Film, television and theater actor Raul Castillo stole my heart when he appeared in Season 1 of the HBO series Looking as Richie. Sporting a San Francisco Giants baseball cap and cruising lead character Patrick on MUNI set my screen on fire. His sexy smile and down to earth attitude makes him an absolute catch – both on and off screen. Meeting Raul for the first time brought up memories of my high-school Latin papi crushes – because he is that guy you want to bring home to meet your mom. Raul recently completed production on the independent film ‘Sweets’ and is set to co-star in two additional independent films, ‘Celestina’ and ‘The Brute’. Season 2 of Looking premieres on January 11, 2015 on HBO.
Raul Castillo answers my foodie questionnaire here:
What is your favorite dessert?
Without a doubt it is my mother’s flan – it’s a special thing. My mom – Adela is her name (most people call her Adelita) is an incredible cook and has a special way with food. Her flan is the best I’ve ever had, though as a kid I didn’t appreciate it. You see I’m not a huge dessert person. I love a good dessert and will try anything. But I put most of my focus on the savory – rather than the sweet. After years of hearing people comment on my mom’s flan – and even her choco-flan (which is also incredible) I finally caved in. She uses the same two old clunky pots to make it in and neither of them are like the fancy new double-boilers they have now. There is something about those old pots and her touch. I don’t know – it’s truly heavenly.
What restaurant would you call your home?
It would have to be Taqueria Rios – which is located on the corner of Raúl Longoria Road and Liberty Loop in San Juan, Texas. I grew up in a small town in South Texas called McAllen. There are a ton of taquerías and I’ve eaten tacos far and wide but nothing beats Rios. EVERY time I am home I make it a point to go there. When I started going with my family it was essentially a small shack in the middle of an agricultural community. It eventually became a munchie-run for my friends and I. Since then the Rios family has built a substantially nicer locale on the same spot using the same comal from the original place. I don’t eat much meat these days but when I’m home I can’t help but indulge with an order of harina tacos de bistec, onion, cilantro, lime and salsa – what more do you need? Also, it doesn’t hurt that the Rios are a kind and loving family. My mother and Mrs. Rios get along like old friends even though we’ve only ever known them as customers – I guess that’s what makes it home.
What is the strangest or most inspiring thing you’ve ever eaten?
Most inspiring? Check the above answer. The strangest was bugs. I’ve had chapulines (grasshoppers), gusanos de maguey (worms from the agave plant) and ants. I tried them both in Mexico and at Mexican restaurants in the U.S. The grasshopper tacos at Oyamel in Washington D.C. just might be my favorite. My cuñado (brother-in-law) Omar Rodriguez was head chef there for a while and they killed it on the chapulin tacos.
What was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?
I hate to say it, cause I would never eat them now nor would I EVER feed them to my kids (if I had kids) but Rice Krispies.
What is your favorite food to pig out on after the club?
I rarely indulge in late-night snacks but as you can tell by my answers it is hands down tacos. Last year, while filming Season 1 of Looking, we were all hanging around the Mission on Day of the Dead. I threw down on a lengua taco and a carnitas taco from La Taqueria on Mission. Man, they throw down! Loved that place.