Sunday, January 24, 2010

El Potosine

4254 Hemphill Street
Fort Worth, TX 76115-1350
(817) 920-0230
Visa/MC Accepted
Consumed Tacos: Asada/Carnitas
Preference: Asada

Heading back to Tacoville, I ventured in to the long awaited El Potosino. It's one of those places that actually looks better on the inside than the outside. I was pleasantely surprised with how big it was, and how neat and clean it looked.

Upon going to the counter to place my order, I was invited to have a seat so that my waitress. I am still not 100% sure which of these places to sit and be waited or which ones to order from the counter. Thereis no way to measure, so use this website as your guide.

My waiteress was very friendly, and I confidently ordered two Asada tacos and one Carnitas taco without evening looking at the menu (I'm such a braggart).

Within seconds of me placing my order, my waitress brings me a heaping bowl of chips. Unlike other venues I've tried, these actually came with seperate Salsa AND taco sauce. Hmmm...okay, so far so good. The chips were incredibly good. Not sure what sort of tortilla they used to make them, but they were thick, hearty chips. Wow, I loved them--and would recommend El Potosine simply for this fact.

Before I could really get down on my chips, I heard the ding of the kitchen bell indicating my three tacos (which cost $4.79, by the way) were ready.

What I first noticed was how I could actually smell the Asada as the plate was delivered, and that is a good thing. All three tacos were double-wrapped, and had a proportionate amount of cilantro and onions. The taco sauce was not incredibly hot, but this was due to the wonderful flavor of the meat. The Asada was incredibly tasty and had a little kick to it. The Carnitas might have been the best I've had. I'm typically not a huge fan of Carnitas, but these were spot on.
All in all I duly enjoyed my visit to El Potosine, and like many of the taquerias in Tacoville---they did not disappoint.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Taco Cabana

Consumed Tacos: Fajita Chicken/Fajita Steak
Preference: Fajita Steak

Believe it or not, I’ve been a long-time fan of Taco Cabana. Mainly because of their location to my house, it’s my quick taco fix when the craving hits me.

While their tacos are no doubt “white-boy” tacos, they do have a distinct flavor. Their fajita meat is actually very good.

The fajita tacos are a bit on the expensive side (1.99 each), but it can be argued they are worth it. The presentation is plain: meat only, wrapped in flour tortillas. While it might improve the tacos to throw some cilantro and onions up in there, the “plain” taco does make Taco Cabana unique.

The tortillas are always very fresh, and there is an abundance of meat they place in them. Their salsa is extremely good, and the steak fajitas has enough spices to give them a kick—thus light salsa is all that is really needed.

I give Taco Cabana three tacos. While they are not authentic, they are tasty and that is really all that matters. Many might be surprised that I put them in the same class with the authentic taquerias around Fort Worth, but a good taco is simply a good taco.

Friday, January 15, 2010

La Hechizera

2201 W Seminary Dr, Fort Worth, TX
(817) 207-8575
MasterCard, Visa accepted

Consumed Tacos: Chorizo/Fajita
Preference: Fajita

La Hechizera was a random find for me. I intended to review Tacos Earnesto (not to be confused Earnesto's Tacos a block away). Seeing as Tacos Earnesto does not accept credit cards (Booo!) I was fortunate to come across La Hechizera making my way down Seminary Dr.

I was pleasently surprised by two things. First, this was by far the cleanest taqueria I've been to on the hunt, and second, they accept credit cards.

Although itis the cleanest taqueria I've been to, don't let that fool you into thinking it is not authentic. So authentic in fact, the cashier had to get someone to translate my order. I assumed "Dos Fajita Tacos" would not be hard to translate. However, I could tell she was a little intimidated so I simply went with the flow and let him translate "Dos Fajita tacos y Dos Chorizo tacos".

