Tuesday, June 30

The Dallas Taco Scene is Muy Rico! #TacoLibreDallas

Monterrey has landed! And it comes with lots of real deal tacos! From trompo to carnitas and patitas (piggy feet) and to Birria de Chivo and the oh so good Tacos Dorados de Papa (molida). Last weekend, I ventured north to TacoTrail's territory - Dallas, Texas and got the hook up at Taco Libre Dallas, part music, part lucha libre and all folded (not rolled) into corn and flour, but mostly corn tortillas. Jose Ralat aka Taco Trail curated the tacos and knows that taco scene like nobody's business. While I did miss out on the Lucha Libre, I did not miss out on the tacos (just check out the plethora of tacos below). Mil gracias to Taco Libre Dallas and TacoTrail for a tacotote good time! 

Carnitas, Cuero y Patitas from Urban Taco

That's me, waiting on the trompo!

Birria de Chivo and Taco Dorado en salsa roja
from Revolver Taco Lounge

Al Pastor y mas from Chile Pepper Grill

Matt and Mando showcasing taco eating:
Americans tilt the head, Mexicans tilt the taco. 

OakCliff Trompo taqueros working it on a hot summer day!

One of my faves: Tacos al Trompo from OakCliff Trompo

Wednesday, June 24

Calling Texas Taco Fans! Do you have what it takes to be on the Texas Taco Council?

Ripped From The Headlines! "Do you have what it takes to be on the Texas Taco Council?" Thanks @Statesman. So do ya, do ya??? If you got the huevos, nominate yo'self, yo abuelita, yo mariachis, yo neighbors or yo cousins!



Calling all Taco Aficionados! 
Nominations Open for newly formed Texas Taco Council
Click here to nominate a taco ambassador today!

Selected members to represent 10 cities across in Texas for the new book The Tacos of Texas by Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece, to be published by University of Texas Press.

AUSTIN – June 23, 2015 – Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece, authors of Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day, today announced an open nomination for local taco lovers and aficionados to be selected for the newly established Texas Taco Council. Taco Ambassadors will be selected from 10 cities in Texas and provide insider input that will be included in the new book The Tacos of Texas, to be published by University of Texas Press in the Fall of 2016.

The Texas Taco Council will help in identifying the best taco dishes and restaurants from around the state of Texas, and will be featured in the book, sharing their top 10 taco list and insights on the taco culture in their respective cities.

“When we decided to start The Tacos of Texas, we knew it would not only be a huge undertaking but it was incredibly important to accurately reflect the rich histories and cultures each of the 10 cities on our list,” said Mando Rayo, Author of The Tacos of Texas. “By establishing the Texas Taco Council, we hope to gather together those influential and knowledgeable individuals who are passionate about their communities and share our deep love of tacos.”

“A great book, like a great taco, demands collaboration among its makers to reach its full potential,” said Casey Kittrell, the book’s editor at UT Press. “We can’t wait to see what the TTC brings to light.”

You can nominate your cousin, your abuelita, your co-worker, your favorite taquero or chef, your local mariachi, cultural icon or historian, or even yourself. Local taco ambassadors should have a good knowledge of their town's taco scene, from the well-known favorites to the secret destinations that only locals know about. Nominations are open to anyone living in the participating cities:

Abilene
Austin
Brownsville/McAllen
Corpus Christi
Dallas/Fort-Worth
El Paso
Houston
Laredo
Midland/Odessa
San Antonio

To nominate a taco ambassador or learn more about the upcoming book, please visit www.TacosofTexas.com.

About THE TACOS OF TEXAS
The Tacos of Texas is a new book by Taco Journalism’s Mando Rayo & Jarod Neece, authors of the popular book and Austin Bestseller, Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day. We will explore 10 cities, all with their own brand of taco charm. We’ll learn about them from the restaurateurs, Taqueros, Abuelitas, Chefs and Texas legends that make each city’s tacos the best. There will be over 50 recipes from around the state. We’ll hit local favorites, flea markets, hole in the wall discoveries and go into peoples’ homes and kitchens.To Mando Rayo & Jarod Neece, The Tacos of Texas is a subject that is near and dear to their hearts. Both lifelong Texans and taco eaters they are setting off to explore this great state and all the tacos it has to offer. We’ll be visiting 10 Texas cities on our journey this summer. We’ll be stopping in big cities, small towns and everywhere else along the way.
Stay tuned to www.TacosofTexas.com and our Facebook and Twitter pages for taco updates galore.

