Tacos can be challenging. There are tacos made with pork stomach lining. There tacos made with cow uterus. There’s the Michoacan dish, rellena, a loose blood pudding with pancita, tripe and heart that goes by the name moronga when encased in intestine. It’s amazing in a handmade tortilla and dressed with salsa chile de árbol.Then there are taco challenges such as the Austin vegan taco cleanse and, in Dallas, the 60 Day Taco Challenge undertaken by Jeff Old and documented on Facebook. He took some time out of his taco itinerary, which is nearing its end, to answer some questions for the Taco Trail.
Taco Trail: What sparked the taco challenge?
Jeff Old: It started from a conversation I had with my wife. I was bragging about how much I loved tacos and that I could eat them every day. From that conversation was the idea that I could eat tacos for 60 days in a row. She thought I was “all talk” and that I wouldn’t actually go through with it. After some thought, I came up with the idea of the 60 Day Taco Challenge. I realized how much fun I could have with this and I wanted to share my taco journey with others through social media.
TT: How do you select which establishments to patronize?
JO: I select the places I will eat at based on my previous experiences, online research and recommendations from friends and through others on social media.
TT: By which criteria do you judge the tacos?
JO: The criteria on which I rate the tacos on are based on several factors. First, is the taste and the quality of the food. Second, I take into consideration the genre of taco I am eating since there are so many different categories like traditional Tex-Mex, Mexican street tacos, gourmet, fast food and so on. Third, is the restaurant concept type, where the establishment is a nice sit down restaurant, food truck, taqueria, gas station, fast casual, fast food, etc. Fourth is the overall experience I had. If I have any good personal memories from my past. These two have less weight than the others but can affect the rating.
TT: What have been some of your favorite places? Your worst?
JO: Many of my favorites so far (in no particular order) have been Urban Rio, El Taco del Rincon de Villa, Rusty Taco, Urban Taco, and Torchy’s Taco to name a few. Some of my least favorite have been Tacos Lalo’s, Rosa’s, On the Border, and Holy Frijoles. I know I have a lot of great tacos to eat over the next few weeks and I look forward exploring the Metroplex for tacos.
TT: How have your views of tacos changed during the challenge?
JO: This experiment of mine has done what I had hoped it would do, open my eyes and taste buds to the many different types of tacos and places I would not normally experience in my everyday routine. I certainly have a greater fondness for authentic Mexican street tacos and have tried many different meat varieties so far.
I am [more than] half way through this and I had no idea how much time and planning this would take, but it has been worth it. I am on a quest for the ultimate taco, I kind of hope I never find it.