All week at City of Ate, we celebrate the magic of the taco. Check back for more interviews, essays and maybe a list or two. Or maybe four?
Ah, breakfast tacos. They look so easy, right? Scrambled eggs are one of the first foods every kid learns to cook, just after he's mastered the ability to toast his own Pop Tarts. Add in tortillas, chopped cilantro and onions, an extra protein or potatoes just for grins -- what could possibly go wrong?
Well, not much. In Dallas, we're blessed with a plethora of decent-to-pretty-good breakfast taco options. But, we at City of Ate believe that life is too short to merely avoid a rumbling stomach during a 10 a.m. meeting. Let's consider that our breakfast foods can rise above an a la carte existence. Let's believe that eggs and meat and cheese and salsa have the power to merge into a delicious symphony and then get wrapped up in a tortilla. Let's cram all of life's goodness into our bleary-eyed, kinda-hungover-and-kinda-just-don't-feel-like-working faces at once.
Let's truly live, dammit.
For me, The Taco Joint in Old East Dallas (along with its sister location in Lakewood) sells representations of the Platonic ideal form of breakfast tacos. Every good breakfast taco ought to strive to be this delicious. If it's your first time, score an MT (migas taco) and feel comforted by the sublime combination of eggs, tortilla strips, chilies, veggies, and cheese. If you're more experienced, you can build your own taco from a list of ingredients. Whatever you order, smother that shit in Jalapeno Ranch. It's savory, it's spicy, and is just about guaranteed to wake you up in that special way that only the most extraordinary condiments can. Say goodbye to your pharmacist, honey -- today, you've got breakfast tacos and there's nothing you can't accomplish.
I couldn't not put Good 2 Go on this list. They wouldn't let me. And when a big-ass breakfast taco like the "Paris, Texas" -- eggs, hangar steak, spinach, and salsa-like-hollandaise -- talks, I listen. Despite their many accolades and widespread popularity, they might be in a strange position of still being underrated. You heard right, I'm saying that Good 2 Go is the breakfast taco equivalent of Phil Collins. Don't take Good 2 Go for granted and celebrate it whenever possible. Also, a quick re-visit of "In the Air Tonight" and you'll be cursing the fools who've only awarded eight measly Grammys to one of the greatest multi-instrumentalists of all time.
I have a very soft place in my heart for Cool & Hot tacos. It helps that it's at the same exit off of 35-E that I take to get to my office. It helps that it's painted in a way that says, "I bought a gas station and let some middle school girls decorate it while I cooked tacos." It helps that they sell kick-ass sno cones. Mostly, it helps that they
allow you encourage you to buy six of them at once and each are delicious. Sure, they're a little smaller than most, but the eggs are always perfect, the chorizo is flavorful, and the green salsa warms even the dankest of cubicle walls.
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No one has ever accused me of being the most observant human being, especially during the hours that usually serve breakfast tacos. When compiling this list, there were two places I definitely wanted to highlight: El Tacaso, on North Westmoreland in Oak Cliff; and whichever taqueria is connected to the Fina station at Harry Hines & Northwest Highway. As it turns out, those are actually two locations of the same badass taco stand. Don't believe me? There's three exclamation points on that sign for a reason, pal. I'll admit that the tortillas are just average, but everything else is made to order -- they don't cook the bacon until you order bacon. And you will order bacon. And then, hey, you might drive south of I-30 and order bacon again. Breakfast tacos won't judge you. Breakfast tacos love you.
Why wasn't this building torn down when the DART came through? Or during the construction of the sprawling condos/Whole Foods/shopping mall behemoth? Because God likes breakfast tacos. And, I assume, because (S)he also digs comically large glasses of horchata. El Rincon does everything right, with fresh tortillas, fantastic green sauce and a short wait time. Tired of tacos? Doubtful, but mix it up and try the chilaquiles anyway.