Are we missing anything? Someplace amazing you think we need to add? Leave a comment below or email us at: tacojournalism@gmail.com




Friday, June 19

TacoLibre: Roadtrip to Dallas!

Roadtrip!!! Who's down? Meet me in Dallas as we explore the tastiest tacos Dallas has to offer. We'll be meeting up with Jose Ralat from TacoTrail and well, indulging the tacos. #QueRico!


For Immediate Release: First ever ¡TACO LIBRE! Dallas
Takes Place June 27 in Downtown Dallas, Full Schedule of Music and Taquerias Announced

Dallas, TX -  From Sonar Management, the producers of Dia de los Toadies and Smoked Dallas BBQ Fest, comes a new one-of-a-kind festival in the heart of downtown Dallas.  Debuting June 27, at Main Street Garden Park, ¡Taco Libre! Combines some of Texans favorite things: tacos, tunes, tequila.

¡COMíDA!
The Taco Trail’s José Ralat, a passionate taco writer, has curated a line up of the finest taquerias in DFW.  Ralat says “"I'm thrilled to be a part of Taco Libre, and to have the opportunity to curate such a stellar lineup. The taquerias serving at Taco Libre are among the best around, representing the diversity of Mexican food on both sides of the border. It's going to be a festival like no other." From urban contemporary to authentic street-style, there’s a taco for every taste – including several $2 options! The taqueria line up includes: Revolver Taco Lounge, Urban Taco, Chile Pepper Grill, Trompo, La Nueva Fresh & Hot, Taco Heads, El Tizoncito, El Come Taco, Salsa Limon, Taco Stop, El Padrino and  Good 2 Go Taco.  Festival-goers will be among the first to get a taste of Tacodeli before the Austin-based taqueria opens its first Dallas location later this year.

¡MUSíCA!
¡Taco Libre! features a diverse group of musical entertainment headlined by Los Angeles based Latin artists Ozomatli. Ozomatli has toured with Carlos Santana and won the Grammy for "Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album" in 2001 and 2004 as well as a Latin Grammy in 2005. Joining Ozomatli are Texas natives Deep Blue Something who will perform their first show in five years.  Rounding out the line up are PiñataProtest,  TEAM*, Party Static and Dustin Cavazos. Cavazos says “Being an artist from Texas there are two things I hold near and dear to my heart: a passion for music and a passion for great tacos. It's great that I actually get to play at an event right in the heart of downtown that exercises these parts of my soul.”

¡LUCHADORES!
In between bands, experience daredevil action and entertainment from some of Dallas’ own lucha libre wrestlers including Aski the Mayan Warrior , El Sicario, El Siniestro, and Rostro Infernal.

¡TACO LIBRE!
Gates open at 2 p.m. Show is over at 10pm.
$12 Buenos Dias Special, early entry until 5 p.m.
$22 General admission
TacoLibreDallas.com
@TacoLibreDallas
facebook.com/TacoLibreDallas


Monday, May 4

Video: El Rey del Al Pastor - Los Barrilitos - Chicago

The time I had a bro-mance with Jorge, El Rey del Al Pastor! Part of my "6 Essential Tacos To Try In Chicago’s Pilsen And La Villita Neighborhoods" on Remezcla. Also, one of the best tacos with extras including cinnamon and Chile de Arbol molido!




Friday, May 1

Los Tacos de Chicago - Pilsen/La Villita Edition

So y'know every time I travel I'm always on the taco hunt. A few weeks ago I was in Chi-town and of course I was drawn to the Mexican barrios to discover the taco scene in Pilsen and La Villita. With a little help from Chicago's own Titus Ruscitti of @TweetsofTacos, we hit it, the tacos, the barrios, the beers! Here's the taco piece I wrote for Remezcla...


