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
Amid construction, industrial workshops and medical office buildings sits the Taco Pronto Café, a greasy spoon with house-made flour tortillas and specialties like spam and beans. A wood-carved portly, bearded man, tattooed with the years of greetings and messages from customers and adorned with religious paraphernalia stands just inside the entrance. It’s the kind of eating establishment that even when frantically busy is a place where one can take a load off, sip coffee and decompress with comforting tacos, maybe menudo.
Although we didn’t request the stomach soup, my family did order the fresh flour tortillas the waitress recommended. “The corn tortillas are store-bought. Go with the flour.” They transformed what could have been mediocre tacos into meritorious ones packed with stick-to-your-ribs goods, particularly the long list of breakfast tacos served all day.
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.
“Meet and Eat” is an occasional—rare, really—series about adventures and discussions with food writers, chefs, restaurateurs and others orbiting the food world.
The Park Cities/Upper Greenville area has a new breakfast tacos destination: Digg’s Taco Shop. The Hillcrest Avenue restaurant opened across from Southern Methodist University in February 2011. But only recently did the good, comfortable joint that bills itself as influenced by the Austin music and taco scenes begin serving breakfast tacos.
So, why did Digg’s chef Richard Rivera and business partners wait until Sept. 24 to offer breakfast tacos?
The regular tacos at Tepa are terrible. The breakfast tacos, on the other hand, are a fine haul. That’s not to say they’re perfect. The flour tortillas aren’t as spongy as I’d like them to be. However, they are cooked to order. I watched as the taquera placed the dough on to the griddle and flipped the flatbread discs when each began to puff. Shortly thereafter, I was handed a trio that cool at an unusually fast rate, which shouldn’t be a problem. You’re not going to chatter on about the day’s headlines with these babies nearby.
When I’ve eaten at Ojeda’s, I’ve not noticed Taquería Mezquite, a small restaurant across from the Tex-Mex citadel on Maple Avenue. When I’ve lunched at Maple & Motor or at any of the other surrounding establishments. However, I did notice the small restaurant while wasting time along Maple before an unfortunate meal at El Rey del Grill. With advertisements utilizing rough representations of a ram on the fascade and on the side of the pastel-green building housing it, the eatery should have never been missed by anyone, especially not by my lunch companions and I. We were about to rectify the oversight, ready for Taquería Mezquite’s goods.
And the one-room joint, humorously identified as a sports bar above the entrance, certainly was good.
None of the dollar tacos disappointed, not even Mezquite’s chicharrón, one of the few palatable examples of the style—fried pork skin reconstituted in safety orange-colored salsa—I’ve consumed in Dallas.