Have you stopped into El Come Taco since it opened late last year? The taquería run by Luis Villalva and his family had been turning out an increasingly interesting menu since opening its doors to the public on Fitzhugh Avenue.
Tripas tacos made from the small intestines of young calves are commonplace at Dallas' taquerías, but examples you actually want to eat are much more rare. Most are gamey, sometimes sludgy and often off-putting but Villalva's are crisp and clean. Clean enough to persuade me to try the sesos tacos, which are made from calves' brains.
Sesos are not commonplace in Dallas, likely because they're expensive and also because there are not a lot of resident brain fanatics. But the taco zombies that do exist praise sesos for its rich consistency and mild flavor. They have texture that is once custardy and crumbly, like the softest sweetbreads you have ever eaten.
There other interesting tacos in the works at El Come, too.
Back when Stephan Pyles was preparing to open Stampede 66, he joked that he might have chapulines (grasshopper) tacos on his hyper-Texan menu but they never came to pass. Pyles scoffed that nobody would eat them, and considering his polished customers, he's probably right. Villalva, on the other hand, caters to more adventurous eaters. His is a perfect menu to be augmented by critters.
I caught a glimpse of this picture on José Ralat Maldonado's Instagram feed and gave Villalva a phone call. "You have chapulines on the menu now?" I asked him. "No!" He shot back quickly, but when I pointed out the Instagram photo he admitted he's trying them out. He says in a few months they could be a permanent fixture on the menu.
If you get to try them you'll enjoy a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture that is guaranteed to make you smile. Just be sure to check for grasshopper legs when you're done. They tend to get stuck in your teeth.
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