Remezcla: 6 Essential Tacos To Try In Chicago’s Pilsen And La Villita Neighborhoods
Sepping into Chicago’s Pilsen and La Villita neighborhoods is like transporting yourself to Mexico; you can feel culture hit you through chatter of the streets, the endless tienditas and taquerias, the Mexican families going to work or taking their kids to school, and the coffee snobs enjoying their morning lattes and cafecitos.

The day’s tally was a total success:


  • 2 espressos
  • 1 visit to the National Museum of Mexican Art
  • 10 sweet mural sightings
  • 6 taquerias
  • 1 tortilleria
  • 14 tacos
  • 5 beers and 2 whiskeys (at a bar that, by day is packed with paisas, and by night, with hipsters); and
  • last but certainly not least: 1 best friend moment with Jorge, El Rey del Al Pastor!


Read the full story aquí! 

Friday, March 6

2015 SXSW Taco Map - Los Real Deal


Another year, another SXSW, another round of lots of non-Austinites hunting for the tacos.

Here's a quick listing of taco places in around a lot of the SXSW venues. Be warned: some of these taco places are aggresively mediocre, but are included because of their proximity to festival sites. Read the blurb before going and check the SXSW Taco Map!

*- Good
** - Amazing
*** - Spit Hot Fire!

Veracruz always welcomes you with a smile! Photo by Dennis Burnett
Eastside

***Veracruz All Natural
The secret is out. These taco sisters and their band of taco helpers make some of the finest tacos in Austin. Eat a Migas and Fish taco and an Al Pastor call me in the morning!

You can also find these tacos in the SOUTHBITES Food Court this year!

**Tamale House East
Great 2nd location of the Austin Original (RIP). They have extended hours during Music Fest and beer & wine, craft beer, local kegs and music. Good stuff!  We'll be serving their tacos at the SXSW Taco Meet Ups!

*Cenote 
Great tacos and coffee.  

*El Pollo Rey
Great Al Pastor & Carne Asada tacos!

**Porfirio's
"I've been eating at Porfiro's for over 15 years. Consistent, good quality food. I have friends from San Jose who still talk about."

***Rosita's Al Pastor
Best Al Pastor in town. Except when its not. Like anything amazing in life, it is a bit inconsistent.

***Joe's Bakery
Probably the best breakfast spot in Austin! On East 7th, pretty close to the action. The place is great. It's families and neighbors and newbies all mixed up.  We'll be serving their tacos at the SXSW Taco Meet Ups!

**Mi Madre's
Tamale House East: Photo by Dennis Burnett
El Mundo de Mando's favorite place. A bit far away from the main venues, but worth a breakfast trip. Get the Machacado breakfast taco.



West Sixth

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ
Try the brisket tacos! Great addition to the W. 6th taco scene.

*Whole Foods
The taco bar is in the front of the store by the deli. It'll get the job done, but the real secret are the fish tacos at the seafood bar. Happy Hour from 3p-5p is where it is at!

Zocalo
They serve decent tacos but they're a bit overpriced. Also, they seem to be confused about what carnitas are.



Downtown

La Condesa
Probably the best fancy tacos downtown. Try the huitlacoche!

***Southbites Food Court
Chilantro, East Side King, Ms P's Electric Cock & VERACRUZ!! Your best bet for eating downtown during SXSW.


South Lamar-ish

***Habaneros Mexican Cafe
Amazing grilled meats and queso! If you can stand the heat order your beef or chicken fajita ranchero style. We'll be serving their tacos at the SXSW Taco Meet Ups!

***Papalote
Amazing breakfast tacos and lunch special. Eat everything!
A Plethora of Breakfast Tacos from Habanero's Mexican Restaurant, Photo by Dennis Burnett

Maria's Taco X-Press
Overrated, but 'ok' tacos.

*TacoDeli
Tacos done right. This isn't really on South Lamar, but its close enough if you don't mind some cross country hiking. We'll be serving their tacos at the SXSW Taco Meet Up.

South Congress/South First

Guero's
If you are a fan of Grindhouse, you may enjoy this place (it featured prominently in it). The tacos are mediocre, at best. This is only included in case you are either desperate or tempted by the crowds.

Torchy's 
Everyone is going to tell you to go here. It's decent, but not worth the crowds. Walk down to El Primo or La Mexicana and get twice the food for the same price.

