If you’ve picked up the February issue of D Magazine—and if you haven’t, you should—you’ve seen my feature, “The Top 20 Taquerias in Dallas.” Unfortunately, between press time and the newsstand date, two of the restaurants listed shut their doors for good, although both cited they have future projects in mind. Each cited lack of customer traffic. Taco Republic, which wowed me with the Thai Chihuahua and use of tortillas made from nixtamal, closed last month and was ranked number 7 on my list. Taco Republic didn’t make to its first anniversary. Owner Ron Guest placed the blame squarely on the fast-casual joint’s location. Taco Republic was a pain in the neck to get to. Café Maya, made it past the year mark before closing in January, but not by much. The loss of Café Maya hurt. When co-owner Sergio Pinto broke the bad news to me, it felt like someone had thrown hundreds of slap bracelet around my gut. It hurt. And not just because it meant I’d be missing the killer cochinita pibil. Café Maya was a family-owned joint that put it all out there. I hate seeing family restaurants shut down. We need more of them.
What follows are additional write-ups that could’ve been on the list for some reason. About the first: Had I visited the truck more than once before I filed my story, the mobile concern would’ve broken the top 10, as the best taco truck in the Dallas. The second, a Dallas institution owned by one of the standard-bearers of Mexican food and Tex-Mex in this city, was edged out by a late entry. Nevertheless, it’s worthy of an honorable mention, as are Birrieria Aguiñaga, Fito’s #3, La Tejanita and Taco Ocho (which I’ve reviewed in the past). Continue reading
DFW Truck for Tots — On Saturday December 8, 2012 from 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m., 25 Dallas and Fort Worth food trucks are gathering at the corner of Elm Street and Gaston Avenue in Deep Ellum (2505 Elm Street, Dallas, TX) for a massive toy drive for the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of Toys for Tots. More than 20 United States Marines will be on hand to take toy donations and guests are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for a needy child. Pictures with Santa will be available in addition to live music, bounce houses and more than 50 vendors for holiday shopping.
In partnership with local schools including W.E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy and Lincoln High School, students will be encouraged to collect toys and bring them to the event with their family. There will also be a performance by the Lincoln High School Tiger Marching Band. More than 25 confirmed food trucks will be on-site, including Rock & Roll Tacos, Rockstar Bakeshop, Easy Slider Truck, Ssahm BBQ, Gepetto’s Pizza, Three Lions, The Gastro Bomber and more.
Guests are encouraged to ride the DART Green Line and get off at the Deep Ellum Station, which is across the street from the event. Guests coming from North Dallas can ride any line into downtown and transfer to the Green Line without worrying about the hassle of parking. This event is brought to you by DFW Food Truck Group, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Deep Ellum Outdoor Market and other local sponsors. Continue reading
No city’s food truck scene is complete without taco trucks, and if they’re good, even better. Thankfully, Dallas’ taco trucks are exactly that and Taco Party, the latest rig to roll out, continues the trend. But it’s different.
Instead of the aggressive flavors common in north of the border tacos from our area’s other food trucks, Taco Party, owned and operated by cousins Rafael Rico and Eduardo Ramirez, offers the nuanced, dialed-down flavors of Mexico. There are exceptions, of course, namely the brisket with ancho sauce and the fish with a standard chipotle crema accompaniment.
The confit pork in green sauce (similar to a guisado verde) is an impressive mound of cubed meat laced with a tomatillo salsa that could’ve been a touch tighter. Tucked into the springy pork were pulpy strands of fat that completed a terrific taco with teasing heat in non-greasy yellow corn tortillas.
Last week, I decried the fact that no food truck, much less a taco truck, was serving breakfast tacos. Then, I went to the Grand Prairie Farmers Market’s Hatch Chile Festival, hungry. There weren’t any taco trucks stationed on the west end of the market, but Taste of Home, a rig specializing in Chicago-style sausages, was selling breakfast tacos, Hatch chilies optional.
