Archive for April, 2010

Just a teaser for now. We had a great meal at Rosita’s today and the review will be up soon!

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Gordo’s Tacos
2324 West Illinois Avenue
Dallas, TX 75224-1638
(214) 337-0999‎
Open Early, Open Late (some of our best investigative journalism right there)
$1.25 tacos de maiz

Things are changing in Oak Cliff!

How’d you read that last sentence? In the age of emoticons the written word needs no interpretation by the reader. How a person feels about what they are saying is easily relayed via unorthodox usage of dashes, colons, and parentheses. For example:

Things are changing in Oak Cliff! 🙂

Things are changing in Oak Cliff! 😦

Things are changing in Oak Cliff! :-/

Things are changing in Oak Cliff! :-O

Things are changing in Oak Cliff! >:)

Ask a randomly selected group of people with Oak Cliff zip codes how they feel about the changes in Oak Cliff and you are guaranteed to find an array of real emotions rather than creatively paired punctuation. Back in 2007 CliffDweller Magazine (now Advocate Oak Cliff) ran a story about the Virginia Manor apartments that displayed the various emotions behind “change” coming to Oak Cliff. The proposed demolition of the early 20th century apartment buildings to make room for new, trendy (and probably expensive) condos/apartments drew impassioned responses from both sides of the issue. I’m not sure what has kept them standing, but nearly 3 years later, the residences remain intact and occupied. No doubt, some anxiety and bitterness remain as well, a byproduct of the idea of “change”.

More recently(meaning this weekend), the Oak Cliff Art Crawl showcased some of the changes being made specifically in the area around Tyler and Davis, newly christened the X+ (pronounced, “Ex Plus”) Arts District (a silly name, but certainly created by people serious about art). Much of the redevelopment may have been overlooked by many neighborhood residents (we remained ignorant of most of the new shops/galleries) until this weekend when those driving down Tyler Street  through the district were forced to merge from 3 lanes to 1 for the event. In order to create a more pedestrian friendly atmosphere the sidewalks around X+ were extended into the road for the weekend.

So how did people feel about the temporary rezoning of one of Oak Cliff’s main roads? Those attending the event seemed to love the area and the freedom to more easily walk from store to store, stopping to gather together in between. But what about those driving, forced to merge into one lane of traffic? From where I was sitting (on the curb outside of Hobbes Vincent’s Sculpture Studio, listening to heartfelt folk music from unamplified instruments not 6 feet from passing cars with stereos a’thumping), it seemed that curiosity ruled the faces of the passersby. And what a perfect feeling to have when faced with change! The few motorist who showed their displeasure with F-bombs or horn honks were greatly outnumbered by those who lowered their windows and volume knobs to take it all in.

As Oak Cliff continues to reinvent itself, I take the curiosity of those drivers as the perfect example of how to approach such change: lower the barriers that keep you separated from whats going on in the world around you and lower the volume of the thoughts/ideas/noise in which you have been previously immersed and take a moment to take note of what others are doing or saying.  Continue on your way if you’d like, but first find out the who’s, what’s, when’s, where’s, and why’s of the prossible changes coming to our neighborhood. By engaging the process, your own ideas may be given a chance to become reality, making a better Oak Cliff for all of us. Here are a few links to some of the causes gaining momentum in our area, please add more in the comments section:

Friends of Oak Cliff Parks

Oak Cliff Cultural Center (coming in late 2010)

Oak Cliff Transit Authority

Bike Friendly Oak Cliff

Seventh Street Murals

Oak Cliff Earth Day

Oak Cliff Center for Community Studies

Let us know about more projects in our comments section and we’ll make sure to update the post!

Jefferson Median Beautification Project

One of the most positive changes in our neighborhood has been the building of the new Hampton-Illinois Library, opened in 2006. It is an amazing space and offers equally amazing programs. However, I was saddened to see the old library building close down just as I was moving back to the Cliff. I probably visited that library at least once a week as a child. Our home was just down the block, near the corner of Edgefield and Illinois. When  “A” and I moved to the area in 2006 any hopes of having my memories rekindled by the building and its books disappeared as the doors remained firmly shut at the Illinois location due to the move. But any disappointment with the change dissolved the moment we walked up to the new building on Hampton. The old library has remained dark, though it may be in use by the city (anyone know?). But, after all these years, we have been attracted to the parking lot once more.

If Gordo’s Tacos was around when I was a child, I was unaware of it’s existence. Today it sits just a few parking spaces across from the front entrance of what used to be the Hampton-Illinois Library. Colored bright orange, the stand matches the coloring of the Jerry’s supermarket located in the same shopping center, though it does not seem connected in any other way. The small stand seems to have had a drive thru at one time, revealing past inhabitants, but the only way to get a taco is by walking up to the small window under the front awning. This same window is home to the taqueria’s menu, a messy mass of pieces of paper with different meats and meals written on them with no prices or details. While the sign facing Illinois boasted “Tacos, Tortes, and Elotes”, I don’t recall elotes or tortes on the window. Tacos, enchiladas, menudo, and other specialties were listed, persuading me to try the lengua, fajita beef, bistek, and barbacoa tacos. I almost ordered some of the delicious looking melon agua fresca, but without a price to guide me, I decided against it. I ordered and was told 5 minutes was all I had to wait for my food to be prepared. Very nice, especially with two other people in front of me and a hungry belly inside of me.

Another 5 minutes in the car and I was home, opening the warm to-go box, stuffed with steaming tacos de maiz. When ordering, I often forget that while I have requested a variety of different meat preparations, they are typically always beef and are relatively hard to decipher when eaten out of a to-go box. But we’re pros, right? We were able to tell the difference between the barbacoa and lengua, but had some trouble figuring out which was the fajita beef and which was the bistek. Our guess was that the tasty, peppery tender taco was filled with fajita beef and was our favorite of the bunch. The other taco tasted more like a grilled steak (though the stand does not boast a grill), beefy and slightly chewy. It was nothing special and neither was the barbacoa which was especially bland. The lengua was good, but the greasy, thick tortilla made the usually light taco dense and heavy.

The most “special” thing we came home with from Gordo’s was the salsa roja. The neon red color should have given us a clue that this was no ordinary salsa. Expecting fireworks, I readied a glass of milk, the quickest and most effective way to put out a mouth on fire. But instead of spicy we tasted sweet…really sweet…fruity sweet…no, fruit punch sweet. Thats right. The distinct flavor of Hawaiian Punch was detected in our salsa. It was not entirely unpleasant. But recognizing the flavor changed it from being accepted as that secret ingredient that adds “something I can’t quite put my finger on”, to a nauseating condiment, out of place and overpowering. If there is a next time we might try sticking with the fajita beef taco with salsa verde only, Hawaiian Punch in a cup, and not on our taco. Thats one change we can do without!


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