**El Primo

2101 South First. Great tacos, friendly service.

*Mellizoz Tacos
Great tacos on S. 1st - and if they are around try the lobster rolls at Dock & Roll next door.

La Mexicana
Open 24 hours. Great tacos. Go there anytime.

North

*Paco's Tacos
Near Austin Film Studios on 51st St. Great breakfast tacos and great half flour/half corn hybrid tortillas. If you are in the area. Do. Not. Miss!


SXSW Taco Map

SXSW Taco Dictionary
  • Al Carbon: Grilled over charcoal
  • Al Pastor: Pork with adobo seasoning. Excellent.
  • Beef Fajita: Grilled skirt steak
  • Carne Guisada: Stewed meat usually with gravy
  • Carnitas: Roasted Pork
  • Lengua: Tongue
  • Tripas: Intestines
  • Menudo: Tripe Soup
  • Chicharron: Fried (or not) Pork Skin

SXSW Taco Eating Hints
  1. Everything tastes the same after 6 beers. Feel free to skimp on the quality.
  2. If you have consumed less than 6 beers, walk the few extra blocks to eat the good stuff.
  3. Unless otherwise stated, avoid the chicken tacos.
  4. Despite what everyone will tell you, you totally do NOT have to eat at Torchy's. No, it won't blow your mind. Punch everyone that tells you otherwise.
  5. Don't buy pre-made breakfast tacos at most coffee shops. Eat them fresh. Seriously. Well, unless those pre-made breakfast tacos are at SXSW Taco Meet Ups, in which case it is TOTALLY OK to eat them.
  6. Don't be afraid to explore taco trailers we didn't mention. If they have a small line in front of them, they're probably pretty good.
  7. Even if the order taker doesn't speak English, waving your hands and pointing usually works well enough.
  8. Order a Jarritos (a Mexican fruit flavored soft drink) or a Mexican coke with your taco. It's just natural.
  9. A lot of trailers, and some restaurants, are cash only. Bring some just in case.
Did we miss your favorite taco spot? Tell us and we'll rectify that shit -  tacojournalism@gmail.com

Friday, February 20

The Go-to Tex-Mex dishes in Austin

Tex-Mex, it's its own food group in Texas. From the cheese, to the queso, the Velveeta and sometimes the government kind, Tex-Mex is uniquely Tejano. Rooted in Mexican but somehow the queso took over and while most die hard Mexicans would dis-own it, we in Texas, well we love it! In Austin, Tex-Mex has been a thing since vaqueros and cowboys shared their first breakfast taco! For Eater Austin, I did a round-up of Tex-Mex dishes in Austin and be warned, if you lost your queso edge or if you make your staff make "guacamole at the table" you're not on this lista!

For the full listing including map, locations & sexy Tex Mex-y, click aqui for the 10 Classic Tex Mex Dishes in Austin.

Habanero's Mexican Cafe
Beef Fajita Ranchera
The fajitas rancheras are the bomb! Prepared al mesquite style, add plenty of spices and jalapeños and you got one of the best fajitas in town.

Matt's El Rancho
Bob Armstrong Dip (Queso)
Yeah that queso has been flowing in Austin for over 50 years now. If you wanna have some Velveeta dreams then I suggest the Bob Armstrong Dip topped with guac and ground beef or if you wanna double down, add the smoked brisket!

Amaya's Taco Village
Crispy Beef Tacos
A staple in Tex-Mex, the crispy taco doesn't get better than ground beef, pico and cheese. These are crispy tacos that haven't lost their crispy edge.

El Azteca
Cabrito Plate - Where do Tejanos eat cabrito? In McAllen and East Austin. What can I say about the cabrito? It pretty much tastes like cabrito. It's a crispy like carnitas and tender like beef and with a hint rancho flavor. For you city slickers, just dip it in the warm red salsa that it comes with to ease off the rancho.

Joe's Bakery
Carne Guisada Plate
One of my favorite spots in Austin. The carne guisada is sweet, tender, gravy-licous. Be warned, this carne's sweetness comes from pork rather than the more traditional beef.

