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.
Tag Archives: Fito’s #2
Slices of reflective, maroon-colored pork resting in greasy tortillas are a beautiful sight streaked. Even if I could do without the greasy tortillas underneath the meat. But that’s what you get at a Fito’s Tacos de Trompo, including #3, a walk-up taqueria next to a gas station on Northwest Highway, up the road from La Nueva Fresh & Hot Tortilleria.
While Fito’s #3 can’t compete with La Nueva—and its tortillas can be wrung out to fill a deep fryer—the trompo is stellar. The achiote bit back with mild chile. I had only one other type of taco available to me, bistec. The taquero behind the window counter said they were out of barbacoa, lengua campechanas, piratas, an array of potentially exquisite styles. As for the bistec… Continue reading
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