The Home Depot now stands on the land where the Bronco Bowl once welcomed musical acts such as Bob Dylan and Lenny Kravitz. Across the street, along Fort Worth Avenue, sits a shopping center where Tacos King once doled out breakfast tacos. The taqueria is gone. The only remnant of its existence is the yellow awning bearing the business’ name. The space now houses Mi Lindo Oaxaca, likely the only Oaxacan restaurant in Dallas, and the one restaurant all seekers of authentic Mexican food should put at the top of their must-visit list.
Former migrant farm work Honorio Garcia opened Mi Lindo Oaxaca three months ago with the help of an Accion Texas micro loan because, he told me on my third of four visits to his restaurant, “There needed to be a taste of Oaxaca in Dallas.” Ladies and gentlemen, the American Dream is alive and well, and Honorio Garcia is serving it with mole oaxaqueño made from scratch, beginning with the hand-shelling of cacao for the chocolate. On one visit, I got to watch as the ingredients were being toasted on the dry flattop griddle.
The weekends-only regional specialty is a light sauce with twists of bitter and sweet and a joyous, flickering heat that will have you struggling to finish the platter well past a rational limit. There is so much of it. Push through. There’s more to enjoy.
Memelitas—similar to the sandal-shaped huaraches but with a thicker corn masa base—were slathered liberally with refried black beans and sprinkled with marble-sized chunks of queso fresco. Two would make an excellent, chewy snack between meals but stopping there would mean missing out on the enfrijoladas, a pile of large handmade corn tortillas encased in a black beans mixed with your choice of meat (go for the tasajo—dried salt beef that is typically tough) then topped with a ring of raw white onion. It’s a fragrant dish, seasoned with fresh herbs. The entomatada is much the same, switching out the beans for tomatoes.
Tejate, a refreshing pre-Hispanic corn-based Oaxacan drink made bearing an archipelago of corn milled by hand in the kitchen with cacao beans and flor de cacao, is served a colorful bowl with a few bobbing ice cubes.
While mole is the dish most popularly associated with Oaxaca, the star at Mi Lindo Oaxaca is the tlayuda. Often described as a Mexican pizza, the dish is packed with refried black beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado, queso Oaxaca and a choice of meat. Garcia serves his tlayuda folded in half, crisped and thin with wavy edges and sliced down the center.
Between the tlayuda and the taco is the quesadilla available in blue corn, manageable and delightful.
As for the tacos: They’re fine. Served with the standard cilantro and onion garnishes, possible fillings include tasajo, chorizo, chicken and cecina. At Mi Lindo Oaxaca the latter is chile-marinated pork. There are occasional specials, including the taco de costilla con nopalitos asado (rib with grilled cactus slices). The open-faced taco comes with a mix of chopped beef and a thin section of beef rib with a few cuts of nopales. As a hard-to-find taco in Dallas, the costilla is remarkable, well seasoned with salty touches amplified by salsa roja. The same style of thin corn tortilla used in the tlayuda and quesadilla is employed for the taco, though much smaller and given to tearing.
So why bother writing about a Mexican restaurant if its tacos are only just OK? The Taco Trail is about more than just tacos. But also because, it’s safe to say and bears repeating, Mi Lindo Oaxaca is likely the only Oaxacan restaurant in Dallas. It’s among the best restaurant in Dallas, too. But who knows for how long. Few businesses receive the true appreciation and support they need for doing it the hard way—the real hard way. It’s important to honor that by eating at Mi Lindo Oaxaca as often as possible. It’s too special of a place to let go. Maybe one day, hopefully soon, Garcia won’t have to support his restaurant with his foundation repair business. The only way that will happen is if you patronize Mi Lindo Oaxaca. When you do visit the restaurant, bring cash and the expectation that you will pay for the quality of the exceptional meal. It’s worth every damn dollar.
Mi Lindo Oaxaca
2535 Fort Worth Ave.
Dallas, TX 75211