Category Archives: East Dallas

Taqueria Las Marias

Taqueria Las Marias' counter.

Taqueria Las Marias’ counter.

Across from Jimmy’s Food Store, Urbano Café and Spiceman’s FM 1410 in East Dallas but probably using nothing that graces the shelves of those iconic Dallas food businesses in a La Ranchera Mexican Super Market is Taqueria La Marias. The taco counter, beyond the cash register to the left of the grocery’s front door, trades in the standard filling options as well as a few guisados resting in steam trays behind a sneeze guard. Non-trompo pastor and fajita are also on offer, although those take a while longer to serve as they’re cooked to order. Skip them. Go for the guisados. They’re on the left side.

The best of which is the guisado rojo de res, pieces of tender, stratiform pieces of beef no bigger than Knorr bouillon cubes in a mellow coral red sauce. It was gone too soon. The pollo y calabaza, chicken and squash in a lacey yellow sauce, also disappeared quickly, if only to get rid of the dry poultry and mushy vegetable. A shot of salsa verde helped but there was nothing that could rehydrate that bird. Continue reading

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Filed under Dallas, East Dallas, Reviews

Chichen Itza

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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

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First Bite: El Come Taco

ElComeTacoBanner2

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

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Filed under Dallas, DFW, East Dallas, first bite, Reviews, Texas

El Ranchito #3

El Ranchio #3's exterior

From the start, things were off. The waitress mumbled to herself as she led us to our table at El Ranchito #3. She whispered answers to our questions in Spanish and neglected to mention the restaurant was out of the drinks we ordered, part of the three-taco special platter with either a coca mexicana special, a Fanta or an agua fresca de tamarindo. The waitress acknowledged the order and it arrived quickly, but our drinks didn’t. When I asked for our drinks again, I was told the restaurant didn’t have any Coke or agua fresca. Only Fanta was available in the beverage case. She pointed to it. It was 11 a.m. The chance that there was a rush on the specials that had depleted the stock was, by then, zero.
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Filed under Dallas, DFW, East Dallas, Reviews, Texas

Trompo Loco Highland Mart

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It all started with a photo message from Brandon Castillo. My friend, the executive director of the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market and co-producer of the North Texas Taco Festival, had sent me an image of a flyer with a trompo, the logo of the Saltillo, Mexico, soccer club, a map and words: Trompo Loco Highland Mart.

Our first attempt at eating at Trompo Loco was for naught. I arrived ahead of Brandon and found the blue corner building, a former bodega, closed with no sign of a lunch opening. We defaulted to Tacos La Banqueta, a short walk away. It wasn’t a bad move.

On recent weekend morning, I get another photo from Brandon, this one of a lone taco de trompo on blue-and-white checker paper. It was followed by a picture of a trompo, carmine-colored spinning top-shape hunk pork capped with the top half of a pineapple at the corner of Worth Street & North Carroll Avenue.

It wasn’t until yesterday that I finally had the opportunity to try the tacos at Trompo Loco Highland Mart. They incredible. Continue reading

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Filed under Dallas, DFW, East Dallas, North Texas, Reviews

Ten Joints With Great Breakfast Tacos

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Breakfast in Texas means tacos, and breakfast has been on my mind a lot lately. So, I’d thought I’d offer my current top 10 places for the proper way to begin a day—anywhere, not just in the Lone Star State.

Taqueria La Salsa Verde
Although its appearance shows otherwise, the taquera working this Richardson gas-station counter claims the taco de cabeza (above) is prepared al vapor. Whatever its preparation, the taco is still excellent. Which is really all that matters to me first thing in the morning. The choriqueso is the cabeza’s equal. 14225 Coit Road, 972-330-0403

San Juanita
The chorizo and cheese at this South Congress shack offers buckshot heat in a large tortilla, giving any road trip a fiery start. 4406 S. Congress Ave., Austin, 512-443-9308 Continue reading

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Filed under Austin, Best of, breakfast tacos, DFW, East Dallas, North Texas, Oak Cliff, Plano, Richardson, San Antonio, Tex-Mex, Texas

Chupacabra’s Restaurant & Buy Low Food

You’ve driven past it. Everyone has. And that was what everyone on the Saturday, March 10, taco walking toursaid as we turned the corner onto Ross Avenue. One of the three taco joints the tourists and I hit up that rainy day, Chupacabra’s, is part gas station, bodega, ice cream parlor and restaurant named after the mythical beast reportedly preying on cattle and goats (chupacabra is Spanish for goatsucker) in Texas and parts of Latin America.

There is nothing cryptic about Chupacabra’s, though. Patrons select grub from the menu above the shop’s counter. The cashier relays the order via computer to a kitchen obscured by barren display cases. Then, the plate is brought to your table. Continue reading

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Tacos El Guero Is Now Tacos La Banqueta; Quality Unaltered

It’s true. The original Dallas Tacos El Guero has been rechristened Tacos La Banqueta, as first reported by fellow taco lover Elizabeth Bair on Facebook this morning. I trekked to the East Dallas stalwart for confirmation and got it when I reached the corner of the property at Bryan Street and Carroll Avenue. To be sure nothing other than the name and the paint job had been altered, I ventured in for a nosh at my favorite taqueria in Big D.

The painted menu on the back wall now sports the designation La Banqueta, a moniker better suited to the interior—scant more than a kitchen and a 12”-wide counter slowly leaning away from a plastered with international currency—and the ability diners have to eat at counter in front of the shop. Continue reading

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Good 2 Go Taco Getting Fitted for Wheels

Good 2 Go Taco, yarn bombed. Via Facebook

Good 2 Go Taco was planning a taco truck, I wrote for City of Ate in 2010. Shortly thereafter, owners Jeana Johnson and Colleen O’Hare shuttered the specialty taqueria counter inside the Green Spot market and gas station. Plans for the mobile venture were put on hold.

 

Months went by before the taqueras’ fare, like the popular Hotlanta and the joyful heart attack from Dixie, the SoCo, would be served commercially, but when they were—Ave, Maria!—Johnson and O’Hare gave us, their dedicated fans, reason to celebrate. We came in droves to the Peavy Road storefront furbished with reclaimed elements and throwback cafeteria tile.

It was good. It was glorious. Continue reading

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Filed under East Dallas, food truck, Lake Highlands