On two consecutive days I found myself in Richardson. And two consecutive days, I left two taquerias with a skip in my step and a smile on my face. The second, La Candelaria—named after the religious holiday marking the end of the Christmas season in Mexico and commemorating the presentation of the infant Jesus at the temple—is tucked into a corner of a shopping center anchored by a large supermarket. But I only noticed that on the way out. So fixed I was on getting my mitts around the restaurant’s handmade tortillas on the independent recommendation of two friends.
The L-shaped taqueria was dark, even in the middle of the day, when I walked up to the counter and ordered one of almost everything (they were out of pancita [stomach, guts]).
There was only awful taco that day at La Candelaria—the hongos. The rubbery collection of sliced mushrooms was fresh from an aluminum culinary coffin. I caught the owner clearing tables and asked about the cabeza. The cachete, or cheek, was a tad too fatty for his tastes, but that he liked it all the same. (Of course he did.) If it needed less fat—which it didn’t; the cabeza was the leanest I’ve had in Dallas-Fort Worth—the cheek meat needed more seasoning. A net of iridescent fat would’ve provided.
In contrast, the chicken was juicy with browned edges and corners, a relief from the plethora of abysmal chicken tacos I usually encounter. The chivo was smooth with mellow gaminess, like a friendly, reaffirming pat on the cheek.
While the pastor wasn’t cooked on a trompo and included chunks of gristle, it did have a pleasant char as well as mild flavor from the coating of achiote, chiles and citrus. A taco de nopal, filled with a sliced cactus pad that were a touch slimy and dotted with white onions had an unexpected throw pillow’s whack to the cheek imparted by vinegar, which when you include the chicken and the rough, sweet handmade tortillas sums up Taqueria La Candelaria nicely, a bright, punchy spot to the north.Taqueria La Candelaria 200 N. Coit Road, Richardson 972-234-4262