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
Add a swinging Saturday to Margarita Monday, Taco Tuesday, Humpday Happy Hour—not to mention the monthly first Tuesday $1 margarita night—at Café Maya Mexican Kitchen and Cantina. Tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 25, owner Sergio Pinto will welcome the Magia Negra Latin Jazz Trio.
The first ivories will be tickled by Magia Negra’s pianist/vocalist Miriam Hernandez at 9 p.m. The last chord will be played at 1 a.m., with bandmates Young Heo on bass and Lamont Taylor on drums.
While you’re in the house, fire it up with a cochnita pibil doused with the off-menu habanero salsa, then cool down with a mango mojito.
Café Maya Mexican Kitchen & Cantina
1001 W. Jefferson Blvd.
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.
Just off the Jefferson Boulevard taco corridor on Madison Avenue is Taquería La Providencia, a restaurant decorated with baubles, athletic trophies and Mexican folk art. It’s easily missed, but once inside customers find a mixed bag of tacos seasoned with sonorous telenovelas.
Unlike Mexican soap operas, La Providencia offers a surprising twist. Continue reading
There are some taquerías I decide to leave unreviewed, even if I frequent them. It’s not because I’d prefer to keep them a secret. Rather, it’s because I frequent them out of convenience, I don’t think I have much to add to the discussion, I’m saving them for a list/some other project or they’re so terrible I can’t stomach typing such vitriol.
Case in point: Cesar’s Tacos. It’s not that the Davis Street restaurant is bad. I patronize the joint regularly, especially when my in-laws visit. As a local chain, Cesar’s Tacos would be an ideal subject of a larger story. There comes a moment, though, when your original plan is scuttled and things head south. Continue reading
La Gaviota Taquería, a tiny restaurant—really, just a covered, unfinished patio with an attached kitchen—abuts an auto mechanic’s repair shop. More spacious is the outdoor covered seating area adjacent to the taquería. To the south is Interstate 30. Across the street in this industrial section of Oak Cliff is the city’s main post office. Only the delivery and dump trucks roaring past and area workers—letter carriers and grease monkeys—notice La Gaviota. It’s almost impossible to see from Beckley Avenue.
Yet, it was from Beckley that La Gaviota (Spanish for seagull) was spotted as my family approached the Commerce Street Bridge. I returned alone ready for garage tacos. Continue reading
Like the tremulous enthusiasm running up to the premiere of Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and the disappointment that, after credits rolled, threatened to crush the theater filled aghast fans, Taquería Ocampo Restaurant was a minor lift and a major fall.
The fanfare was perhaps a year in length. Each time the missus and I would drive south on Interstate 35E, Taquería Ocampo teased me from the access road beyond the 12th Street exit. Its covered front patio was perpetually empty. A pickup truck or two occasionally were stationed in the parking lot. It teased me. It teased me with a humble façade, neglected picnic tables and corny icicle lights. Continue reading