To all the gringos out there, I ordered two fajito tacos and two "mexican sausage" (chorizo) tacos. They were very nicely priced at $1.39 per taco. My understanding is that Chorizo is a breakfast sausage. I've had Chorizo many times, but it's always been in wrapped up with some eggs in a flour tortilla. Easting it as a lunch taco---not recommended.

The tacos came double-wrapped in nicely grilled tortillas. The amount of cilantro/onions were a litte lacking. As mentioned, I don't think that Chorizo is especially designed for traditional tacos, but I thought it was worth a shot. The fajita meat was tasty, however it was not as lean as I prefer. The taco sauce, which came on the side was incredibly thick (almost scary looking) but as always I put a heaping amount on my tacos and thoroughly enjoyed them.

I feel La Hechizera has quality tacos, however tacos are not their specialty. Their menu consists of many other "meat and bread" combinations that I had never heard of, and some of them looked pretty damn good. In addition to my tacos, I also ordered some fajita quesadillas. Along with tacos, quesadillas are something else I thoroughly enoy, and thought I understood.
However, the great taco hunt is a learning experience. Learning never stops. What I learned on this trip is either La Hechizera has the most authentic quesadillas---or the most tricked up quesadillas I've ever had, because they were nothing like the quesadillas I've had throughout my life. This does not mean they weren't good. In fact, these quesadillas kicked my butt. The best way I could describe it a Monte Cristo sammich meets Queso Fundido de Pollo, and they have a baby. That was the quesadillas at La Hechizera.
Regardless, this is all about tacos. Had it not been for the Chorizo tacos (which yes, I ordered) I would possibly give them four tacos. However, for now I give them three tacos, and will return and post and update defining whether they should be move up to four tacos.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

El Mil Taco

3910 Hemphill
Mon-Thu 9am-10pm, Fri-Sat 9am-4am.
MasterCard, Visa accepted

Consumed Tacos: Asada/Shredded Beef
Preference: Asada

El Mil Taco has been high on my list of places to visit for quite some time due to its attractive facade. While the outside does not have much of the old school charm as do the other taquerias in the area, I was pleasantly surprised that the inside provided much relief in the form of authenticity.

The first thing that struck me was how small the venue is. I must assume there is indeed an upstairs eating area, as downstairs appears to sit no more than 30 people, or at least it appeared as such.

Technically, this is a table service restaurant (i.e., you are serviced by wait-staff). Our waitress, who was very cute, brought us chips and salsa. They were average at best. However, not all places in the Taco Hunt have provided free chips and salsa, so average is better than none.

My lunchmate had already eaten earlier, but wanted to join my in part of the hunt. Consequentlty, I was the only one who ordered food. He missed out. The second I bit into the Asada taco, I made a face. My friend inquired as to whether everything I was okay. I mumbled something about "five taco" taco, but refused to stop eating to talk as I was enjoying them so much.

First and foremost, I think I have to rank these as the BEST tacos I've yet in the Taco Hunt, with El Pollo Palenque being a close second. I ordered two Asada, and two Shredded Beef--as always, in corn tortilas.

The tacos were double-wrapped in perfectly grilled and tasty tortillas. The meat was perfectly augmented with just the right amount cilantro and onions. The flavor of the Asada just exploded in my mouth. The Shredded Beef tacos provided just enough grease to where you knew you were eating some serious tacos, but the grease did not ruin the taste completely.

The tacos were also presented with grilled onions and jalapenos on the side, which I made the most of by including some in almost every bite.

With its trendy facade, walking into El Mil Taco is authentic as it gets with its food, and I personally feel you have not experienced Fort Worth's taco scene until you have tasted El Mil Taco.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Taqueruia San Luis

538 W Seminary, Fort Worth, TX
(817) 926 - 3011
(817) 926 – 9491
All major credit cards are accepted

Consumed Tacos: Asada/Pollo
Preference: Asada

While some feel this is not your typical “code-violating” taqueria, Taqueria San Luis is indeed as authentic as it gets. With four locations around the metroplex, I ventured to the Tacoville location. Walking in, I was expecting a somewhat upscale “Fuzzy’s” type atmosphere, but was pleasantly surprised to find that the inside as monotonous as most any other taqueria in that area.

