The March 2020 issue of Bon Appetit goes all in on tacos.
That magazine’s “restaurant city of the year” for 2019, Dallas, receives scant mention, but more on that below.
First we need to talk about flour tortillas.
“I grew up eating Texas-style flour tortillas straight off the electric press as my mom rolled balls of dough while watching All My Children,” writes Alex Beggs in Bon Appetit.
She says her dad later mailed her flour tortillas from H-E-B., “the world’s greatest grocery store,” to New York City, where she was living.
Houston, San Antonio and Austin hold a measure retail superiority over Dallas because there’s no dadgum H-E-B here. While not as civically humiliating as say, a sign-stealing scandal, it is a blow to the ego.
Central Market, the bougie younger sister of H-E-B, is our fallback. The flour tortillas at Central Market are the same as H-E-B., which are produced in tortillerías inside the grocer’s 350 stores. Although you can eat them right out of the bag, H-E-B tortillas are slightly undercooked and meant to be heated up in a cast-iron pan at home, says the San Antonio Express-News.
The grocery, at 2515 W. Jefferson Blvd., is one of only two El Rio Grande stores in Dallas proper. The store produces flour tortillas from an in-house tortillería, and they’re every bit as good as the ones at H-E-B. Reach into the warming box for a package of slightly undercooked flour tortillas, which cost about $4. Or grab fully cooked white or whole-wheat tortillas off the table for about $3.
El Rio Grande’s website says they make their own corn tortillas too, including some with flavors like cactus and hot pepper.
Tell us, Oak Cliff. Whose tortillas win?
As previously mentioned, Bon Appetit loves Dallas, but we’re scarce in the national magazine’s taco issue. Houston and Austin are mentioned for smoked barbacoa at Eddie O’s Texas Barbecue and duck carnitas at Nixta Taquería, respectively.
Chilangos Tacos in North Dallas gets a mention for its tortillas made of cheese, called “costra” in Spanish. It’s also worth noting that actor Cristela Alonzo sings the praises of bean-and-egg breakfast tacos from Laredo Taco Company, and there is now an outpost of that South Texas convenience store staple in Oak Cliff.
Just because Dallas isn’t represented doesn’t mean we’re not near the top of the taco game. Bon Appetit’s taco issue is worth a read for keeping abreast of trends in the taco arena. That is, study up for next time you’re in line someplace new to you.