Archive for December, 2009

Quick Post: An Observation

As I looked at the pictures we have taken over the past few months I couldn’t help but notice the stark difference between the image of the crispy “taco” and the tacos we have actually eaten and reviewed. Sure the crispy taco image is a heavily edited jpeg from the web. However, just the form of the taco is so different. The crispy taco is so stiff (crisp, even) with 3 distinct layers of filling.

On the other hand, the Taco de Maiz from Taqueria Michoacan is so free form, some would say sloppy…I would say sexy.Taco de Maiz con Fajita

((((((((CAUTION, the following includes a PG-13 rated metaphor)))))))))

Instead of tortilla, meat and a heap of cabbage I can picture sheets, people and a heap of clothes…go ahead and look at that picture  and if you’ve got any imagination, you can find sexy in there.

Continuing the G rated conversation:

So one looks neat and uniform, the other sloppy and free-form. But what about when eaten? This is the crazy part where looks prove deceiving. Go in for that first bite of crispy taco shell and you know where your chin better be: directly over a plate, because as sturdy as those corn walls were to withhold the flow of meat, cheese and other filling, you just put a crack in the dam and the whole thing is coming down. Hope you weren’t trying to impress anyone with your sour cream free nose or greaseless cheeks because guess what, you’ve got taco sauce right there…no, right there, by your mouth…no, no…you just pushed it arou–there you go, you got it…for now!

Now, consider the alternative…served to you in heaps, but for a reason. A corn tortilla can handle a heap. Typically double wrapped for security the taco de maiz is able to hold its contents because of its ability to fold and flex. The warm tortilla has some elasticity and give, but only enough so that it still melts in your mouth. And what is the shape of the final form of this taco as it is brought up to the mouth….a circle…just like your mouth. Perfect. Oh, you should still hold it over a plate, wax paper, or to-go box. But this is to catch the wonderful juices from the meat or salsa that you can then dip your taco in before the next bite. Its perfect. Its functional. And its oh so sexy….

Enjoy the gallery of tacos we have tasted and loved. We hope to visit a brand new place that just opened this week so come back in a day or so…

Lengua Taco from El Si Hay

One of Each from Virginia’s

Carnitas, Chorizo, and Pastor tacos from Ole Frijole in Portland, OR.

Chicken Taco from Pollo Fiesta

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Tis the season to be busy. Check in with us any month and we will be busy, but things pick up in December for sure. This weekend it was an art gallery opening, late night and early morning meals with friends, family visits in between, and Christmas parties galore. The weekends can be more exhausting than a full work week. Throw in the chill of a winters drizzle and we are zombies, stumbling around town, mouths cracked open, eyes glazed.

But there in the distance…through the fog we saw it. A sign. Its message glowing in red.


Fuel City is blessed and cursed by being located right in the middle of the downtown Dallas Mix-master. Surrounded by highways it is easily visible. However, getting to it can be tricky. Neighbored by liquor stores and bail bond agencies, just down the street from the city jail and courthouse, the area can be new to some visitors. But the owners do their best to make their establishment as welcoming as a gas station can be (see pic of giant snowman). And getting to the tacos couldn’t be easier, assuming you still carry cash.

A kitchen about the size of a large walk-in closet boasts two ordering windows, facing inside the store as well as out. The menu is made up of 5 items, Beef or Chicken fajita, picadillo, barbacoa, and al pastor tacos. Short descriptions are posted for the uninitiated. We went for the famous picadillo and barbacoa tacos. Used to high demand, the tacos came out within minutes, piping hot and topped with fresh cilantro and onion.

Neither of our tacos seem to be traditional taco stand fare. The barbacoa is a shredded roast beef, soaked in juices, dark in color, and rich in flavor. It reminded me of a good French Dip or Italian beef sandwich, the meat tender and very juicy.

The picadillo taco is ground beef ( read the first post for my thoughts on ground beef) mixed with potato. I had my doubts, but the peppery seasoned beef is tasty. If you must have ground beef in your taco, this is the way to have it. My wife was a big fan the first time we tried it, but on a second visit found the taco a bit spicier than she remembered. This one is great with a flour tortilla and just a dash of hot sauce. Again, the beef is so flavorful that you might want to try one without the sauce.

Comfort food typically describes dishes gooey and cheesy, or breaded and fried. But any food can comfort with needed nourishment during a hard time. We enjoyed our meal from the comfort of our taco oasis in the midst of our busy December weekend.

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