Street tacos come in a plethora of forms: pastor/trompo, guisados, chapulines, etc. While I’ve enjoyed those, I have been unable to sample until National Taco Day a hard-to-find variety in Dallas: tacos al vapor. These tacos are steamed treats sometimes listed as tacos de canasta (basket, referring to the vessel in which they are kept warm and steamed) and tacos sudado (sweated). But at the two taquerías I visited last Thursday, they were labeled as al vapor. Along for the ride was Alex Flores, the graphic whiz who gives this blog its visual appeal.
The tacos al vapor at Taco Rico on Clarendon are priced at a dollar a piece and available by cash only. We didn’t know what to expect. For that price, we could easily be presented with cold, gummy envelopes hiding sad fillings. What we received was a plate of iridescent pockets containing deshebrada de pollo, potato and frijol, each of which could be piled with cabbage and chopped tomatoes.
The beans, which could have easily been the worst of the bunch, were smooth, salty and hot. The potato taco needed seasoning assistance, which it got in the form of sweet salsa verde emitting a subtle wave of heat. Mild, stewy deshebrada ended our meal on a high note.
At Mi Tierrita on Davis Street—now with corrected signage—tacos al vapor come wrapped in aluminum foil to slow the cooling that could render them inedible. While the deshebrada was a zinger, the beans were tepid, cracked blocks. Thankfully, the potato tacos al vapor, blanketed with stretches of finger-staining cascabel chile paste, were delightful. Opening the small snacks released wisps of steam carrying rustic, smoldering notes that materialized in a stack of napkins, shredded and red.
Taken with a taco pirata de trompo, a dish approaching quesadilla proportions with griddle-slapped flour tortillas, peeling here and there—actually, taken with almost everything at the restaurant—the potato tacos al vapor have secured Mi Tierrita’s place in my top taquerías of 2012.Taco Rico
2850 W. Clarendon Dr.
214-623-7912 Mi Tierrita Taquería y Pupusería
2838 W. Davis St.