For months, a friend had sung the praises of Ojeda’s Mexican Restaurant a Maple Avenue Tex-Mex joint in which he practically grew up (his family ate there weekly). We knocked back beer as we sat in the back room non-taco items obscuring the booth table.
All of it was run-of-the-mill Tex-Mex. Well, almost all of it.
What my buddy “really, really” wanted me to try was “the amazing puffed tacos. They’re the bomb, dude,” he declared with much verve. “Brilliant!” I would expect a popular dish such as the puffed tacos at a family-owned and operated Dallas institution since 1969 to be brilliant, yes, and served by a knowledgeable staff.
When I asked the Latino waiter what was the proper method of eating a puffed taco, I was told, nonchalantly, “I have no idea.” He wasn’t raised as a Mexican-American in Texas. The waiter was from Mexico, where the slick bowl of greasy tortilla brimming with under-seasoned “taco meat” ¿Qué tal, expired ground beef? Hola, chicken jerky!) and bodega-quality tomato and lettuce was as alien as mole is to Puerto Ricans.
Mushy and far from a simplified definition of a taco, a handy snack, the puffed taco was, contrary to my dear friend’s opinion, an embarrassing element of Tex-Mex deserving of exile.
If you want a puffed taco done perfectly—yes, perfectly—I suggest Desperados Mexican Restaurant on Greenville Avenue. There, you will have a puffed taco platter (utensils not required) executed with religious discipline, the signature and never-failing Desperados Tacos.
4617 Maple Ave.