Authentic is a word used to define real or genuine and made to be or look just like the original. To question originality is somewhat confusing with other nationalities and in Kilgore it keeps the Rodriguez family smiling at the questioning of their traditions and strong in their ways to deliver exactly what they know as authentic Mexican food.
Eduardo Rodriguez began work for Bolt Oilfield Services in 1993. “My boss told me,” said Eduardo, “the economy is going to get bad. Save your money. And I listened. When the oilfield started getting bad, we had already started our business.”
Their family-owned business began in 2014 and now instead of those wistfully wishing for the once popular Albert’s Mexican Village, Las Tejanitas is moving to the forefront. The name itself means Texas or Tejas Girls referring tp the mother and daughter team, Rosa and Diana and now daughter-in-law Ashley. Rosa’s husband Eduardo and their son, Eddie, are by their sides working just as hard to make sure each customer leaves satisfied with their meal.
“When we first started looking for names (for the business),” said Rosa. “I found all kinds of names with ‘taco’ in it. And the Grande Taco is my original, so, I really didn’t want others to think they were just getting another taco. Then I was talking to a friend and she said you are now talking more like a Tejana than with your own native accent,” she laughed. “So, we started out with Tacos Las Tejanitas and soon dropped the Tacos from the name.”
“My daughter and I thought we would just be serving the Grande Taco, but we had to expand quickly,” she laughed. “People wanted more and our Dollar Taco Wednesdays have them coming off the interstate to eat authentic Mexican food, whether they eat the tacos or not. One family found us traveling through to Corpus Christi and came back on their return trip to Florida. Not just one, but many families are now finding us as they travel,” she said excitedly. “It is hard to understand how they know about us.”
“But, who is this Albert?” she asked sincerely. “They say I use Albert’s hot sauce. I don’t know an Albert and people think my hot sauce is his and that I buy it at WalMart in those little jars. There is no way I could buy enough of the little jars to feed my customers.”
“We might all cook differently, but we all take turns making the hot sauce in large batches,” said Eddie. “With our recipe, it will come out tasting the same. We can’t control the heat of the peppers; even though we put in the same amount every time some batches turn out hotter than others. Definitely not bought out of WalMart.”
“Not when we have people asking for 2 or 3 cups of it at a time,” added Rosa. “The customer wants fresh and for their food to taste fresh and good.”
Las Tejanitas is decorated with traditional décor and according to the rest of the family would be more so if Rosa had her way, something she truly enjoys doing. It was perceived by some to be for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo being celebrated on Friday, May 5.
“In Mexico, we do not celebrate like in the United States,” said Eduardo. “Here, they find a reason to party,” he laughed. “There we gather and share traditional food and silent prayer. We talk about La Batalla de Pueblo, the big battle with France. We talk about the history, honor the flag, and honor the people who died in the traditional manner we were taught.”
“France had better weapons, good uniforms and a bigger army,” he continued. “Ours had sling shots and machetes. But, we had home advantage and we were motivated from winning the revolution. We won a battle that wasn’t in our favor and lives were lost. We honor those who died.”
“We were surprised when we first moved here at the way it is celebrated here,” he explained. “I told Rosa to just go along, so we could learn, too, how it is done in other places.”
“Here, our community will gather with traditional foods like rice, beans, enchiladas and tacos, different kinds of salsa and we will talk the history and have silent prayer,” he said. “We are not planning a party.”
Authentic is what they strive for at Las Tejanitas and traditional customs carried on with the family. Eduardo, Rosa, Eddie, Diana and their families are establishing their own reputation – a reputation that is equivalent to that of Albert’s Mexican Village and one that appeals to the taste buds of all nationalities. Rosa now knows that comparing her hot sauce to Albert’s Famous Hot Sauce is a compliment.
May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes Throughout the Week. In the meantime, we may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 903-984-2593.