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Fearless Critic restaurant review
San Antonio
Mexican, American
Counter service

Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun 11:00am–11:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:00am–midnight

Features Kid-friendly
Bar Beer
Credit cards None
Reservations Not accepted

West Side
822 SW 19th St.
San Antonio
(210) 432-7171
Ray’s Drive Inn
Neon Virgins meet Big Red and puffy tacos in a fabulous cultural mashup

Ray’s Drive Inn is one of those great holes-in-the-wall that you can’t wait to take all your friends to. Ray lays claim to having originated the puffy taco, and we’ll lay money that Ray is right, in part because the puffy tacos here are the best in town. The shell is lighter than air once fried, yet strong enough to hold the filling (picadillo, carne guisada—you know the drill) without the whole thing collapsing in your hands. Order three for about $6 and enjoy the décor, which includes lots of trash, er, treasures and Virgens de Guadalupe haloed in neon.

Another San Antonio creation, “Crispy Dogs,” is also on the menu. For these treats, they take a hot dog, slice it almost half-way in two, then stuff it with cheese before wrapping it in a tortilla. It’s then fried, of course. Kids of all ages love this one—especially washed down with a Big Red. If you must. An only slightly dissenting view: “I remember [the puffy tacos] needed to be eaten immediately upon being served, when the puff was still light and flaky. After a few minutes the ingredients began to erode the shell and everything crumbled apart. They aren’t shooting very high here but it’s a fun place...”

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