Back in 2012, Jeremy and I briefly visited Nuevo Progreso in the state of Tamaulipas in Northern Mexico. My mother and step-father live fairly close to the border on the Texas side. Nuevo Progreso is where they go if they want to shop in Mexico. So on our first visit to their new (at the time) home in Texas, they took us over the border for a day trip to Nuevo Progreso.
Most of what there is to do in Nuevo Progreso is drink, eat, and shop. We did a little of all three, though the eating was the highlight of the day. My mom visits this part of Mexico often so she knew just the right place to take us for lunch – Ms. Luisa’s mobile taco stand called Taqueria El No Que No. I use the world “mobile” loosely because from all outward appearances this stand is not going anywhere. However, it’s located in a small outdoor food court that’s, at least in part, clearly torn down and set up daily.
Ms. Luisa is a very kind woman. My mom had only met her several times, but she greeted my mother like she was an old friend. Ms. Luisa is also very hard working and dedicated to her booth. She prides herself on the freshness of her food and the cleanliness of her stall and sitting area. Of course, this was a huge selling point for my mom in taking us there. I was impressed with how tidy and clean it was, considering how hot and dusty the rest of the little neighborhood was at mid-day in the late May.
I get the feeling that Ms. Luisa is a no-nonsense type of person. She seemed to me like someone who does what she has to do. I admire that in people. Her work ethic and pride in her food cart are quite obvious. I say these things about Ms. Luisa because when I used Google’s Translate tool to find out what “El No Que No” meant, I found that it meant “No failure.” That was not surprising at all, and it’s fitting that would be Ms. Luisa’s business name. Next time we go to Mexico I’m going to go back to that little stand and try to find out more about her. I’m thoroughly intrigued.
Besides the friendly service that Ms. Luisa provided, her food was pretty amazing. She had two offerings the day we were there: tacos and lonchos. For both, we got the sliced beef versions. The taco arrived at our table on freshly fried corn tortillas. As you can see below, they were packed with delicious and fresh ingredients. Besides the thinly sliced tender beef, the taco was also topped with shredded green cabbage, caramelized onions, tomato, cilantro, and avocado. We also had limes to squirt over the tacos. Oh my, these tacos were so tasty. They were my favorite dish, of the two we tried.
Conversely, Jeremy, my mom, and my step-dad all preferred the lonches. Lonche is not a technical term; it’s actually a type of torta. The term lonche, Northern Mexico slang for the word “lunch,” is used because these scrumptious little taco-type things are a quite common and affordable lunch food. The lonches we had from Ms. Luisa were dressed quite similarly to the tacos except that they were served on these small deep-fried yeast rolls called bolillo. While they were quite tasty as well, I still preferred the traditional corn tortilla to the thick bread dough of the lonche.
Ms. Luisa also makes two fantastic fresh salsas, which are not pictured here. Her green salsa is quite spicy and her red one is less spicy, but still rather spicy overall for the average American palate. I tried both and really liked both, though the red one was a little better for me overall.
If by some random chance or twist of fate you find yourself in Nuevo Progreso, look for Ms. Luisa and her Taqueria El No Que No. She’s located just off the main drag in town, Benito Juarez Avenue. She’s part of a small line of half a dozen street vendors, all located Sonora Street, which is a bit larger than a small alleyway. If you’re walking south on Benito Juarez, it will be on your left. Just follow your nose to the smell of the lonches and tacos, and look for Ms. Luisa’s beautiful smile. It’s just around the corner waiting for you.