When you have a food blog folks are always asking you where they should go for this or that type of food (or drinks). During a recent conversation with an associate, I was asked, "Can you tell me a good place to get just regular food, and not any of that PURDY (translation for you northerners…PRETTY) food you are always writing about on your blog". HUH?!?! I was confused; so I professed, "I eat ugly food too and it is some of my favorite as well!" What the hell was I saying - I clearly got caught up in the madness of the conversation. After listening for a little longer, I completely understood what he wanted from me. He is a meat and potatoes kind of guy; he wanted some suggestions of places that he could go get good food that is not necessarily all the rage, or at the trendiest place, that is not at a chain, and that I would call one of my tried and true spots. What came next was me giving him a few recommendations, several of which we have written about (he did not need to know that part) and us having a new category; T N T or TRIED AND TRUE. This is the area we will feature those spots that we have gone to and/or that we frequent. They may not be a scene, or have a celebrity chef, but they always produce good food and drinks. If they have one or more locations, the product is consistently good and we love it. Dare we have any chains in our T N T mix; maybe just maybe you will see one on occasion! You know how we roll…we do this because we love it, and only Urban Swank rules apply ;-).
First up is a T N T we both love, and that is El Tiempo Cantina. The dish that we get 99.95% of the time is the Fajitas. Oh, El Tiempo Fajitas how I love thee! Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight. For those that are not up on your Elizabeth Browning; how about Sam I Am? I would eat in them a box. I would eat them with a fox. I would eat them in a house. I would eat them with a mouse. I would eat them here and there. I would eat them ANYWHERE! Yes, this is what they do to me (all this before sipping a margarita). They are some of the best in the city, which would make Mama Ninfa proud. The queen of Fajitas sons', the Laurenzo family, owns and operates all four El Tiempo Cantinas.
I’ve frequented all the locations (Vintage Park is new, so they have not made my rotation) for years and the Fajitas always taste the exact same - DELICIOUS! They come to your table piping hot, and stay that way the entire meal; thanks to the anafre, portable grill, which they are served upon. You can get beef, chicken, pork, and/or a mixed grill for these that want to sample a little bit of everything: chicken and beef fajitas, baby back ribs, sausage, shrimp, quail, pork, and a lobster tail. I usually get a combination of the mesquite-grilled beef and chicken fajitas. They are served with charro beans and El Tiempo’s famous green chili rice as side dishes.
Don’t think I forgot the other item on the menu that makes these guys a T N T fave…Tequila, Tequila or should I say, MARGARITA’s BABY! These are again some of the best in the city. If you are a rookie drinker please start out with just one house margarita, and then as time goes on work yourself up to more than one per visit and stronger tequila. Remember you were warned if you decide to go rogue!
1308 Montrose Boulevard
Houston, Tx. 77019
5602 Washington Avenue
Houston, Tx. 77007
3130 Richmond Avenue
Houston, Tx. 77098
114 Vintage Park
Houston, Tx. 77070