Category Archives: Richardson

Taqueria La Candelaria

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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

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Filed under DFW, North Texas, Reviews, Richardson, Texas

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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Taco Republic to Hit the Road

During a family lunch at Richardson’s newest specialty taquería, Taco Republic (full disclosure: I did not receive any food gratis), I had the opportunity to speak with owner Ron Guest. While we chatted about the business and the grub, Guest announced that he and his partners are planning a food truck. Specifically, the Taco Republic mobile operation will hit the road after the bricks-and-mortar concern breaks even but well before the restaurant’s first anniversary.

As for the meal, I fulfilled the promise I made in my initial review, and enjoyed it. The Game Day buffalo chicken taco (not pictured) wasn’t buried under a briar patch of mediocre ingredients. Instead, chunks of chicken tossed in a tangy sauce peeked from beneath shaved celery and carrots. Mixed with the chicken was a sensible amount of blue cheese crema that wasn’t a runny cascade of putridity.  Continue reading

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Taco Republic

Not another one, I thought when I learned of Taco Republic, the Richardson specialty taqueria from Ron Guest, co-founder of San Miguel Café. Velvet Taco is such a miscarriage. Torchy’s Tacos is hit or miss. Taco Ocho is appealing. However, none comes close to the excellence of Good 2 Go Taco or Austin’s Tacodeli? Could another fancy taco venture change anything? Early estimates indicate yes.

Opened for a week when a friend and I scurried north on Interstate 75, Taco Republic occupies a former La Paloma Taquería, not far the other fancy taco joint, Taco Ocho. But where the latter has a pan-Latino sensibility regarding tacos, Taco Republic brings it back to North of the Border favorites, with breakfast options forthcoming. Continue reading

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Taco Ocho Goes Puerto Rican

A new torta has been added to Taco Ocho’s menu. And it’s inspired by the tripleta, a sandwich from the land of my birth, Puerto Rico!

Opened since May, the Richardson specialty taquería and tortería has brought Mexican and Latin American-inspired cuisine to a part of DFW noted more for its Asian nibbles than much else. However, it hasn’t been easy. “People are reluctant to try new things,” said Taco Ocho owner Mani Bhushan. The Miramar torta, for example, wasn’t selling. So, we began looking at alternatives.” Continue reading

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Taco Ocho Is an Experiment in Tradition

The irregular vibration you’re feeling is the sound of a thousand food blogs jonesing for the next fix, regardless of the comestible, drinking the salsa, before the new, bigger “it” comes along. More often than not, that “it” is enveloped in a tolerable tortilla stamped with the moniker taco.

One of the latest taco joints to open is fast-casual, specialty taquería Taco Ocho, which opened in May in Richardson. It’s a humdinger of a restaurant, beginning with a reading of Taco Ocho’s menu.
The options illustrate how owner Mani Bhushan and executive chef Rodolfo Cardoso have chosen to straddle tradition and modernity to a hunger-inducing end. Tortas like the Cusco (Peruvian stir-fried steak, potatoes, sautéed red onion and cilantro) and tostadas like the Puebla (hummus, shredded cabbage, corn pico, queso fresco and chipotle ranch) line the pages, but the marquee names here are the tacos.
 The Latin Love’s threads of salt-tinged beef led into the sweetness provided by slice of fried ripe plantain, heightened by smear of refried black beans drizzle of salsa verde and a sprinkle of cotija. The peeling corn tortilla withstood the heft of the fine contents.
The Smoked Chicken Elote takes the oft-uneven chicken taco and sends it plowing through a wall of elote, the street corner snack of corn generally seasoned with mayo and chili powder. The effect is a pleasant one. The smoked chipotle poultry filling dotted with grilled corn lightly that snaps under the pressure of teeth. Its simple garnishes nothing more than cotija and cilantro, turn this taco into a smashing success along with its sister in protein, the Latin Love.
Unfortunately, the Cabo Fish fell short of the imagined greatness. The beer-battered cod (also available grilled) was a sticky mess. The chipotle crema, thick as toothpaste squeezed from a tube (though it was not!), was an unfortunate adhesive that imparted what little flavor was expressed accompanied by the garnishes. The cod, which should have burst with salinity, was crushed under the batter. Better to go with the grilled application upon ordering, something I will certainly do during my next visit to Taco Ocho.
Yes, I will return. I will return to gobble up the Beef Colorado braised with ancho and beer. I will return to nosh on the grilled shrimp with shredded spinach and a pico de gallo with a plantain base. I will return to tussle with a torta Cubana with pork three ways, jalapeños, spicy mustard and queso Oaxaca. 
And it will be done in a clean dining space of white tables and a popping orange and yellow color scheme. An image of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City stands as a welcoming signpost, again expressing the restaurant team’s playful dedication to history. Perhaps I’ll sit at the 20-foot communal table gazing upon the mural while the tacos hopefully dance a cumbia on my taste buds, for that is what any food, whether “authentic” or novel, should do.
930 E. Campbell Rd., Ste. 109
Richardson
972-238-8080 

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