While this is considered a table service restaurant, I’ve come to learn that Mexicans in Tacoville know little---if anything---about service, and thus you simply take what you can get. In this instance, I took a menu and found a seat (all but one were available) in the back party room so I could focus solely on my taco.

A “waitress” approached my table with chips, and red and green taco sauce, and then took my order. What’s missing from this picture? Think hard. Chips? Check. Salsa? Negative. Being the Gringo that I am, I elected to dip a chip into the taco sauce. Big mistake. Taco sauce is for tacos, not chips.

While San Luis offers four tacos with rice and beans for $5.69, I elected to go for three individual tacos only. This was a wise decision on my part. Why? The next thing I know the waitress is bringing me a heaping bowl of steaming hot charro beans. Seeing as though I love charro beans as much as tacos, this more than made up for the lack of salsa. I have know idea why she brought them to me. Perhaps she suddenly fell in love with me and wanted to court me with charros beans. Perhaps charro beans comes with each meal. I guess I would rather have chips with no salsa WITH charro beans, then chips with salsa WITHOUT charro beans.


The first thing about the tacos that stood out to me is that they were single-wrapped in corn tortillas. This is a bit unorthodox for Tacoville, but the corn tortillas were EXCEPTIONAL. Perhaps the best I’ve had to-date.

The cilantro and onions came on the side. I’m not a big fan of that. When I order a taco, I want cilantro and onions, and I want them to be put on by a Mexican---not by me an my white-boy touch. After I tentatively put on the onions and cilantro (afraid I would put too little/too much), I went at it.

The Asada was tasty, but not overpowering, like I prefer. I found myself putting more and more taco sauce on, which is can be a good think or a bad thing. The Pollo was surprisingly good. I’m typically not a fan of chicken tacos, but decided to give her a try, and frankly I was glad I did.
As mentioned, the most surprising aspect to these tacos were the tortillas. Just as bread can make or break a sammich, the same can be said for tortillas and tacos.

If I were to give out halves, I would have given Sans Luis 3 ½ tacos. However, I’ve yet to introduce the half taco, and the lack of salsa for my (albeit free) chips as well as the slightly above average tacos keeps them at a 3 taco establishment. This is okay, however, as three tacos represents it is highly recommened.

Oh, on my way out, the “waitress” whom I passed while no one else was in the restaurant (and tipped nicely) could not even muster a “Gracias” or “Adios” for me. Thus I figure charro beans do come with their meals.

La Michoacana Meat Market

3901 Hemphill st.
Ft Worth , TX, 76110
Monday - Sunday
08:00 am - 09:00 pm

Consumed Tacos: Fajita/Al Pastor
Preference: Fajita

Out of all the places I've been to during the Fort Worth taco hunt, I would say that La Michoacana has been my favorite venue. Not just the tacos, but the entire Mexican experience. When you walk into a La Michoacana---you become a Mexican.

I must admit, this place scared me a little bit. Not the clientele, but fact this is obviously mexican immigrant "cheap eats."

This place is a grocery store. Just like Krogers, with a deli section to enjoy fried chicken, potato wedges, etc. La Michoacana, however, is 100% mexican grocery, and instead of a deli that serves cold salads, chicken fingers, their deli serves....tacos!

Now I must say that the taqueria inside looks as beaten down you can get. Regardless, the place was bustling with folks already enjoying, or ordering tacos.

Want low-tech? When ordering at La Michoacana, you actually have to go to a check out lane and pay the cashier in advance. She then who gives you a ticket to take to the taqueria for your order---as the taqueria does not have a cash register.

The taqueria does have a "taco bar" that has fresh cilantro, onions, limes, and different sauces. I elected to get my tacos "to go" and eat them on the tail-gate of my pickup in their parking lot. Something about eating tacos on the tail-gate seems very authentic.

