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: North Texas
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
A blanket of warm air wafted over me the moment I stepped into Denton’s Taqueria Guanajuato. The heavenly aroma of 10 warm cuts of meat sitting on a skillet quickly enveloped me as the door closed behind me.
This small taqueria offers the basics: carne asada, lengua, barbacoa, chicken, campechanos, chicharron, al pastor and beef fajita. It also has a few choices that I’m not used to seeing as the main course on tacos: chorizo and nopales.
One of Taqueria Guanajuato’s big advantages is that it offers tacos in both small and large tortillas. Obviously the larger tortillas cost a few cents more, but you get a more filling meal. The small tortilla option allows for variety in taste.
I admit I was eating on a bit of a tight budget, but I think I made the right call with the tacos I ordered. Continue reading
The whistle of the A-Train blew seconds before the lady behind the counter called to us: “Quieren cebolla y cilantro?” Do you want onion and cilantro? My brother and I both responded with a childish “Si” and returned to our table, each with a plate of three corn tortilla tacos.
La Estrella Mini-Mart serves up the taco basics: barbacoa, chicken, carne asada, lengua and al pastor.
At $1.25 for a single two-bite taco, La Estrella’s tacos may seem pricey. But what the tacos lack in size, they more than make up for in quality.
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
Because one taco festival a year isn’t enough, the North Texas Taco Festival and Four Corners Brewing Company are hosting Dallas-Fort Worth TacoCon (Cerveza), the area’s first celebration of the lonchera, or taco truck. The Friday, September 6, event will be held on the grounds of Four Corners Brewing Company at the foot of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, from 6 p.m.–10 p.m.
And it will truly be regional, with five trucks and trailers from Dallas and Fort Worth. They are: Chile Pepper Grill, Holy Frijole, Ssahm BBQ, Taco Heads, and Taco Party. Each lonchera will be selling their unique take on your favorite food. Four Corners will have its bar space open for beer by the pint, including a one-off special brewed for TacoCon (Cerveza). Of course, there will be live musical entertainment.
There will be plenty of free parking and no admission charge. All you have to do is show up hungry for tacos with beer.
As important as follow-up visits are, I can’t make return trips to every review subject. Those I do eat at more than once are usually my favorite and the worst spots, including Los Torres, La Nueva Fresh & Hot, Mi Tierrita, La Banqueta, El Si Hay and Fuel City. My opinions of which remain unchanged.
Over the course of several visits during a three-year period—and six in the last month—my impression of El Taco del Rincon de Villa (formerly just dear old El Rincon de Villa), on the other hand, couldn’t have shifted by a greater margin: From mixed after my original visit to its current ranking in my top 10 (or as I thought to myself, Holy crap! When did this happen?). Continue reading
I don’t recall how I came across St. Tacos. I do know that from the McKinney taqueria’s Facebook photos, I needed to hightail it north on U.S. 75 at my first opportunity. The pictures showed a trompo, a spread of tacos and salsas so delightfully colorful you could read by them, not to mention the painted roads on St. Tacos’ floor.
Would the journey to St. Tacos end in a reward of cochinita so spot-on the achiote and sour oranges mistook the sides of my mouth for boxing gym punching bags? If I made my way to St. Tacos, would I be welcomed with pork sliced off a trompo like a casino card dealer’s flicks cards to the poor suckers with high expectations? Would the pork bear a protective, happy crust from its slow dance on the trompo and bear evidence of chile and citrus wrap? What of the barbacoa? Would it coat my stomach with stale canola oil?
The answer to the latter questions is a resounding “No!” The rest needs some explaining. St. Tacos’ barbacoa is a solid take on the classic preparation. It’s lean without losing body. There is no excess grease. It’s tried-and-true barbacoa through and through. The cochinita gets high marks for being the pugilist I hoped it would be. During my conversation with Eduardo Muensch, St. Tacos’ owner, the Mexico City native revealed how he prepared his cochinita (extended marinating isn’t involved) and where he learned the recipe (Merida, Yucatan). The bistec wasn’t pulverized, a travesty all too common in many area taquerias. Continue reading
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. Continue reading