Wherever there are taquerias, there is art that distinguishes each shop from its competition, attracts clientele and marks the origins of business. This folk art takes the form of menus painted onto facades, anthropomorphic tacos and chiles, women hard at work at a metate, Monterrey landmark Cerro de la Silla, whatever the owners or workers can imagine. There need not be any association between what the taqueria serves and what adorns its edifice, as is the case of El Si Hay in Oak Cliff, a Dallas neighborhood famed for its tacos. The freestanding joint does not serve tacos al pastor from a trompo; yet, there on an exterior wall is a painting of a taquero at a trompo. Dallas Observer photographer Catherine Downes was kind enough to take shots of some of Oak Cliff’s remarkable taqueria art, including of El Si Hay. A collection of those wonderful photos, and the next installment in our Tacos Illustrated series is below.
Category Archives: Dallas
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. Continue reading
This is an update of sorts. The first time I visited Chichen Itza, I found the lowest Greenville taqueria/panaderia to be an awful place serving terrible tacos. That was 2011, and Greenville Avenue was just beginning its slow creep to revitalization. Now the neighborhood is on the upswing: Coffee shops, beer bars, restaurants, a bike shop, heck, even a trendy grocery store and food truck park. It was the latter, the Truck Yard, that drew me one weekday afternoon. Unfortunately, the taco truck I had traveled to see was a no-show. Chichen Itza was the only other taco option nearby. So Chichen Itza, it was. Continue reading
It’s not difficult to find handmade or housemade tortillas in Dallas-Fort Worth. Tortillerias are plentiful, and any business offering them will make sure you know it. Taqueria Laredo along U.S. Highway 67 in south Oak Cliff is one such establishment. The words are painted large across a retaining wall on one side of a parking lot usually full of cars, pickup trucks mostly. The same wall bears a menu in the form of painted signposts. It’s a fanciful touch that has Taco Trail written all over it.
As its name suggests Laredo Restaurant serves Rio Grande Valley-style eats, namely barbacoa and flour tortillas with the radius of the wheel from a child’s bike. Those items, and by the looks of the food on tables, pozole,are the hits of the house, available only on specific days at a taqueria whose days of operations are Friday, Saturdays and Sundays. Laredo is a special place. Continue reading
I got the call a couple hours before opening time. Luis Villalva, who had previously worked at Revolver Taco Lounge in Fort Worth and most recently worked with Taco Party (he was the guy in the soccer jersey manning the trompo at TacoCon), was finally ready to serve tacos at his own place, El Come [Koh-meh] Taco on Fitzhugh Avenue. “José, it’s Luis. We open El Come Taco at 5 p.m. Come eat some tacos,” was the voicemail message. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it for first service. But I made it for lunch the next day—the day I had waited for since Villalva clued me into his plan at TacoCon. And it was worth it.
El Come Taco translates to He Eats Taco, and, for the time being, tacos are all you can eat when you visit the taqueria. Villalva did tell me huaraches, quesadillas and other antojitos would join the slate eventually. Nevertheless, the tacos are enough. They’re also surprising. Not just because there are off-menu options but because Villalva and staff have brought a little of their former Mexico City operation, Transito, to East Dallas. Continue reading
In honor of tomorrow’s big announcement, we give a recipe originally published by our friends at Entree Dallas. It’s a winner of a taco, being the creation that earned Driftwood executive chef Omar Flores first place in the inaugural North Texas Taco Festival Taco Throwdown.
Speaking of which who thinks they can beat Omar in 2014? Continue reading
Myriad restaurants and bars have hosted highfalutin beer dinners with sticker shock price tags, but rarely have they offered affordable dining events, especially locally. (The Common Table’s Pour Man Dinner series is one exception.) Lobster and Dogfish Head Noble Rot are a fine and dandy coupling, but who eats like that everyday? Beer, like the taco, is for everyone. The two belong together. That’s why I hosted taco truck and beer extravaganza TacoCon (Cerveza) at Four Corners Brewing Co. And I’m not done yet. Now I’m partnering with Urban Taco and Deep Ellum Brewing Co. to present a proper tacos and beer dinner.
The five-course “Tacos + Beer” dinner at the Uptown Urban Taco is a one-night-only event showcasing beer-inspired dishes, among them Urban Taco classics and new items created specially for the event, alongside DEBC’s local craft beers. The latter includes Holy Mole Brew, an exclusive release that pays tribute to Urban Taco owner Markus Pineyro’s mother’s mole poblano recipe. That delightful concoction will be served with the Churrnut, a churro-doughnut filled with housemade cajeta and topped with chocolate Abuelita. Also on the menu—and this one I’m really jazzed about—it is the Double Brown Stout six-hour braised barbacoa matched with Dallas Blonde ale. The contrast works beautifully. A salsa and beer trio kicks off the meal.
Seating and the commemorative custom pilsner glasses are limited. So make your reservation for the $45 dinner by calling 214-922-7080 or visiting the Eventbrite page.WHEN: Wednesday, October 2, 6:30—9:30 p.m. WHERE: Urban Taco Uptown, 3411 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX 75204 COST: $45 per person. Reservations required
“Yeow! That’s hot,” screamed the young man working the fryer at Taco Wagon, which opened in June after a more than a year of renovation and taunting fans of the original Taco Wagon with its coming soon sign, the $5 pony rides in the old drive-in’s parking lot adding a new twist to the anticipation. His pain was a good sign. It meant the crispy taco I ordered would come with a freshly fried shell.
That taco dorado is the anchor of the Tex-Mex menu that includes breakfast tacos and guisos to be eaten under the corrugated metal roof patio with wrought-iron outdoor furniture adjacent to the 1950s building in a shape reminiscent of an old covered wagon, a reminder of the original occupant, the Chuck Wagon. A car under the drive-in shelter in the gravel parking and to-go are the other dining options. Continue reading
With locations at La Gran Plaza mall and on Berry Street (across from the original Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, for which they get major props), a roving truck and a new restaurant (AKA Salsa Limón Museo), across from the Modern Art Museum, Salsa Limón has built itself a mini empire in Fort Worth. Dallas is next.
During a Salsa Limón stop in the Harwood District for last Saturday, Ramiro Ramirez, co-owner along with sister, Rosalia, confirmed to Taco Trail that Salsa Limón will have a presence at Jason Boso’s Truck Yard on Lower Greenville, a something Teresa Gubbins vaguely mentioned in a Culture Map story. “We’ll be there as often as possible,” he said of the food truck park whose concept includes rotating vendors. Ramirez also mentioned a desire to have a rig station at Southern Methodist University, his alma mater.
How would Salsa Limón’s offerings—tacos, tortas, quesadillas—especially the signature El Capitan, hold up against Torchy’s Tacos’ edible melees and Rusty Taco’s reliable fare? Continue reading