The tacos at La Michoacana are VERY inexpensive. $1.19 for "maize" (corn) or $1.39 or "harina" (flour). Of course like any good Mexican, I went with the corn tortilla. This place had an abundance of different types of meats, some of which I never heard of. I elected to order "fajitas", as it is something I know. I then noticed something that looked very tasty, and inquired as to if it is "Al Pastor" (pork). I decided to get one of each.

The fajita meat was OUTSTANDING. It had just enough grease, a few peppers squishing around in the there, and it thoroughly enjoyed the taco. As I was eating it, I started to wonder to myself if I could consume any of these tacos in one bite.

Next, I tried the Al Pastor. I was beginning to enjoy it when I started thinking of how I enjoyed the fajita better and should have just stayed with that. When eating food, it can be dangerous for me to think, as I then started thinking of pork. I was eating a pork taco. No big deal, it tasted good. Then I started thinking about the different cuts of pork. Then I started thinking of how Mexicans are notorious for eating the "whole hog". Then I started thinking about La Michoacana being a meat market, etc., etc., I eventually put the taco down, simply because my mind was playing tricks on me. I will continue to stick with the Fajita tacos upon subsequent visits there.

All in all, I give La Michoacana four VERY strong tacos. While I doubt the food is as quality as other taquerias, it was incredibly tasty, and the atmosphere---oh the atmostphere.

Earnesto’s Taqueria

4050 Hemphill Street
Fort Worth, TX 76110-6256
(817) 921-3147 (Opens at 7:00 am)

Consumed Tacos: Fajita/Chicken
Preference: Chicken

Out of all of the taqueria’s I’ve been to thus far, Earnesto’s is the most fun to say out loud. It’s more fun to say than salsa. Earnesto’s. I sound very Mexican when I say that.

Down the street from Juanito's (also fun to say) Earnesto’s is just as busy as Juanito’s. I arrived at 11:00 am, and there was not a place to park. Granted, the parking lot was small, but I was surprised to see it so busy.

The inside is fairly small (seats maybe 50 people). The folks in front of me were ordering burritos that looked so good I almost broke from my taco hunt, but I stuck with my guns and ordered two fajita and two chicken. The person behind the counter (Earnesto?) said, “Everything, right?” I nodded. Other than “Thank you”, those were the only English words spoken in that restaurant during my visit. This was probably the most “home-stye” taqueria I’ve visited to-date.

What was not home-style was the price. I was taken by surprise that four tacos put me back $7.19. Coupled with the $1.62 bottle of coke, this was easily the most expensive place during the taco hunt.

I also found the taco’s surprisingly small. They stuffed four tacos into a paper platter that should hold no more than three tacos. Consequently, there was quite a bit of “squishing” of the tacos. This is okay, but I prefer to no squish the tacos until I eat them (so they retain their juices).

I made the mistake of asking for additional taco sauce after getting my tacos. Earnesto had already put some taco sauce on my tacos. He looked puzzled when I asked for more, and I soon found out why. WOW! That was some hot shit. I fear what the night will bring.

The chicken tacos were especially tasty. The cilantro was fresh, although it was not chopped as finely as I like it to be. The onions were also cut rather large.
The fajita meat was not tender as I prefer, but it was still very good.

Earnesto’s also serves glass-bottled cokes from Mexico. I’m becoming spoiled on these.

Freebird's World Burrito

4965 Overton Ridge Blvd. Fort Worth, Texas 76132
Phone: 817-294-7241
Sunday-Thursday 11:00 AM-9:00 PM
Friday-Saturday 11:00 AM-9:30 PM
All major credit cards are accepted

Consumed Tacos: Canitas/Steak
Preference: Carnitas (the lesser of two evils)

Although they do not specialize in Tacos, I thought it best to include Freebird’s in the hunt due to their extreme popularity. Frankly, I found this place to be incredibly overrated, and believe that the frequent guests of Freedbird’s dine there because of the atmosphere---it sure ain’t because of the food. Certainly not the tacos at least.

