405243_10150964312191697_256141353_nJosé Ralat-Maldonado fell in love 10 years ago … with breakfast tacos.

Ralat-Maldonado, a native New Yorker who now lives in Oak Cliff, married a Texan with Mexican heritage and soon developed his passion, tacos. The couple originally lived in a Latino neighborhood, and his constant sampling of tacos there inspired him to eventually start a blog, thetacotrail.com. His blog’s popularity, and those breakfast tacos his wife first made for him when they were dating, made him realize there needed to be a single place for all the tacos in Dallas to congregate.

“Tacos are everywhere, and everyone says they love tacos, but there hasn’t been a festival,” he says. “When people ask me for recommendations and I send them to far-flung places, to undesirable places, and they frown upon it. They are unwilling to explore. I want to put all these places together so people can finally try them and hopefully generate interest and business for these places.”

Enter the first North Texas Taco Festival.

It’s from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 20, in the 2800 block of Main Street in Deep Ellum.

Ralat-Maldonado, who is an editor for Dallas-based Cowboys & Indians magazine, coordinated the event along with Entrée Dallas and the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Mexico in Dallas.

Despite the price for individual tacos and refreshments, Ralat-Maldonado decided to make general entry free because, he says, tacos serve no specific class; they are all encompassing.photo8

The festival includes tacos from some of Ralat-Maldonado’s favorite taquerias in Dallas, including Oak Cliff’s own El Tizoncito and Cafeteria y Loncheria El Padrino. Plus a “taco throwdown” among Dallas chefs who don’t normally do tacos, including Omar Flores of Driftwood and Brian C. Luscher of The Grape.

Topo Chico is sponsoring the live music: The Venetian Sailors, Johnny Beauford & the Jack Kerowax and Mariachi Rosas Divinas.

Ralat-Maldonado says he “breaths, eats and sleeps” tacos, so expect this dedication to reflect in this Saturday’s festival.