Many taquerías looked closed from the street, but I had never seen Rosita’s open, even though my friends at TacOCliff had reviewed it and another friend recommended it. “Trompo tacos done right,” he said of the “Monterrey style spot.” Over a weekend, I drove by to find its neon open sign aglow. In I went.
While I did find excellent trompo, I also found three large paintings of biblical scenes on the north wall: one of the Last Supper depicting Judas contemplating his exit; one of Moses, the 10 commandments in one hand, a staff in the other framed by lightning; and one of the Nativity. Photos of Pancho Villa hung one the opposite wall. As you see above, the signs of such religiosity began on the exterior of the strip-mall taquería.
The menu over the cake display advertised barbacoa, and it turned out to be a mix of cachete and lengua de res (beef cheek and tongue). I didn’t give it a second thought, and added it to my order, along with carne deshebrada.
Between the railroad underpass and Singleton Avenue on Sylvan Avenue and among the seemingly abandoned, dilapidated warehouses in an industrial section of Oak Cliff sits Reveles Panaderia, whose parking lot is packed with pickup trucks each morning.
One rainy afternoon, hoping Reveles also sold tacos, a couple of friends and I walked into the little Mexican bakery and gazed at dessicated taco fillings next to pristine pastries under banners for C.D. Guadalajara (aka Chivas), the soccer team for Jalisco state’s capital city. Aside from the potato and chiles, the only decent-looking options were the puerco en chiles colorado (pork in red chiles) with potatoes as well as fajitas, shimmering green peppers and translucent onions included.
As part of my tireless quest to get some of my favorite restaurants to offer tacos, I offer you the special holiday three-course dinner from one of the best joints in town, Mesa Veracruz Coastal Cuisine. The Oak Cliff eatery, owned by chefs Raul and Olga Reyes, is a pioneer of regional Mexican food in Dallas—and it’s going to be open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
See the full menu below. Continue reading
I’m beginning to re-think my list of Dallas’ top taco joints, thanks to Los Torres Taquería , a family-owned spot that opened in June. The restaurant specializes in the cuisine of Sinaloa state in northwest Mexico, serving barbacoa roja de chivo (goat barbacoa seasoned with chiles), birria de chivo (a cauldron of chest-warming goat meat in an orangy-red broth) and chivo tatemado (the roasted equivalent of birria cooked in a large clay pot). They’re available as platters, by the pound as well as in tacos in handmade tortillas, if requested. Request them. Continue reading
Nearly two years ago, the corner unit at 525 E. Jefferson Boulevard, formerly a furniture store, had windows blocked by craft paper and a sign promising El Pueblo was coming soon. I watched for months as construction progressed until the restaurant was ready to serve customers and—for some unknown reason—waited a few more months to visit the restaurant. I shouldn’t have done that. I had deprived myself of a worthy addition to the east end of Jefferson, one offering marvelous carnitas tacos. Why I waited until now to write a review is anyone’s guess. El Pueblo is one of the few Mexican restaurants I patronize often and have made it a stop on a taco tour of East Jefferson joints, just for its carnitas.
Every bite of the pork fried in lard was crunchy, salty and silken, a sight to behold in soft, bumpy yellow corn tortillas fresh enough to make a destructive oil bath unnecessary. Staring down at the strips of mahogany, sienna and black coursing through the filling it was obvious, here was taco beauty. If only the tortillas were fluffy and irregularly shaped handmade rounds. Continue reading
“One Shot” is an occasional series reviewing non-taquerías’ tacos.
Did you hear the one about the sports bar that opened without a liquor license? If you’re into the Dallas bar and restaurant scene, you probably have. When PhD — Pour House Dallas, the local outpost of 17-year-old Pour House in Fort Worth, welcomed its first customers, the watering hole had a BYOB policy, although it did serve food.
I visited PhD last week on the day it was finally permitted to serve booze for a pint of Peticolas and a plate of fish tacos, the establishment’s best-selling menu item.
The beer was amazing. The tacos were messy. Continue reading
The yellow, peach and blue restaurant at Jefferson Boulevard and Tyler Street isn’t shy about advertising its daily specials, whether on the windows or a sidewalk board on which the deals are scrawled in permanent marker. Prominent among the announcements is that the flour and corn tortillas are made by hand—not in a press. By hand.
“Platters only,” the woman explained as she patted her hands back and forth demonstrating the method used to shape the tortillas. Unfortunately, I hadn’t ordered any entrées and she told me this nugget of critical information as I was paying my bill.
I knew I should’ve ordered the rajas con queso, I thought to myself. Better yet, another of the house specialties, like quail, grilled or fried with optional salsa roja. The pozole, a hominy stew believed to have originated in Michoacán state, the homeland of Mi Fondita’s owners, was also tempting.
Street tacos come in a plethora of forms: pastor/trompo, guisados, chapulines, etc. While I’ve enjoyed those, I have been unable to sample until National Taco Day a hard-to-find variety in Dallas: tacos al vapor. These tacos are steamed treats sometimes listed as tacos de canasta (basket, referring to the vessel in which they are kept warm and steamed) and tacos sudado (sweated). But at the two taquerías I visited last Thursday, they were labeled as al vapor. Along for the ride was Alex Flores, the graphic whiz who gives this blog its visual appeal.
The tacos al vapor at Taco Rico on Clarendon are priced at a dollar a piece and available by cash only. We didn’t know what to expect. For that price, we could easily be presented with cold, gummy envelopes hiding sad fillings. What we received was a plate of iridescent pockets containing deshebrada de pollo, potato and frijol, each of which could be piled with cabbage and chopped tomatoes. Continue reading
It only takes one layer—gazing at the Davis Plaza storefront—to realize that El Cebolla Taquería doesn’t exist, contrary to what the red and green letters above the door indicate. And don’t bother asking the pregnant woman who stops peeling tomatillos to take your order what El Cebolla refers to. (My research indicates a soccer player.) She only knows that it should get the feminine article. The restaurant is under new management, she’ll say, after explaining you can sit wherever you’d like.
“We’re really Mi Tierrita, now. Who knows what the old name meant?” Continue reading
Image: Ben E./Yelp
The writing is on the wall at Fito’s #2, a West Davis Street taquería with walls bearing Spanish aphorisms. My favorite translates to “Look at your mother-in-law with the same wonder you look at the far-away stars.” Above the kitchen door: “Love enters through the kitchen.” A mural of lotería cards (resembling a Tarot set but used to play a Bingo-like game) conceals the bathrooms.
It’s all very sweet. It also shouldn’t have been a surprise. The building’s colorful façade was a dead giveaway I ignored. What I couldn’t ignore and what led me to Fito’s #2 was the promise of trompo, pork that takes its name from its shape (a spinning top) and the vertical spit on which it is prepared. Essentially, trompo is traditional pastor, a local rarity. Not many Dallas-Fort Worth restaurants have the space and patience to allow heat to work its quiet art on a large hunk of pork. Continue reading