The line for the tacos was five deep. The number of people waiting for their orders was twice that, while the wait for said orders was 30 minutes. One woman paced, barely containing her exasperation. Shortly thereafter, her name was called with the wrong order repeated to her. She darted out of view when she got the correct tacos. But the natives were getting restless. Other customers grumbled. One threatened to demand reimbursement. Another remarked, “These breakfast tacos better come with gold plate.” Continue reading
Operating out of Tarrant County, Scott Wooley’s So-Cal Tacos is a red rig affixed with a surfboard. Like its Dallas counterpart, Rock and Roll Tacos, it’s hard to miss. So-Cal Tacos is also the truck that initiated my quest for primo fish tacos, leading to notable selections across Dallas-Fort Worth and San Diego (more on that in the future).
The San Diego Classic, the signature dish, resembles a Gorton’s fish fillet of childhood but offers bright, acidic licks and a pleasant crunch imparted by panko breading and zippy garnishes of slaw and aioli. The breading is a departure from the standard fish taco enclosed in beer-batter. However, it works. And in three words: I dig it. Continue reading
A friend and I took off for a day of tacos in Fort Worth last month. By the end of the taco tour, we had visited three restaurants, one truck and one trailer. The trailer in question was Chile Pepper Grill in the Cowtown Chow Down food truck park.
What I noticed first about Chili Pepper Grill was the impressive menu. There was asada and tripe but also an alambre taco, meat with all the fixings. Choriqueso, a gooey hybrid of a taco, was another option. Huaraches, tortas, gorditas, quesadillas and burritos, each for six dollars, rounded out the available items.
I’ve eaten tacos made in a laundromat, tacos on the property of an automechanic’s garage and now I’ve eaten tacos from Zombie’s Food Truck, a Fort Worth-based mobile kitchen specializing in vegan foods. At the invitation of Dallas Vegan’s Jamey Scott, I hopped on the bus for a Dallas Vegan Drinks meetup during a Deep Ellum Brewing Company Thursday night tour, with food from the aforementioned operation.
Named after Texas Rangers starting pitcher (and native Dominican) Neftali Feliz—currently on the disabled list—Zombie’s Neftacos Feliz are small corn tortillas filled with partially shredded meat substitute seitan (wheat gluten) and topped with stringy onion, chopped avocados then given a sprinkle of cilantro. The pair are a solid meal with a few disappointments. Continue reading
Filed under DFW, food truck
I never liked Tin Star Taco Bar. From the get-go, the concept seemed like an M Crowd restaurant’s annoying, “pat-on-the-head” clever stepbrother. Besides, at this point, the chain’s signature noisome cheeseburger taco is hackneyed. Mark Brezinski, owner of Velvet Taco, had a hand in Tin Star, and now his unfortunately named Henderson Avenue gringo taco house offers a cheeseburger taco. It’s terrible. Continue reading
During a family lunch at Richardson’s newest specialty taquería, Taco Republic (full disclosure: I did not receive any food gratis), I had the opportunity to speak with owner Ron Guest. While we chatted about the business and the grub, Guest announced that he and his partners are planning a food truck. Specifically, the Taco Republic mobile operation will hit the road after the bricks-and-mortar concern breaks even but well before the restaurant’s first anniversary.
As for the meal, I fulfilled the promise I made in my initial review, and enjoyed it. The Game Day buffalo chicken taco (not pictured) wasn’t buried under a briar patch of mediocre ingredients. Instead, chunks of chicken tossed in a tangy sauce peeked from beneath shaved celery and carrots. Mixed with the chicken was a sensible amount of blue cheese crema that wasn’t a runny cascade of putridity. Continue reading
|3 Men and a Taco/Facebook
A tent beyond the Fair Park esplanade bore an unexpected treasure during the underwhelming Taste of Dallas, 3 Men and a Taco, a gourmet taco truck concern at the time without a truck. What the operators, an enthusiastic group of chefs, former bartenders and die-hard taco fans, had was an ambitious roster of grub separated into regular— though far from original—and walking—rolled and fried, AKA dorados—tacos.
Especially delightful was the beet taco, one of my top tacos of 2011. Sadly, it’s no longer on the menu. Also relegated to the menu hereafter are the Ethiopian-inspired doro wat chicken with traditional niter kebbeh (seasoned clarified butter) and berbere (an Ethiopian spice mixture), the gator with okra as well as beef goreme, another African turn, topped with a feta sauce. Continue reading