I often say I’d give up all of the restaurants in Portland-proper for those of the suburbs and outskirts. A culinary school can’t compete with Korean, Mexican, or Indian grandmas. Though when I say that, I’m usually not thinking about chain-dominated Tualatin. The only reason I had actually stopped in Tualatin, rather than just passed through, was to go to Chocosphere to will-call high-end chocolate. But the benefits of running a Mexican restaurant that doesn’t use Velveeta is that customers entrust their food finds to you. And so when I heard about Ome Calli serving authentic paletas and chamoyadas, I had to go check it out. I didn’t know then that next door I’d also discover one of Oregon’s best taquerias. Continue reading
Tag Archives: tacos
Some of the best taco trucks and taquerias are found next to strip clubs and porn stores. It’s not because perverts are better judges of tacos—I don’t think. It’s that niche ethnic restaurants need cheap rent. In Portland, 82nd Avenue, which acts as a major north-south thoroughfare and quasi-feeder for I-205, has at least three porn stores, a couple strip clubs, and a half dozen or more “lingerie” modeling joints. It also has several of the best Vietnamese, Chinese, and Mexican restaurants in town. One of its newest loncheras is also one of the city’s best: Los Alambres. Continue reading
While Mexico City may not have New York’s skyscrapers, it’s every bit as big — bigger — and its people every bit as busy. Urban life doesn’t always allow for a home-cooked meal. So in DF, the home-cooked meal has come to the street in the form of tacos de guisado. Continue reading
Wow. Wow again. You made the first North Texas Taco Festival a success beyond our wildest expectations. Thank you, and thank you for the feedback on our inaugural taco celebration. A special thanks to the vendors, special guests and all who made the NTTF a fantastic event. The producing team promises to make the second annual NTTF even better, with more vendors and shorter lines. Before then, though, take a look-see at some photos from Taco Trail’s design honcho, Alex Flores.
Last August, Taco Trail brought you the news that El Padrino was ordered to vacate it’s Bishop Arts District. Well, there’s an update. This is just in from Juan Contreras, Jr., of El Padrino, in original press release form.
El Padrino Taqueria a casualty to the Bishop Arts District’s success
DALLAS, TX – El Padrino Taqueria, affectionately known as El Padrino (Mexican Godfather), a popular Mexican food stand in the Bishop Arts District since the 1990’s has lost their lease and has found a new home. El Padrino was housed in an old original Jack in the Box shaped fast food stand located on 330 W. Davis St., and provided great Mexican fast food to N. Oak Cliff’s diverse clientele.
El Padrino lost their lease to Sarah Lombardi in May “We didn’t see this coming, but we were grateful that Ms. Lombardi let us operate through November. Which allowed us some time to look for a new location and for our employees to find jobs nearby.” says Juan Contreras Jr. El Padrino hoped to move to a new location in the Bishop Arts District or somewhere nearby, “Unfortunately it was harder than we thought. Our broker Charlie Perdue, from Perdue Equities worked with us to find us a home nearby, however, there were just no options to fit our needs.” says Juan C. Contreras Jr., Managing Partner.
The Contreras say that they decided to move to southeastern Dallas on 1215 S Buckner Blvd not only because they got a good deal in their new location but also because they also wanted to expand their locations: one in Oak Cliff and the other in Pleasant Grove. “One of our friends here in the community approached us with a deal we could not pass and well we decided to give it a try.” says Juan Contreras Jr.
The new Padrino’s expects to open May 3rd, 2013 serving the same type of original Mexican food items and more.
“We had a great run in the Bishop Arts District, and were surrounded by inspiring friends in the community and we expect to continue our success in our new location.” says Juan Contreras Jr.
El Padrino also has the original location located at 408 W. Jefferson Boulevard, which remains open.
