that while I was here, I wanted to try puffy tacos. I’ll admit– I saw it on a Throwdown episode (I don’t think Bobby won), and I figured I could go for dinner on my way from the airport. So after I climbed into my Texas-size rental (a Dodge Durango. I ordered an “intermediate”, which is usually a Mazda 3 or something. I need a step stool to get into the thing), I made my way to Henry’s Puffy Tacos, which won simply because they were open until 10 PM.

There are a lot of stories about how puffy tacos came about, but the one thing that is agreed upon in San Antonio is that they became popular at Henry’s in the late 70s.  A puffy taco is essentially corn masa tortillas, deep fried until puffy, and filled with a variety of fillings.  I had a very nice bartender who explained what a puffy taco was and what his favorites were (beef fajita).  I ordered one picadillo (seasoned ground beef) and one beef fajita.  He asked if I wanted guacamole, sour cream, and cheese.  I asked if it was good that way, and he nodded.  Done.

Honestly, I would have been fine with just the guacamole.  I had the picadillo first: fairly typical tex-mex ground beef flavors, but all of that sour cream was distracting.  It got scraped off.  The taco shell was really good: a little crispy, a little chewy, and hot from the fryer.  The beef fajita was much better than the picadillo– much more deep, pronounced flavor with a bit of char from grilling.  They’re a fun twist on tacos, and I’d definitely go back the next time I’m in San Antonio

So, now that we have two taco trucks in Cincinnati (Azul will be premiering soon, and we have Senor Roy’s), when do we get puffy tacos?

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