I ordered three tacos: Two flour steak, and one corn carnitas. The meat was horrible, the tortillas were store bought, and what little taste they did have---was bad.

This is a “make it your way” taco place. I prefer a taqueria to serve tacos as THEY see fit.

I attempted to emulate a true taco, opting for only a few peppers, with onions and cilantro. The onions were as thick as the meat, as were the peppers. Thus every bite was over-powered with onion or peppers.
What surprises me, however, is that so many people flock to an establishment like Freebird's where they over-pay for poor tacos, when they can easily hit any of the authentic taquerias around the city. I think the reason is two-fold. 1) Marketing. 2) Many of Freebird's customers could/would not appreciate a real taco.
A little story:
I was in Italy once with an American friend. We were eating at restaurant in Rome. It was his first time to Italy. The waiter brought us our pizza, and my friend made a face. I asked him what was wrong. He said, "Well, I was hoping for some Italian food."
That's my story. Would you like for me to tell it again?

I did not realize tacos could be so bad. A rating of 1 taco is too good for them.

Juanito's Taqueria

4150 Hemphill Street, Fort Worth, TX
(817) 924-3636
Sun-Thu 9am-12pm, Fri-Sat 9am-4am.
All major credit cards are accepted

Consumed Tacos: Barbacoa/Carnitas
Preference: Carnitas

Heading back to Tacoville, I elected to try out Juanito’s, which is directly across the street from El Pollo Palenque. Juanito’s also seems to be the most popular Taqueria at that intersection, as there are a multitude of customers coming and leaving as compared with El Pollo Palenque.

Walking in to Juanito’s impressed me. Not because the d├ęcor is fancy (which it isn’t), but instead reeks of what I believe a Taqueria to be. The atmosphere inside is very akin to a Dairy Queen—plenty of seats, booths along the wall, and an open kitchen. I really wanted to like this place!

The menu, which is written on a board above the kitchen, is in 100% Spanish. All of the meats are laid out in heating pans (similar to Chipotle), and you select the type of Tacos you want. What I found impressive was they chop the meat upon order. Thus if you ordered fajita taco, they cut the fajita strips from the steak.

The service was incredibly poor however. My order-taker was becoming frustrated with me asking about the types of meat (which were all in Spanish). I can’t help it if I don’t want to partake in cow brains or some sort of animal tongue. Mexicans eat some pretty crazy stuff, and I want to know EXACTLY what I’m eating before it goes in my mouth. Additionally, the cashier was more interested in speaking to the customer in front of me about everything other than his order (it was in Spanish so not sure of the subject) but I had to stand and wait five minutes before I could pay---which made my tacos get a little cold.

They sell glass-bottled Cokes (imported from Mexico), which is a very nice treat. Not soda-fountain, not can, but GLASS BOTTLE. These are the authentic, non-twist offs we remember from our child-hood. Nothing goes better with a taco than coke from a glass.

I ordered two barbacoa tacos and two carnitas tacos. What I’m learning about taquerias is that there can be a HUGE difference in taste depending on what meat is selected. I also found out (later) that barbacoa typically consists of parts of the cows head. Perhaps not in Chipotle, but in this authentic taqueria, my best bet is it does. Consequently I will be taking a break from barbacoa, even though it was one of my favorite meats---damn Wikipedia!

The tacos came with a nice amount of cilantro and onions as well as some (optional) peppers, which were terrific! They were not to hot to keep you up all night, but they still had a nice kick to them. Unfortunately I cannot say enough about the meat itself. I never realized meat could simply not have “taste”, but that was the case for the carnitas. Regardless of the amount of salsa I put on it, the blandess of the carnitas really stood out. The barbacao was sub-par, as well. Quite a bit of fat (or at least I hope it was fat), which had me spit out a few bites.

