The tortilla. The filling. The salsa. They are, in the doctrinal words of Mexican author Alejandro Escalante, the “Holy Trinity of the Taco.” If so, then Saturday saw a veritable Taco Mass, when hundreds of hungry Dallasites genuflected before the altar of this elemental, but infinitely variable mainstay of Texan cuisine at the first-ever North Texas Taco Festival. But let’s be honest: with a dozen local taco shops plying their trade, not to mention eclectic arts and crafts stalls, funky live music, an erudite taco panel, a throwdown between five of Dallas’ hottest chefs, and—for good measure—abundant cervezas, the festival beat the hell out of church.
Taco Trail’s José Ralat-Maldonado joined forces with Rich Vana of Entrée Dallas, Brandon Castillo of Deep Ellum Outdoor Market, and Laura Allen of Walk the Light to throw a Mexican-style taquiza—or, taco street party—in DEOM’s usual block starting at 11 a.m. Like most, I strolled up at around noon, taking in the scenery, the breezy day, the good feelings before flipping out over the insanely long lines. For the moment, I reined in my appetite and decided to wade (read: jostle) through the teeming hungry to check out the non-taco offerings. At the first clearing, I came upon a lonely burro, adorned in kitschy burro-wear, and connected by a drooping lead rope to his equally lonely master. It took me a second to register that the pair were waiting to snap some shots with festival-goers (incidentally, the burro and his sidekick were stationed before a pair of sky-blue porta-potties, making for a killer absurdist backdrop). I obliged with a photo, helping kick-start the burro’s business for the day.6 Comments »
Yesterday I reported Taco Republic in Richardson would close at the end of the year and reopen in early 2013 on Maple Avenue. Earlier this morning, our man on the trail of tacos, José Ralat-Maldonado, said Taco Republic was going to close for good on December 27. Then a few minutes ago José sent an update:
Owner Ron Guest said his main business partner saw the SideDish post, liked it and decided Taco Republic is no longer closing. Please disregard the text changes I sent earlier.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet José Ralat-Maldonado. Jose is a new contributor to SideDish. He is known for his blog The Taco Trail , a subject he will touch on from time to time, but we’ve asked Jose to step off his taco trail. Today he has a new map in his hands with plenty of paths to cross. Welcome him.
Let’s not kid ourselves, thoughts have begun to lean toward weekend eating and drinking plans. Start early with Union Bear’s inaugural Family Dinner tonight. The West Village neighborhood pub’s new beer dinner series will take place the second Wednesday of each month and include three courses paired with suds and surprises. I asked for hints of said surprises when I stopped in for some pints this week but was met with tight lips. Surprises or not, the menu for this Family Dinner is a rich, palate-warming affair.
First up: A butternut squash-guajillo chile soup with a kick of roasted pepinos and cocoa powder. It will be matched with Ska Brewing’s Autumnal Mole Stout, one of four new seasonal stouts from the Colorado operation. I had the opportunity to sample the Mole Stout this week. Made with cocoa nibs, spices as well as ancho, guajillo, and Anaheim chiles, the dark beer does indeed evoke the substantial and widely recognized mole poblano, which is basically the chocolate and chile-based mother sauce of Mexico (because everyone’s mami made the best). It’s also refreshing. Think of it as the perfect sunny fall afternoon, one that ends resting on a pile of newly shed leaves.