Mutt City Mash-Ups

How Has a Gyro Taco Never Happened Here Before?

Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

By Katharine Shilcutt February 20, 2014

"How has a gyro taco never happened in Houston before?" I marveled to a friend last night, as we grabbed a quick bite from the Houston Food Park before a show at Warehouse Live.

The taco in question was a "Greek Taco" from a new food truck I'd never seen before: Foreign Policy. It has a great paint job and a great name, done up in an almost Blade Runner aesthetic, underscored by the phrase "International Food" written in a variety of languages, including Spanish, Greek, and Korean. I felt prepared for a menu that blended together Mexican, American, Korean, and Greek, and to wonder why these cuisines had never been paired together before.

Instead, I found the short answer to my question above. The reason no one has made a gyro taco before is, presumably, because they're better in theory than in execution. Or, as one of my friends on Twitter put it: "Interesting, but...gyro on pita sounds more appealing than gyro on tortilla." It's not that the tortilla was a bad match for the gyro meat and tzatziki sauce; it just wasn't a fluffy, fat piece of pita bread. The end effect was like replacing the jelly in a PB&J with some Fruit Roll-Ups. The tortilla was clearly homemade, but suffered from an excess of lard. This made it stiffen up quickly and become tough before I was even halfway through my taco.

This could be why, despite co-existing together outside the West Alabama Ice House, the Papou Jerry gyro truck and the Tacos Tierra Caliente truck have never produced any offspring. Both Mexicans and Greeks know better than to partner their food, though both groups have been otherwise instrumental in shaping Houston's dining scene. Greek and Ecuadorian food at Harry's? Yes. Greek and Southern food at Avenue Grill? Yes. Greek breakfast pitas at Niko Niko's? Yes—and so close to Mexican! But not a full-on hybrid.

The Korean fusion taco I also grabbed fared a little better, but mostly because of the delicious kimchi on top of the otherwise bland beef. The veggie fries I ordered were an almost total loss, however, a curious attempt at making a Greek salad with french fries thrown in. The huge chunks of lettuce and tomato and onion were unwieldy, though I admit to enjoying the french fries when swiped through the creamy, garlicky tzatziki sauce—it functioned almost like Greek mayonnaise.

The messy alligator and wild boar "Swamp Thing" burger my friend grabbed from another food truck left us similarly unimpressed. I harrumphed, as is typical lately, that none of the new food trucks—which seem to come and go as quickly as the tides—are leaving a lasting impression these days. Everything we saw on the menus at the assortment of food trucks seemed like a copy of a copy—not a bad copy, but still not inventive and new and exciting. It's rare to find a new food truck that holds a candle to the line-up of old-timers that are still around, years after opening. That's what makes younger trucks like Muiishi Makirritos and Taco Nuts stand out; they're doing something different and doing it well.

Still, I came away from the Houston Food Park that night reminded that just because you can do something—pouring crawfish étouffée on top of an alligator burger, stuffing gyro meat in tacos, opening a food truck—doesn't mean you should.


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