Cisco's
Migas Taco
One of the last East Austin icons left standing. They've been dodging ghosts, developers and hipsters over the last few years. I'm glad I can still go and get myself a Migas taco with buttery biscuits of course. This is an easy cheesy, no frills Migas taco and hits the spot every time.

Enchiladas y Más
Beef Enchiladas
Nothing says says Tex-Mex like "hot plate -  hot plate!" Let's just cook the whole plate in the oven and hope you don't get burned while you're eating the cheesy, beefy enchiladas. All you gotta do is let it simmer down and don't forget the raw onions!

La Fuente's
Super Nachos con Beef Fajita
I'm more of a let's pile the tortilla chips on the plate and add the fixin's type of guy. I don't know who doesn't eat messy nachos, expect for those that like their guacamole made at their table! La Fuente's follows up the messy with crispy fajita and layers and layers of guac, pico and all the lettuce in the world!

Mi Madre's
Migas Plate
Another hit in the breakfast category. The Migas plate keeps the Mexican in Tex-Mex with a kick. Nothing like fresh jalapenos and onions and still crispy tortilla chips in your huevos.

Dart Bowl Cafe
Enchiladas with fried eggs
What's better than eating enchiladas with fried eggs while getting a little tipsy and bowling?!? Absolutely nothing! The Dart Bowl enchiladas are a guilty pleasure with the extra greasy enchis, served with fried eggs on a fajita-style dish. Plus you get to hangout with the senior citizens.



Thursday, December 11

12 Days of Breakfast Tacos: My Morning Migas by Addie Broyles

Nuestra amiga Addie Broyles - foodista, writer, mommy and former What Not to Wear celebrity has many talents and you might as well add breakfast tacos to her lista. We all love our migas tacos but how do you mix it up or give 'em a little healthy kick??? Let's thanks Addie for My Morning Migas con Brussels sprouts! Check out Addie's recipe below.

BTW, today is the last day to order your signed book. :( I know, we're sad too. So get yours today!



Excerpt from Austin Breakfast Tacos: Addie Broyles, Relish Austin - Austin American-Statesman/Austin360

Tell us about yourself and your connection with Austin...and the breakfast taco.
Even though I was raised in southwest Missouri, my family ate a lot of breakfast tacos growing up. We (foolishly) called them breakfast burritos, but that quickly changed when I moved to Austin in 2005. I’ve always been a savory breakfast kind of person, but it was only a matter of time before I couldn’t think of something savory to eat for breakfast that was not a breakfast taco. I didn’t start making migas until I started to grow a little tired of the traditional bacon, eggs and cheese breakfast tacos and when I decided that vegetables for breakfast was a pretty good way to sneak even more greens into my diet. I make a living writing about food for the Austin American-Statesman, but I don’t consider myself a professional cook, and this recipe for migas is one that anyone with a frying pan, eggs and stale tortilla chips can make. (And yes, fresh chips will work in a pinch, but I save the last crumbles in the tortilla chip bag specifically for making migas.)

Whatever else you decide to put in your taco will evolve by the day and by your tastes. I used chopped Brussels sprouts for this version because that’s what I had in my vegetable crisper, but I’ve made it with leftover roasted sweet potatoes, last night’s grilled zucchini or quickly sautéed chard or kale. Cheese isn’t absolutely necessary, but I do like to throw a little in there to finish the dish.

Recipe: My Morning Migas
2 tablespoons salted butter, divided
1⁄2 cup chopped Brussels sprouts, stems
removed
1⁄2 cup lightly crushed stale tortilla chips
3 eggs, gently beaten
2 tablespoons shredded cheese (optional) Salt, pepper and Sriracha to taste
2 flour tortillas

In a small sauté pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Gently sauté the sprouts until they start to soften and turn bright green. Add the last of the butter and the chips. Stir to coat the chips in butter and continue cooking and stirring until the chips are lightly toasted and the sprouts have cooked for another few minutes. Add the eggs and cheese to the pan. Cook as you would scrambled eggs, stirring regularly but not constantly to ensure that the eggs cook evenly. If cooking on a gas stove, warm tortillas over flame (or in a pan or griddle, if need be).

Remove from heat and fill the tortillas with the migas. Top with Sriracha or other hot sauce, as desired, and enjoy. Serves 1 generously or 2 for a smaller breakfast.