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The Great River Road

The Great River Road
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  • - September 3rd, 2014, 6:25 pm
    - September 3rd, 2014, 6:25 pm Post #31 - September 3rd, 2014, 6:25 pm
    Tyrgyzistan wrote:I'm not sure its a real genre tbh. Many small towns have one mexican restaurant that serves food like what used to be served in bigger cities when their first mexican restaurants opened. The fried dough tacos similar to those served at Rudy's Tacos in the Quad Cities and Tasty Tacos chains in Des Moines are big sellers. Taco salads, enchiladas with bright red sauce, and nachos with predictable nearly tasteless ground beef. Not anything to write home about.

    I call it American-Mexican and as long as we're being honest, I have a little soft spot for it. I actually grew up eating better Mexican than most gringos having lived in the city but I also ate at the places you describe mainly because Mexican has long been my favorite food and I didn't know any better back then. I loved it all. So I still get a kick out of the places that have been serving small Midwest, usual industrial towns, for several decades and like to stop into them when I can. I actually have a plan to put many of them together into a post but in the meantime here's one of them that sits right off the Great River Road in downstate Illinois.

    Longtime locals favorite in Wood River, IL

    I stopped into this place the same trip I took upthread in and around Alton, IL as I gathered a list of more than a handful of spots selling fried tacos. The owners of this Los Tres Amigos started selling their specialty tacos around taverns in Alton circa 1966. They'd set up trailers in the parking lots and sell them to boozing patrons and passerby's on weekends. It's quite possible that Joe Morales is responsible for making to the areas fried tavern taco craze. Unfortunately most of the bars do them as a weekly special so it's a drawn out post but Los Tres Amigos does them daily. You can get them two ways and one is with a flour tortilla which was Joe's specialty and the other is with a corn one. As always the ground beef seasoning is minimal, this blend comes mixed with diced potatoes. I've said it before and I'm a fried taco fiend so of course I liked these and why shouldn't I? The recipe comes from Joe's mom who made them with beans in place of beef allowing her to feed the family a home cooked meal on the cheap back in Mexico. That's pretty authentic to me. Granted I totally understand the difference.

    The Famous Morales Tacos fried in Flour and Corn tortillas

    Los Tres Amigos
    1822 Vaughn Rd
    Wood River, IL 62095
    (618) 259-9730