Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ricos Tacos Lupe: 802 Southwest Blvd

Sunday, October 17, 2010
I'm not sure how long this place has been in operation near the corner of Summit and Southwest Boulevard, but I'm really glad it's there.

Exterior

Too often the Boulevard feels like an overly long stretch of Mexican mediocrity; no place really delivers the goods when it comes to authenticity. El Huarache further east is a recent step in the right direction, culinarily speaking. But I like Ricos Tacos Lupe a whole hell of a lot, maybe better than any place in the vicinity.

They serve awesome, piping hot little tacos with a somewhat typical variety of meats: carne asada, al pastor, carnitas, chicken, buche, cabeza, tripe and chorizo. I haven't had the tripe (but I will) and the pastor is somewhat lackluster but everything else is great. While chorizo--at least for me--is not a common choice of taco filling, do yourself a favor and order a couple of these if you decide to visit. It's a salty, spicy, slightly crunchy treat.

Tacos

The tacos, like those at El Matador, are slightly smaller than average. Fortunately, they are cheaper than average, at $1.50 each. Tacos are $1 on Tuesdays as well.

And hey, they have huaraches, sopes and tortas too. Unlike El Huarache, Lupe's seems to fry the masa base of their huaraches which lends them a delicate crunch. They are extraordinarily light and easy to cut with a fork. They will cost you $4.95 and are large enough to fill the average person.

Hurache and chorizo taco

The sopes are a steal at $2. Basically a sope is a small, round base of thick masa dough, spread with beans and topped with meat, lettuce, tomato, onion and cilantro. A sope is essentially the same thing as a huarache, differentiated only by its size and shape.

Sope

The salsas here are a revelation. The green salsa is pure tomatillo goodness, pulverized into a frothy concoction that is fresh-tasting and a bit spicy. The red salsa is more spicy but equally as good. It has a little smokiness which may indicate a chipotle but it was more subtle than I normally see. Regardless there are certainly some toasted chiles in the mix. The plain, red salsa served in a larger container with the chips strangely does nothing for me. It tastes like it is made with canned tomato sauce. Stick with the squeeze bottles of the other stuff.

Ricos Tacos Lupe is not a fancy joint. It's not even a particularly nice joint inside. A pungent shade of bright orange paint adorns every wall. They need another coat since the first seems to have been hastily applied. A row of non-working deli cases line one side of the dining room and serve to hold cases of Jarritos and Coca-Cola. A grab bag of knick-knacks sit on top of the cases. The other wall has some interesting postcards of Mexican destinations and some cool portraits of old boxers. In general the interior is well-worn and pretty rough around the edges.

While many of the dishes are prepped in the kitchen at the rear of the restaurant, they are griddled and assembled on a mobile taco cart which sits inside the restaurant at the front. This allows the owner to also serve people outside on the sidewalk who can order through a window.

The cart

I'm not convinced of the street-worthiness of the cart, but it tickles me that this is how they prepare things here. The thing is powered by a propane tank sitting inside the front door.

Powering the cart

Surprisingly, Lupe's is a table service joint. Not one, but two pregnant women take orders and run food while a guy mans the cart up front. These folks are really friendly and good at their jobs too. You will feel welcomes at Lupe's.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that this place is cash-only.

11 comments:

m.v. said...

I had this place in my sights for a while but I always end up going elsewhere. I need to try it one of these days.

Applecart T. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
averagewhitewoman said...

Wow. I hope you know these two women and know that they are, in fact, expecting. Just because a woman may appear pregnant does not always mean that she is. To imply in any way that a woman is pregnant without actually knowing is insulting. The waitresses' state of bun-in-the-oven-dom is not at all relevant to the review, so why risk upsetting these ladies? You should probably go fact check to make sure they are pregnant and let me know how that conversation goes. I'm sure they will love it when you ask them when the baby is due.

Chimpotle said...

I'm glad someone took the time to type out a paragraph long tirade concerning something that was "not at all relevant to the review."

I can get a taco from a lot of places in the metro, but only Ricos Tacos lets me eat and fulfill my pregnant fantasy for the day at the same time.

The DLC said...

averagewhitewoman, I'm curious why this is so offensive. Talking to someone in person and making a passing reference to them on a blog are two entirely different things with very different stakes. I'm genuinely perplexed why this bothers you so much. If you could explain it without being insulting I'd be willing to listen.

Caitlin said...

Hi averagewhitewoman - I too am curious about why recognizing pregnancy is insulting? Having recently been to Ricos Tacos Lupe and having over 10 years of womens health care under my belt I can assure you that @TheDLC was making a pretty average assumption and not an insulting one in any way...

Johnna said...

Another addition to my list of places to try!

I enjoyed your description of the experience. Pointing out the waitresses were both pregnant helped paint the picture in my head of an inviting place, down home, authentic. I've been a woman who could have been mistaken as pregnant at one point in my life and took no offense at this.

militialicious said...

I would like to correct the author of the article about payment methods at Ricos Tacos Lupe: They DO take card payments; there is the tiniest most insignificant sticker on the panel in the front where you go to pay that says Visa and Mastercard. My studiomates and I go to Ricos Tacos most every Thursday for "Burrito Thursday" (they are SUPER CHEAP and the size of a Chipotle burrito but 100x better) and, as college students trust me, we do not always have cash, but we have never had a problem paying with our cards. And the ladies are indeed pregnant- we have asked! They are quite nice and very easy to talk to and joke around with, especially if you become loyal customers. And why wouldn't you? This place is really, really good. And I used to despise Mexican food before I came to Kansas City and found Ricos Tacos Lupe.

Corbett Smith said...

Loved it! Thanks for shared it with us. The Sope wasn't my favorite, but I have been back several times and tried the Torta and Hurache, the torta is yummy.

Sarah said...

dang this looks so good. I'm dying for some great authentic tacos and your pics have my mouth watering. Oh, and I've been meaning to hit you up about Super Pollo on Independence Blvd. A friend brought it over to my house the other day and it was incredible - you gotta try it. Don't be alarmed about all the cocaine stories when you google it, not kidding.

The DLC said...

I have never been to Super Pollo although my friend Meesha (m.v. in the comments above) wrote an entertaining blog post about Super Pollo a couple years ago.

http://www.kcmeesha.com/2008/08/27/chicken-with-a-side-of-conspiracy/

For chicken I'm a big fan of El Pollo Rey.

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