The number of taquerias in Dallas that serve their taco fillings on handmade tortillas is limited. Most employ the standard working man's tortilla, an honest round pressed from masa that's reheated on a hot grill. These tortillas are dependable and get the job done, but their texture is lacking. They're tough, a little rubbery, and they sit in your stomach like corn-flavored lead.
So when you encounter a tortilla that was freshly griddled in the same kitchen where your cabeza was cooked down from a cow's head, your spirits should be lifted. Handmade tortillas, like the ones made at Taqueria Latina, are soft and tender. They have ragged edges that bloom like tiny petals, and they're giving and supple when you pick them up.
Freshly made tortillas also tend to accompany impressive taco fillings. To go through the work of mixing, pressing and cooking masa, only to fill it with ground beef that recalls Chili's, is like building a custom hot rod and then painting it with a rattle can. It's just not a thing that gear heads or taqueros do.
Taqueria Latina offers cabeza made from the head, cheek and shoulder of the cow. They offer pastor that's not cooked on a trompo, but it is cooked carefully to order so the meat crisps up a touch at the edges. They offer tripe that is so clean you won't know you're dining on sweet meats and campechano: a mix of beef and chorizo with some serious kick.
If the sweet lady with a chef's jacket that's white as fresh crema forgets, you should ask her for the salsas. They're red and green just like at most taquerias, but here they are thicker, and the green one tastes fresh and more vegetal than you're used too.
Just drive up Skillman and look to your left as you come up on Abrams Avenue. Not that the place is that easy to miss: they've got not one but three flashing "Open" signs. And don't skip the sweet and custardy corn pudding that looks like a dejected muffin. Maybe get one for the road, too.
Taqueria Latina 6412 Skillman St, (214) 553-5100
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.