My taco post about El Si Hay earned me some shit. A few commenters said those tacos are trash. They called me a gringo. Get yourself to El Tizoncito, one said. Another agreed. Next thing you know, I'm sitting in a silver minivan with another Ater, teetering down Interstate 35 on my way to Oak Cliff.
El Tizoncito is not what we expected. Good tacos come from dilapidated shacks capped in corrugated metal, right? This place fronted a big strip mall and was freshly painted in orange and black -- and what the hell are those cute pieces of charcoal doing on the sign?
It didn't look like one of Dallas' better taco restaurants. It looked like a chain restaurant. It's not. Leo Spencer may have opened a second location on Forest Lane near Webb Chapel Road, but El Tizoncito is still small potatoes. It also has a pretty decent choriqueso.
"Looks good," said Lauren Drewes Daniels, who sat at my side holding a white can of Coke with a straw. I interjected that it looked like it might taste good, but lacked a certain aesthetic and pulled hard from a bottle of Pacifico. "Yeah, looks like cat puke," corrected Daniels, and then we tore into it anyway.
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The thick, oily, cheese mixture was rich and nearly homogenous. I liked it better with a little of the salsa the waitress dropped off along with a free cup of black bean soup.
The tacos? Chicken, steak and pork versions contain dry but flavorful meat cut into an almost impossibly small dice. As with the choriqueso, I liked these better with some salsa. The pastor tacos, though, cut from a giant meatsicle twirling like a porcine barbershop pole up front, were fatty, rich and moist. The kitchen marinates slices of pork and stacks them on a giant vertical spit by hand. It's time-consuming, but it's worth it. I wish they'd come on better corn tortillas.
You can get the pastor as alambres, a stir-fry of sorts served on three store-bought flour tortillas, but go easy on the cheese -- the pig doesn't need it.
I ordered another Pacifico to wash my gluttony down and instantly lamented my decision. Behind the bar a waitress stirred a michelada in a large glass mug as it filled from an inverted bottle of Modelo. A slick little move, but I'd had enough beer. Enough tacos too. And Daniels had some gremlins to retrieve.