Thursday, January 5

The Best Tacos I ate in 2016 (full list)

I know, it's a hard job but this Taco Journalist had to do it! In our "research" for el book - The Tacos of Texas book - we ate over 500 tacos across 10 cities in Tejas and yes, we grew 3 taco sizes larger. We ate taco stands, trailers and trucks, mom & pop shops and fast food joints, with chefes & familias, in backyards and ranchos. All in the name of tacos! So when the Texas Standard asked us for the top list, we were happy to oblige. Listen to the story and check out the full lista below. Ladies and gentlemen, cowboys y vaqueros, these are the best tacos I ate in 2016. Enjoy!

Tacos included are based on taco book calendar year. ;) Photos by El Mero Mero Fotografero, Marco Torres.

Taco: The Real Deal Holyfield (Breakfast taco)
Place: Valentina's Tex-Mex BBQ
City: Austin
Why it's the best: The Real Deal Holyfield is the best of the best. This taco is the one that separates the men from the boys, las chingonas from the niñas. It's the Mex and Tex wrapped up in a fresh flour tortilla with slow and low smoked brisket, beans, potatoes, thick cut bacon topped with a huevo estrellado (fried egg) and a mean tomato serrano salsa.

Taco: Trompo
Place: Trompo
City: Dallas
Why it's the best: This trompo from Trompo in Dallas had me at "do you want eat tacos in the back of my garage?" This pork masterpiece is sazonado con paprika, hails from Monterrey and is winning the hearts and bellies of the taco world.

Taco: Discada
Place: Tacoholics
City: El Paso
Why it's the best: The discada is one of the reasons men cook and drink together. And it was no different with Tacoholics' own, Jessie Peña - Disco Master. One of the ways we do this is with a disco, a pan developed somewhere between the farmlands of Mexico and Texas. Large tractor tills are welded together to form a concave pan used for outdoor cooking. El disco is more than a pan; it’s a way for Mexican men (mostly) to share the experience of cooking and bringing families together with food and culture. It's the process of cooking up the red meats, pork, sausages, weenies, bacon, chorizo, jalapeños, and cebollitas as the corn tortillas warm up on the edges of the pan and we converse about life, politics, food, family, beers, tequila, y más.

Taco: Puffy Taco
Place: Ray's Puffy Tacos
City: San Antonio
Why it's the best: There's nothing better than eating a light and fluffy masa that's fried & shaped to perfection. This taco filled with ground beef, lettuce and yellow cheese and even better, from an old school drive-inn!

Taco: Barbacoa
Place: Estilo Tierra Caliente
City: Houston
Why it's the best: Maria Samano has been holding it down in Montrose and doubles down on why her barbacoa tacos are so good, "Because I make them myself and they.are.good!" I agree.

Taco: Pirata
Place: Taco Palenque
City: Laredo
Why it's the best: Ask anyone in Laredo and Jarod (it's one of his favorites) the taco they love to eat and they will happily respond with a Pirata from Taco Palenque. Take Mexican Mayonnaise (thin spread of refried beans), grilled fajitas and add yellow cheese and you've got something born out of the border. It's great in the morning, 2am or 9am.

Chicharron con huevos (breakfast taco)
Hi-Ho Restaurant
Corpus Christi
Why it's the best: Fluffy handmade tortillas, just like abuelita used to make or like the ones that still work at Hi-Ho. I had the crunchiest, creamiest and pico-est taco I've ever had and I think Selena would agree.

Taco: Guisado de Puerco
Place: Manuel's Tortilla and Tamale Factory
City: Odessa
Why it's the best: West Texas sabores are spicier and the chile sauces are earthier, all thanks to the influence of Mexico and New Mexico. We had the best undercover guisado de puerco tacos that side of Pecos. If you stop by, ask them by name cuz the only thing on the menu are tortillas and tamales.

Taco: Taco Callejeros/Street Tacos
Place: Ultimo Taco
City: Brownsville
Why it's the best: Your first stop in the Rio Grande Valley should be Ultimo Taco. The street tacos come in 6-packs and 8-packs with all kinds of meaty varieties: Bistec, Al Pastor, Barbacoa, Mollejas & Tripas. The place is so good they don't need any decorations on the walls. Yeah, that good.

Taco: Barbacoa
Place: Vera's Backyard Bar-B-Que
City: Brownsville
Why it's the best: Armando Vera, pit master and barbacoa boss has been cooking cabezas since he was 11 years old. Not only is it one of the best in Texas, they still cook the beef heads in pozos (underground ovens). Get there at 4am to beat the crowds.

Tuesday, October 4

Tacos of Texas: El Book Tour!

That's right. We coming to your ciudad in Texas! We kicked off Austin with one hellavah taco party and now we're going back to celebrate the tacos - 8 cities in total. Invite your friends, bring yo kids & let's eat tacos!

RSVP on the Tacos of Texas event page.

