Tag Archives: al pastor

La Mexicana

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La Mexicana’s overall taco quality is difficult to evaluate. It is one of Denton’s few authentic Mexican sit-down restaurants, which means its menu is more expansive than the other taquerias we’ve visited in the city.

Its tacos are served lightly oiled tortillas and topped with cilantro and chopped onion, and of the six tacos I ordered four hit the mark. Continue reading

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Filed under Denton, DFW, Reviews

Taqueria Guanajuato

Taqueria Guanajuato Tacos

A blanket of warm air wafted over me the moment I stepped into Denton’s Taqueria Guanajuato. The heavenly aroma of 10 warm cuts of meat sitting on a skillet quickly enveloped me as the door closed behind me.

This small taqueria offers the basics: carne asada, lengua, barbacoa, chicken, campechanos, chicharron, al pastor and beef fajita. It also has a few choices that I’m not used to seeing as the main course on tacos: chorizo and nopales.

One of Taqueria Guanajuato’s big advantages is that it offers tacos in both small and large tortillas. Obviously the larger tortillas cost a few cents more, but you get a more filling meal. The small tortilla option allows for variety in taste.

I admit I was eating on a bit of a tight budget, but I think I made the right call with the tacos I ordered. Continue reading

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Filed under Denton, DFW, North Texas, Reviews

An Interview With Steve Sando, Owner of Rancho Gordo

Steve Knows Beans

Photo Credit: Israel Valencia

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I first met Steve Sando online.  His passion for Mexican food was apparent.  I didn’t need to look into his eyes to see it. The love of Mexican culture and Mexico itself spilled onto the screen. I met him in person for the first time at the Ferry Building Farmers Market in San Francisco. He was hawking beans and I’d been given requests by Portlanders aplenty to mule some back north.

Since then, Steve has taken the lowly bean from a neglected legume to superstar-status ingredient. Sando’s company, Rancho Gordo, grows, imports and promotes heirloom and heritage varieties while working directly with consumers and chefs like Thomas Keller, Deborah Madison, Paula Wolfert and David Kinch.

Sando’s seed saving, bean production, and marketing efforts provide professional and home chefs with heirloom beans that would otherwise have been lost to history. The beans, along with corn, chiles, and tomatoes, have become key ingredients in the new American food revolution centered in Sando’s native San Francisco Bay Area. In fact, Sando and Rancho Gordo were named number two on Saveur magazine’s “The Saveur 100 list for 2008.” Bon Appetit magazine declared Sando one of the Hot 10 in the food world of 2009. Food + Wine magazine placed Steve “at the forefront of the current seed-saving movement.”  Steve’s two books are  Heirloom Beans and The Rancho Gordo Bean Growers Guide.

He now grows more than 25 varieties in California and works with small indigenous farmers in Mexico to import their heirloom beans for the U.S. market. He lives in Napa and travels frequently throughout the Americas.

Taco Trail: I use your beans at Mi Mero Mole, as you know, for frijoles charros. One time I ran out and tried regular pinto beans. I ended up giving the soup away rather than selling it because it was so much worse. It doesn’t even seem to matter which bean of yours I use for the soup.  It turns out great with every variety I’ve tried.  Why in the hell are your beans so damn good?

Steve Sando: My first guess would be that they’re fresh, as in less than a year old. I don’t want to tell you how old some commercial beans are. It’s not right. There are variations within pinto beans, but they are a very light colored bean and only get darker as they get older. You really want to eat them within two years if you can.

This will sound ridiculous, but most everyone at Rancho Gordo loves beans and none of us would tolerate an inferior product at this point. If there were problems, or even if beans were lackluster, bells would go off long before the problem got to me, let alone the consumer.

TT: Is there a region of Mexico with especially interesting or diverse beans? If so, what are some favorites and why? Continue reading

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Filed under California, interviews, Taco Week

El Globo Taqueria

El Globo Front

TacoWeekBannerI headed to Dallas for the weekend with two things in mind: seeing my family and taking a trip to El Globo Taqueria in the heart of North Oak Cliff.

The 28 years El Globo has operated really say something about the quality of its tacos. The tacos here are adorned with cilantro and chopped onions on either flour or yellow corn tortillas. The corn tortilla tacos are served with two tortillas that have been lightly warmed on an oiled skillet, and come with three kinds of salsas: tomatillo and jalapeño, chile de arbol and tomato, and avocado with jalapeño.

The carne asada was tasty and was best complemented by the tomatillo and jalapeño salsa.

The barbacoa was moist, soft and appeared to have been cooked in its own fat. Frankly, you can’t go wrong with meat that increases its own tastiness. Continue reading

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Filed under Oak Cliff, Reviews, Taco Week

El Taquito

ElTaquito

It wasn’t planned. Our Austin taco stop on the return trip from a Brownsville taco tour weekend was supposed to be El Taco Rico. Unfortunately, it was closed. El Taquito, a fast-casual chain outpost on Riverside Drive, was a backup-backup choice. We were there for pork, specifically al pastor from a trompo, after consuming almost nothing but beef in the Rio Grande Valley. A couple tacos al pastor from some joint off the highway would be all that was needed to hold us over until we got home.