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
If you’ve been watching Top Chef Seattle, you know of the three Dallas chefs competing on the reality TV cooking show. Week before last, John Tesar, one of those toques, was voted off the show, but was given a chance at redemption through a text messaging and a social media campaign. The latter counted the number of times the #SaveChefJohn hashtag was mentioned on Twitter versus that of his opponent. During the popularity contest’s run, I tweeted to Tesar that he’d have my #SaveChefJohn vote if he agreed to offer a one-night-only seafood taco special at his Preston Center restaurant, Spoon Bar & Kitchen. He did agree, and will have the taco available tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 15.
Before I share the type of taco, I’d like to tell you. Tesar knows his way around a taco. The chef John helped develop the Wild Salsa menu and concept before handing it over to Kelly Hightower. I’m expecting a solid taco born of his familiarity with the food and his expertise with seafood. The man knows his stuff. Continue reading
Mark Miller is to New Mexico’s cuisine what Stephan Pyles is to Texas foodways. Each is a big shot in the Southwestern cuisine movement that swept the country in the 1980s and ’90s. Pyles opened his latest restaurant, Stampede 66, in early November. This summer, UrbanRio Cantina & Grill, part of part of an entertainment and culinary complex in the Old Downtown Plano Ice House, seated its first guests within sight of the DART Downtown Plano station.
In the run up to Urban Rio’s opening, Miller was brought in as the consulting chef by owners Nathan and Bonnie Shea, who also own the Urban Crust pizzeria in Downtown Plano. His involvement in what was being billed as “Next Mex” had me excited. Recipes in Miller’s cookbook Tacos, are some of my family’s favorite and are in regular rotation at Casa Ralat. His The Great Chile Book is a concise, reference book. Then there was the fact that I could take light rail to its doorstep. Man, I was down right jazzed for a seat in its contemporary Rio Grande Valley-inspired interior.
So off I went from Dallas to Plano to meet a friend and hit up a couple of hole-in-the-wall taquerías before capping our day exploring a suburban taco scene at a well-received newcomer nurtured by a renowned chef.
Veletta Forsythe Lill, Outgoing Dallas Arts District Executive Director & Mother of Dallas Food Trucks
Do you operate a food truck in Dallas? Have you ever patronized a Dallas food truck? Well, you need to thank Veletta Forsythe Lill. The outgoing executive director of the Dallas Arts District, home to internationally renowned arts institutions and free public events that she’s helped foster, fought to have food regulations reformed so that you could enjoy Dallas’ best-smelling truck and the whiz-bang of K-Mex, not to mention ignite the celebrity of at least one area blogger. So, thank her. Lill is a hero, a champion of arts, culture and cuisine and someone who knows what she likes in a taco.
What is your favorite taco-related childhood memory?
I confess that I grew up in the Midwest in the 1950s and ’60s so tacos were not a staple. Besides the standard casseroles and Jell-O dishes of the period, our ethnic food was more European Union than Latin American. My taco, Tex-Mex, Mexican food addition was born in the 1980s when we moved to Dallas. I am thrilled to say that our city and America has become far more sophisticated about our food over the years. Continue reading
Friday on the trail means Taco Ticker, a selection of light, taco-related reading from around the web. This week’s pickings include free tacos, tacos on film and one town’s culinary transformation. Around these parts, I reviewed two amazing San Antonio breakfast taco joints as well as Mi Tierrita in Oak Cliff, where I found regional treasures (in flour tortillas). Over at Nation’s Restaurant News, Ron Ruggless announced Chili’s is testing a taco pizza in the Dallas market and Teresa Gubbins gave us a pre-opening look at Soleo Mexican Kitchen that will specialize in tacos and food from Jalisco, Mexico. Before we take in jalisciense cuisine, let’s take a trip to the Garden State.
Documentary Filmmaker Chronicles the Lives of Local Taco Truck Operators — Columbus Underground
Taco Cabana Celebrates Free Taco Day With 30,000 Chickens — QSR Magazine
Taco Bell expanding Cantina Bell menu — The Orange County Register
Taco Bell thrives inside a Cobble Hill hospital — New York Daily News