I got the call a couple hours before opening time. Luis Villalva, who had previously worked at Revolver Taco Lounge in Fort Worth and most recently worked with Taco Party (he was the guy in the soccer jersey manning the trompo at TacoCon), was finally ready to serve tacos at his own place, El Come [Koh-meh] Taco on Fitzhugh Avenue. “José, it’s Luis. We open El Come Taco at 5 p.m. Come eat some tacos,” was the voicemail message. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it for first service. But I made it for lunch the next day—the day I had waited for since Villalva clued me into his plan at TacoCon. And it was worth it.
El Come Taco translates to He Eats Taco, and, for the time being, tacos are all you can eat when you visit the taqueria. Villalva did tell me huaraches, quesadillas and other antojitos would join the slate eventually. Nevertheless, the tacos are enough. They’re also surprising. Not just because there are off-menu options but because Villalva and staff have brought a little of their former Mexico City operation, Transito, to East Dallas. Continue reading
The whistle of the A-Train blew seconds before the lady behind the counter called to us: “Quieren cebolla y cilantro?” Do you want onion and cilantro? My brother and I both responded with a childish “Si” and returned to our table, each with a plate of three corn tortilla tacos.
La Estrella Mini-Mart serves up the taco basics: barbacoa, chicken, carne asada, lengua and al pastor.
At $1.25 for a single two-bite taco, La Estrella’s tacos may seem pricey. But what the tacos lack in size, they more than make up for in quality.
La Estrella’s meats are seasoned just enough to allow for the natural flavor of beef, pork and chicken to poke through to the taste buds.
For my first round (because I did go back for another round of tacos), I ordered one chicken, one carne asada and one al pastor.
The carne asada, the standard of any taqueria, is tender, lightly seasoned and contains almost none of the annoying bits of chewy fat that sometimes get in the way of fully enjoying a carne asada taco.
The chicken meat is cut into even little squares that seem to blend into the cilantro and onion and, when covered with the house salsa verde and lime juice, the taco undergoes a refreshing transformation.
My favorite was undoubtedly the tacos al pastor. The succulent pork almost melted in my mouth. With or without salsa, the tacos al pastor significantly stand out because of how well the taste of pork is delivered via the corn tortilla, onions and cilantro. Even when covered in either the green or red salsa, none of the taste is lost.
Needless to say, the texture of the tacos is not exaggerated in any way and the simplicity only adds to the taste by not raising expectations.
Unless you grew up eating in dark but colorful taquerias, you may find it difficult to appreciate the cozy atmosphere at La Estrella. Seating inside is limited, with only three small tables and beat-up chairs.
The best taquerias aren’t always pretty. What the best taquerias do is serve the superlative tacos above all else.
Seeing as how this is my first review of a Denton taqueria, it is too soon to give the “Best of Denton” title to La Estrella. But this colorful convenience store/taqueria certainly set the bar substantially high for future reviews.
La Estrella Mini Market
602 E. McKinney St.
Denton, TX 76205
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
Today, Marshall Scott Owens (@WestTX_BBQ on Twitter) drops a guest post on the Taco Trail. The Lubbock resident is a financial adviser at a Fortune 500 company. More importantly, he likes “BBQ, tacos, burgers, and brew,” and, he says, “If college football was a food I would eat as much as I could.” You can read Owens’ guest post on Full Custom Gospel BBQ here. Before you do that, though, read his review of Taqueria Jalisco in Lubbock. It might come in handy during the Texas Tech games against Oklahoma University and University of Texas this fall.
I went to Jalisco under the guise of a “romantic” date with my girlfriend, but I was really there to review what I think are the best tacos in Lubbock.
Taqueria Jalisco isn’t your run-of-the-mill Tex-Mex restaurant. The menu tends to offer more than the typical “food smothered in cheese then ran through a pizza oven.” People commonly refer to Jalisco as Tex-Mex, but those people tend to think all Mexican food in Texas is Tex-Mex. Although I have never been to Guadalajara, I would like to think Jalisco lives up to the name, and it is anything but just Tex-Mex. Continue reading