As it turned it out, I had been to El Taquito before. On my first visit, midway through an East Austin taco crawl, Roberto Espinosa tried to warn me about the fried tripe before I bit down on a substance that was more PVC tubing than edible offal.

But it wasn’t time for tripe. It was time to leave behind cow country and the border for a pork preparation. Except it wasn’t. El Taquito was founded in Tamaulipas, a border state where Matamoros and Reynosa are located. The original of the three Central Texas outposts, the official company line claims, was the first to introduce avocado and queso fresco, common taco garnishes on both sides of the Rio Grande, as topping options to Austin.

I had just come a trip where I ate such tacos almost exclusively. It was time for pork. Continue reading

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Filed under Austin, Chains, Reviews

Salsa Limón

SalsaLimonRig

Salsa Limón’s rig.

With locations at La Gran Plaza mall and on Berry Street (across from the original Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, for which they get major props), a roving truck and a new restaurant (AKA Salsa Limón Museo), across from the Modern Art Museum, Salsa Limón has built itself a mini empire in Fort Worth. Dallas is next.

During a Salsa Limón stop in the Harwood District for last Saturday, Ramiro Ramirez, co-owner along with sister, Rosalia, confirmed to Taco Trail that Salsa Limón will have a presence at Jason Boso’s Truck Yard on Lower Greenville, a something Teresa Gubbins vaguely mentioned in a Culture Map story. “We’ll be there as often as possible,” he said of the food truck park whose concept includes rotating vendors. Ramirez also mentioned a desire to have a rig station at Southern Methodist University, his alma mater.

How would Salsa Limón’s offerings—tacos, tortas, quesadillas—especially the signature El Capitan, hold up against Torchy’s Tacos’ edible melees and Rusty Taco’s reliable fare? Continue reading

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Filed under Dallas, DFW, food truck, Fort Worth, News, North Texas, Reviews

Taquería La Chilanga

LaChilangaSide

Dallas’ best potato and egg taco is found along Singleton Avenue, near the Trinity Groves. And I’m concerned it’s not long for this world. Until, a friend and I decided to try our luck with lunch at Taquería La Chilanga, the red, yellow, orange and white freestanding taquería at the foot of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, I’d not seen it open for business for months. I had thought it had already fallen victim to the restaurant concepts taking up the development led by uber-restaurateur Phil Romano and partners, at the eatery’s doorstep.

What we found wasn’t a gem but a solid operation making its own corn and flour tortillas by hand, a taquería that deserves constant business.

Lunch was every taco available—a total of seven—on tortillas de maiz hechas a mano split between two customers. We were the only customers. Continue reading

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Filed under Dallas, DFW, North Texas, Oak Cliff, Reviews, Texas, West Dallas

Trompo Loco Highland Mart

TrompoLoco

[CLOSED]

It all started with a photo message from Brandon Castillo. My friend, the executive director of the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market and co-producer of the North Texas Taco Festival, had sent me an image of a flyer with a trompo, the logo of the Saltillo, Mexico, soccer club, a map and words: Trompo Loco Highland Mart.

Our first attempt at eating at Trompo Loco was for naught. I arrived ahead of Brandon and found the blue corner building, a former bodega, closed with no sign of a lunch opening. We defaulted to Tacos La Banqueta, a short walk away. It wasn’t a bad move.

On recent weekend morning, I get another photo from Brandon, this one of a lone taco de trompo on blue-and-white checker paper. It was followed by a picture of a trompo, carmine-colored spinning top-shape hunk pork capped with the top half of a pineapple at the corner of Worth Street & North Carroll Avenue.

It wasn’t until yesterday that I finally had the opportunity to try the tacos at Trompo Loco Highland Mart. They incredible. Continue reading

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Filed under Dallas, DFW, East Dallas, North Texas, Reviews

Taquería La Ventana

La Ventana

Mike Karns has it made. In one corner—in one building, actually—across from the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science and a Frisbee’s throw from Klyde Warren Park, The head of Firebird Restaurant Group has three restaurants for three demographics. Anchoring the property is the de facto flagship outpost of the El Fenix chain. Next door, the second Meso Maya—the first is on Preston—offers chef Nico Sanchez’s gourmet Mexican fare for a chic set. Behind that, walk-up Taquería La Ventana serves classic tacos in tortillas made from nixtamal, for those who might only have enough time for a nosh at one of its outdoor tables. And for that, it’s perfect. Aside from food trucks, you’d be hard pressed to find such convenient and adequate grub at the border of Uptown and Downtown. Even if La Ventana’s menu contains offensive language (more on that later). Continue reading

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Filed under Dallas, DFW, Downtown, North Texas, Reviews, Texas, Uptown