It strikes me as pretentious and white-privilege-y to say that I “found” a great place to get tacos, because “found” is usually code for “drove to a Hispanic neighborhood and ate at a place where hundreds of people eat every week.” It’s kind of like Columbus “discovering” America, where millions of indigenous people already lived. It might be more accurate to say that I’ve recently stumbled upon a couple of outstanding eateries that might seem exotic to white people. (Dress down, Meredith. We’re going to eat real tacos in the ’hood for brunch.)
West Seminary Drive is hardly Fallujah, but it’s certainly not a major port of call for foodies –– another loaded word that usually denotes some degree of privilege. But there are a few great little taquerias on that boulevard, and chief among them might be Tako Chihuas (2406 W. Seminary Dr., 817-841-0160).
The orange-hued signage is hard to miss from the road, so too is the orange picket fence that surrounds the front patio and the orange food truck for to-go orders parked out front in a bed of gravel. The place also has a cozy dining room for people dining in, but I didn’t know that until I’d already ordered. The menu is a little more expansive than your run-of-the-mill Mex-Mex joint, mostly because the kitchen serves burgers in addition to tacos, burritos, and all of the other usual suspects.
I’m always tempted to get the most “foreign” meats, because that’s what I imagine Anthony Bourdain would do. But how predictable is that? Why would I order something just to prove to the taco-makers that I’m one of the “good white people”? I’m not the one bearing smallpox blankets. See? I eat what you eat.
I figured the least racist thing I could do would be to order what I wanted, which was tacos with pastor (pork marinated in chiles and slow-cooked on a spit, $1.50) and carne asada (grilled beef, $1.50). The meats were served in delicious, hot housemade corn tortillas and accompanied by crunchy cabbage, fresh-tasting cilantro and onions, and a zesty, bright salsa verde. The pork was swimming in a red stew of ground chiles that was just the right balance of spicy and greasy. The lean asada meat was fork tender and not at all overcooked –– a common taqueria foible.
Mica’s Tortilleria Y Taqueria (3570 W. Seminary Dr.) is pretty close in proximity to Chihuas, but it was miles away in terms of registering on my culinary radar. I stopped in the carniceria adjacent to the Poop Deck bar after gassing up at a nearby filling station, and I’m definitely going back.
The setup is half market/half restaurant, with avocado green walls, shimmering silver tables, and bars on the windows. On my recent visit, the small crowd was watching the Mexican soccer team, and things got a little rowdy. Luckily, the squad was ahead throughout the duration of my visit. (Meredith, I’m so scared right now. Can we leave?)
The tortillas the cooks use for its tacos are ripped right off the factory floor –– a modest-looking machine behind the counter. And the kitchen absolutely fills those things with meat. It looked like my taco was wearing a tortilla a few sizes too small. There also was an ample portion of grilled and raw onions, cabbage, cilantro, and a tomatillo-heavy green salsa to complement my meat of choice: the carnitas (slow roasted pork, $1.50), which were a foie gras-like combination of tender and rich.
Food exploring may be a little racist, but at least it got me out of my ivory tower.
Contact Chow, Baby at fwweekly.com.