As far as taco capitals north of the border, it’s hard to beat Los Angeles. Often called the largest Mexican city outside of Mexico, the city is home to an intimidating array of tacos styles served in fast-casual spots, full-service restaurants, makeshift corner setups and food trucks.
Faced with compiling a survey of those options for a two-and-a-half day LA taco trip the first week of February proved difficult but fun. The list was revised from 25 stops to 40 and then down to approximately 20. It could have been 70! Four businesses that were on the itinerary from the start were Leo’s Taco Truck, Tacos La Guera, Los Originales Tacos Arabes de Puebla and Mariscos Jalisco. Continue reading
Get me talking about tacos and see me light up like a child who receives the exact gift he wished for Christmas morning. From their history and folklore to their variability, there is much joy in tacos. In no particular order, these are the tacos that brought me that joy in 2014.
A plate of tacos at Los Torres.
Taco de Barbacoa Roja Estilo Sinaloa at Los Torres Taqueria
Unlike the barbacoa commonly available in Texas, this specialty of Sinaloa (where the Torres family has roots) is a mix of beef and pork, dark red from chiles colorados and fragrant spices. It’s always included in my order at Los Torres, where homey braises and handmade tortillas band together to give Dallas it’s best taqueria. When you visit the little spot in Oak Cliff—and you will—resist the urge to order tortillas de maiz hechas a mano. Go for the thin, nearly translucent handmade flour tortillas characteristic of Sinaloa.
Taco de Barbacoa de Cabeza at Gerardo’s Drive-In
The table-hushing barbacoa at Gerardo’s on Houston’s east side is among the best I’ve had in Texas yet. It’s silky and full, though delicate, and pulled directly from the cows’ head. My visit to Gerardo’s included a kitchen tour from Owner José Luis Lopez—Gerardo is his son—who obviously has pride in his work. He propped the cow heads for photos taken by the crew I was running around Houston with that morning, amigos in food J.C. Reid and Michael Fulmer, cofounders of the Houston Barbecue Festival, and photographer Robert Strickland.
Taco al Pastor at Taco Flats
Austin isn’t a taco al pastor town. It’s strength resides in breakfast tacos and Tex-Mex. So this killer version of the undisputed king of tacos on a housemade tortilla from Taco Flats, a new Burnet Road bar with taco-focused pub grub came as a surprise. Sit at the far end of the bar for a view of the trompo. Continue reading
Filed under Austin, Best of, Dallas, DFW, Fort Worth, Houston, one of the freaking best, Reviews, San Antonio, Tex-Mex, Uptown
Chicago: Taco capital. Home to Rick Bayless, the chef who helped changed Americans’ minds about Mexican cuisine and turned south of the border foodways into a fine-dining force, and a sizable, diverse Mexican immigrant population, offers aficionados of Mexican food, plenty of options. Chicago is also home to Titus Ruscitti, author of the Chicago Taco Tour blog, the tacologist behind the @tweetsoftacos Twitter account, and contributor to Serious Eats, LTHforum.com, Thrillist and Travel Wisconsin. We at the Taco Trail are honored that Titus, or Taco T, as he’ll be known here, is also Taco Trail’s newest contributor.
Without further ado:
Today we head to a part of Chicago rarely seen to those not from here. Actually, the same goes for many who do reside in the city. The East Side of Chicago sits in it’s own little part of the cities landscape. Most people see it driving over 106th Street while taking the Chicago skyway in or out of the city. What you also see when taking that route is the last of the industrial areas which goes by “Da Region” amongst locals. You can check out a taco report I did on the old-school Mexican-American restaurants of northwest Indiana. But today we’re going to stay on the Chicago side and check out the trail along 106th Street, which is basically the last line between the city and the state of Indiana. Continue reading
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
“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
A stop on the Fort Worth taco tour a friend and I took ahead of my trip to San Diego, Yucatan Taco Stand Tequila Bar & Grill offers an alternative to Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. However, Fuzzy’s and Yucatan share more in common than what distinguishes them.
Both were founded in Cowtown, both were created by Paul Willis and both use a dubious geographical conceit. Both hedge their bets on seafood tacos. Yet, Fuzzy’s is the one that has reeled in success, crossing beyond the Texas border. Yucatan once boasted area three outposts. The Fort Worth location, the first, is the only one remaining in North Texas. Another Yucatan can be found outside Houston, in The Woodlands.
After placing our order at the front counter (something else Yucatan shares with Fuzzy’s), my companion and I sat at a window booth, watching as employees from the nearby hospital gorged on large nacho platters, loaded, edible Popocatepetls similar to the dish at Fuzzy’s. Continue reading
Operating out of Tarrant County, Scott Wooley’s So-Cal Tacos is a red rig affixed with a surfboard. Like its Dallas counterpart, Rock and Roll Tacos, it’s hard to miss. So-Cal Tacos is also the truck that initiated my quest for primo fish tacos, leading to notable selections across Dallas-Fort Worth and San Diego (more on that in the future).
The San Diego Classic, the signature dish, resembles a Gorton’s fish fillet of childhood but offers bright, acidic licks and a pleasant crunch imparted by panko breading and zippy garnishes of slaw and aioli. The breading is a departure from the standard fish taco enclosed in beer-batter. However, it works. And in three words: I dig it. Continue reading