Wednesday, August 17

Taco World Premiere: The Tacos of Texas Trailer

Last year we started the "taco research," yeah we went to 10 cities in Texas to uncover the best tacos in the Lonestar State which is basically like half of America. We traveled over 7,000 miles, covered 10 cities, interviewed over 100 people and ate around 500 tacos (give or take a few tortillas). Oh yeah and we filmed it too thanks to Dennis Burnett aka El Flaco Rojo. Check out the Tacos of Texas book trailer and look for the upcoming video series featuring the taco vibe and culture in 10 cities in Texas.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Cowboys & Vaqueros, these are The Tacos of Texas.
Film by Dennis Burnett

Get the Tacos of Texas book at

Tuesday, July 19

Granny's Tacos: Taco Truck formerly known as Ambulance Truck.

Run, do not walk to Granny's Tacos. They just posted up the first of July (2016) right next to the Vintage coffee shop. Armando Vasquez and his wife run the ambulance truck turnt taco truck so even after your try their hot salsas you can get treated too. ;) Waaah!

It's not just the truck that makes it a winner. The tacos are yummy, the al pastor and the chile spices come through with strong tones and hints of chile. So good. The migas are spot on, just what you would expect from an ambulance truck. :o

Granny's Taco's is still off the grid. ;) It's in the super small trailer park next to Vintage coffee on East 7th and Navasota. I know some people like to keep these "finds" a secret but I'm all about supporting taqueros, so run, don't walk to Granny's Tacos!

Thursday, July 14

Barbacoa Love

Barbacoa Sundays – It’s a way of life in South Texas.  Rooted in family traditions of backyard cooking, barbacoa is a cultural taste that grew out of farms and ranches and is enjoyed by many families across Texas. Slow-cooked or steamed to beef cheek perfection, barbacoa is prepared traditionally in a pozo, (in-ground pit or outdoor oven) or in a slow cooker (crockpot) and for those of us that like to pick it up by the pound, our local supermercado or taqueria.

Check out the Texas Traditions videos, a series we're doing with Beef Loving Texans. You can view the videos below or read the full blog post aquí.

Texas Traditions: Barbacoa 

How-to Barbacoa for the home cooks! 

Saturday, June 25

Taco Map: The Iconic Tacos of Texas

For our upcoming libro, The Tacos of Texas, we've done muy important research; we discovered and rediscovered different parts of Texas, all in the name of tacos. From South Texas to West Texas, if people were making tacos, we were there to eat them. No tacos were left untouched. And, yes, Texas does have a ton of taco options, and as we drove thousands of miles for The Tacos of Texas, we found that each region has different flavors and styles and the taco that everyone loves. Way back when we got our contract with UT Press, we set out to do a taco map for the book. It took us a while to develop the content and thanks to Tanya Ramirez, our taco design intern, we have the ultimate taco map all mapped out for you! Ladies and gentlemen, cowboys y vaqueros, These are The Iconic Tacos of Texas!

Monday, April 25

Texas Standard: How we mix cultures to make great tacos

The Texas Standard asks, "When does a taco stop being a taco?" I say NEVER! As long as there are warm corn or flour tortillas, we will always have tacos. In the latest segment of my #tacotalk with David Brown of the Texas Standard, we talk about veggie, chapulines, Korean BBQ, Farm to Table and how we mix cultures to make great tacos.

Korean BBQ Tacos by Tacoholics in El Paso
Photo by Marco Torres
Listen Aquí!

Wednesday, March 9

Eat these Tacos at SXSW

Welcome to Austin, Texas y'all! We have a plethora of tacos for you to try during SXSW. Sure you can go to Torchy's and Tacodeli and you should but there are waaaay more places to get good tacos in Austin. As your Taco Journalist, I urge you to eat these tacos again and again and again!

Brisket Taco
Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ 
The Brisket Taco is the bomb! 

Battered bacon, eggs & beans
Breakfast Taco Heaven! 
Joe's Bakery

Best Migas Taco in town!
Veracruz All Natural 

Blackened Fish Tacos
Tamale House East 
Also see Chori-Migas taco

Egg and Chorizo Breakfast Taco
Keeping a classic classic.
El Primo Trailer 

Barbacoa Taco
ConMadre Kitchen
South Texas style 

Tacos Al Pastor
Mi Tradicion Panaderia
Tacos Al Pastor Enchilado (Extra spicy!)

Tacos al Pastor from the Trompo!
Rosita’s Al Pastor 

Carnitas Taco
Mi Madre's Restaurant
Also see breakfast taco Number 0

Del Mar Fish Tacos
Mellizoz Tacos
Talapia goodness!

A whole lotta crispy tacos! 
La Cocina de Consuelo
Also see breakfast burritos

Tacos de hongos y rajas **Veggie Alert** 
Papalote Taco House
Also see Taco de Coliflor!

Deep in the heart of Fajitas!
Matt's El Rancho 
Don't forget the Bob Armstrong Queso! 

Fajitas Ranchera Tacos - Muy Espicy!
Habanero Mexican Restaurant 

Checka the taco map and go eat these tacos!