Today, we celebrate the victory of Mexican armed forces over the French. The event is usually honored with copious amounts of sour margaritas and bad Tex-Mex food. Take, for example, the Bob Armstrong Queso-eating contest at Mattito's Uptown.
Not all must be sour day-glo beverages and paperweight pabulum in Dallas. There are culinary elements that hew closeer to Mexican cuisine and culture, like the list of tortillerias below.
Luna's Tortilla Factory For more than 80 years, this family business has cranked out what many consider the quintessential Dallas tortilla. Founder Maria Luna began her operation producing 500 tortillas daily. Fernando Luna, the current owner, oversees the creation of 1,500 tortillas hourly, available in red, white and blue corn tortillas as well as flour varieties. Chips, tamales and taco shells round out the menu. Luna's tortillas are served at restaurants across the area, among them Fearing's, Desperados, Monica's Aca y Alla and Maximo. The biggest news, however, is that the Luna family recently did what they should have done long ago: opened a full-service restaurant.
Dallas Tortilla & Tamale Co. This three-unit DFW chain has been serving tortilla lovers since 1950, thanks to Elvira Leal. While the Leal concern may not be as storied as its older rival, it is equally lauded and affordable. Insanely affordable. Thirty corn tortillas set a customer back less than $2. One dozen flour tortillas are $1.50. The menu includes more than just flatbread. There is a spectacular array of tamales, traditional and specialty, from pork to green chicken mole and chocolate to pineapple and coconut. Salsa and an assortment of meats by the pound are also offered.
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Rudy's Tortilla Another family business, Rudy's was opened by the José R. Guerra during World War II as the Texas Tortilla Co. The operation, which gained its current name in 1975, is certified organic and kosher and shells out products from a sprawling complex on three acres. It mainly trades in flour tortillas in varying sizes, but the Guerras also produce whole wheat and blue corn options. More exotic is the spicy paprika tortilla. All of the items come with a suggested use. The 12-inch chimi-style flour tortilla, a hot seller, is best for taco salads.
Gloria's Premium Tortilla Co. On the other side of the metroplex, the Cardona family has been cranking out stone-ground yellow corn tortillas since 1930. Like most tortillerias, this business has other items for sale, including picante sauce, tamales and chips. The eponymous Gloria, however, is credited with sending the Arlington-based company to the big leagues. Gloria's all-natural products are available at retail businesses like Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmers Market.
Lopez Foods Tortillas A newcomer to the tortilla scene, Armando Lopez opened his factory in 1993. The production is high-tech and large-scale, but that doesn't mean Lopez cuts corners. Ingredients are sourced from carefully selected purveyors. While tortillas are made here, the specialty is paper-thin, snappy white corn tortilla chips. The chips are also available in hand-cut and multicolor, including green. Lopez and company offer flavored chips, like chipotle. Six-inch yellow corn torillas in packs of 72 are reasonably priced at $22.