I'll go ahead and acknowledge that my grasshopper taco-eating experience is limited. I've enjoyed the delicacy a handful of times at Oyamel, a Mexican restaurant D.C., but that's it. Still, I feel safe in the declaration that the tacos de chapulines available at East Dallas' El Come Taco right now are undoubtedly good, as evidenced by how quickly they jumped off my plate.
I stopped in last night to try the special item. Owner Luis Villalva told me the grasshoppers come in dried, and he boils them in water and garlic before toasting them on a comal with plenty of salt and pequin chile. Villalva cooks with a light hand, leaving the insects slightly soft, retaining a light, almost musty taste in addition to the nutty, salty and spicy flavors expected. They're really good. And they're not the only special he's running at his little pink taqueria.
My experience with escamoles, or ant eggs, is even more limited: I'd never eaten them before last night. And I can't say that a quick Google image search for the delicacy invigorated my enthusiasm to try them. But what arrived at my table at El Come looked innocuous, akin to well toasted Rice Krispies on a dollop of guacamole.
What do they taste like? I hate to overuse the nutty description, but it was definitely prominent, this time more like peanut butter than the roasted nuts you get at a baseball game. One of Villalva's cooks said he tasted a hint of foie gras, and I definitely noted a mild livery flavor, but for now I'll have to say that escamoles taste like escamoles, and the only way to understand is to try them for yourself.
Villalva said he's got four pounds of the bugs, and when they're gone, they're gone. If you want a shot at trying them your best bet is to get over there as soon as possible. If you're on the fence, I'll say this: As I waited for my own plate of entomological tortilla treats, I watched a table of four tear into what looked like their first plate of tacos de chapulines. They smiled, laughed out loud and nodded their heads in approval as they ate. If these tacos are anything, they're entertaining, and you just might find them delicious.
Note, they're more expensive than your typical tacos. The grasshoppers are $5.50 and the ant eggs are $8.
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