I wanted to like this place. I really did. It has everything I am looking for, except outstanding tacos. I give it three tacos mainly due to its atmosphere and the glass-bottled coke. It will still return, but take my chances with other types of meat and hope for a difference.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fuzzy's Taco Shop

2719 Race Street,Fort Worth. 817-831-TACO.
Sun-Thu 9:15 am-10:00 pm, Fri-Sat 9:15 am-11 pm.
All major credit cards are accepted.

Consumed Tacos: Shredded Beef/Shredded Pork
Preference: Could not tell difference

For many years, I had heard about Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. The heavily marketed restaurant chain is growing in popularity, thus I simply had to include them in the hunt.

The atmosphere inside of Fuzzy’s is alive. The clientele are more along the lines of those who want to eat, drink, and be merry then the beaten down immigrants searching for a taste of home that you find in Tacoville. The chips were average. The salsa was thick and had more of a sweet taste as opposed with a zesty taste.

I ordered two tacos (which were a surprisingly expensive $1.99 each): shredded beef, and shredded pork. Unfortunately, I was unable to tell the difference between them, which speaks to the quality of tacos. Fuzzy’s specializes in “Baja” tacos, which is primarily a fish taco. They unfortunately share the same recipe for all types of meat.

While the tacos were definitely tasty, it is obvious they cater to the Caucasian taste—i.e. these are “white-boy Tacos”. The tacos were filled with small portion of meat, along with an abundance of vegetables and what appeared to be goat cheese.

While the tacos were definitely tasty, their lack of authentication allows prevents them from scoring higher than a two.

I definitely enjoyed Fuzzy’s, and plan on taking my family there soon. I think the kids will enjoy the “Baja” tacos.

El Pollo Palenque

4117 Hemphill St, FW. 817-921-1489.
Sun-Thu 9am-12pm, Fri-Sat 9am-4am.
All major credit cards are accepted

Consumed Tacos: Shredded Beef
Preference: Shredded Beef

In my first adventure within Fort Worth’s Great Taco Hunt, I decided to venture out to “Tacoville” in South Fort Worth. The outside of this building, with its vibrant colors caught my eye.

As I got out of my pick-up, I became a little tentative as I was unsure what “El Pollo Palenque” meant. I knew chicken was involved---but what kind of chicken? To be specific, would I walk in and see chicken heads on the menu? Remember, this is hard-core Tacoville, so all is fair game.

The inside is very bland. It looks like a place where you walk up and order. Two TVs hang from the wall (playing Mexican soap operas), and the menu is hand-painted above the kitchen.

I was one of three customers. Two Mexican families and me.
My waitress brought chips and salsa. The chips were slightly above par. I was appreciative of the fact I could freely poor salt on my chips. The salsa was incredibly good. Salsa. Many people like to say salsa. I like to type salsa. Salsa.

The waitress was somewhat cute. She had dyed dark pink hair. Have you ever seen a Mexican girl with dark-pink hair? She looked to be a hard 22-25 year old. Her attitude was “I wish I were anywhere but here.”

Upon reading the menu I almost panicked as it appeared in 100% Spanish. I’m thinking of calling KLIF and asking them to protest this restaurant as English is the official language of Texas. However, I realized they had a description of each item in English (in small print).

Seeing as this it a “Taco Hunt”, I decided to order tacos. Three tacos, that came with beans and rice. The choices were Beef, Pork, or Shredded Beef. I found it odd they did not have chicken tacos (due to their name) but I did not want chicken tacos anyway (still had the chicken head image in my mind). I elected for the Shredded Beef.

Let’s just say that tacos might have been the best I’ve ever had. They came with cilantro, onions, and a lime on the side (which I’m learning is staple for authentic Taquerias). They were wrapped in two freshly grilled white corn tortillas.

What I liked best about the tacos was how greasy they were. What I liked least about the tacos was how greasy they were. The beans were VERY good, and had a zesty tang to them. The rice was good; however it had green peas in it, which I dislike. Nonetheless, the tacos were simply out of this world and it will be a challenge to find anything to rival them going forward!