Taco Libre returns to salute street food

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El Come Taco

Last summer, Downtown Dallas sizzled on a warm summer afternoon with the first-ever Taco Libre, a celebration of the definitive Mexican street food with about a dozen taquerias from across North Texas showing off their skills with the simple flavor bomb of a taco. This year’s incarnation of Taco Libre — once again curated by our friend (and occasional contributor), the undisputed guru of tacos Jose R. Ralat, gets improved in several ways. First, it’s taking place on April 30, so maybe it won’t be quite so hot out. Second, it expands substantially, rising to nearly two dozen participating taquerias — including Tacodeli and Trompo (both reviewed this week) as well as some of my other personal favorites: El Come Taco (pictured from last year), El Tizoncito, Taco Stop and Urban Taco. There will also be live music and an appearance by luchador Blue Demon Jr. “We’ve added vendors from outside the DFW area, including Austin’s Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ and El Paso’s Tacoholics,” Ralat says. “I couldn’t be more excited.”

— A.W.J.

Taco Libre, Main Street Garden, April 30. $2 tacos. Entry tickets $16, available at Prekindle.com/tacolibre.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 15, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

It’s National Tequila Day — celebrate!

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A la carte tacos at Urban Taco

I take national holidays seriously. I mean, if somebody took the time to put “national” in front of a few words on a particular date, I should honor that effort. And it’s not mine to pick and choose. Do I call my mom on Mother’s Day but ignore my dad a month later? Of course not.

And so, in anticipation of today, July 24, National Tequila Day, I did my required research. Call it my tequatechism.

That research included a trip to Urban Taco on McKinney, to see if this Uptown taqueria was holding strong since I reviewed it nearly three years. And I’m happy to report, it’s strong as ever (and still better than the one at Mockingbird Station).

This drive-by tasting (and sipping) was looking not just at how well the menu worked for busy luncheoners, but whether the tequila selection was worth spending National Tequila Day here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tasting Notes: BreadWinners to replace Cibus, cones of food get Epic

The same day that Lombardi Family Concepts made two big announcements — first, that its NorthPark eatery Cibus would be closing, and second, that its Uptown Italian resto, Taverna, would be moving a few blocks, and now next door to another Lombardi restaurant, Cafe Toulouse — comes word that the BreadWinners will be moving into the old Cibus space.

This is actually a not of news for several Uptown-based restaurants. BreadWinners has been a staple along McKinney Avenue for more than 15 years, especially revered for its brunches and desserts, and Alberto Lombardi has established a fortress of concepts in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood: In addition to Taverna and Toulouse, La Fiorentina and Sangria are within spitting distance; his La Cubanita, which closed more than a year ago, was also in the area.

The NorthPark opening/closing follows the announcement that Seasons 52 will expanding into Dallas from its Legacy locale, taking over the space vacated by McCormick & Schmick’s.

July 24 is National Tequila Day, which in a city like Dallas is kinda big news. Urban Taco in Uptown will be marking the event with featured flights of its tequila menu, and Asador, the restaurant inside the gay-adjacent Renaissance Hotel, will mark its usual “Taco Tuesdays” special with a complimentary tequila tasting, starting at 4:30 p.m.

At the Taste of Dallas this weekend, I tried out a new concept from Southern Breeze, a new bakery and cafe in Keller, that’s offering a pretty cute little true: Pip Pops, pictured. Basically small, ravioli-sized pies mounted on a stick, they are pretty cute and also tasty. Also new at Taste: Epic Cones, a unique way to eat everything from pizza to cold curry chicken salad to apple pie. Even stranger? The new venture is located in the old Club One space.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Urban Taco to open Uptown location

urban.tacoUrban Taco, the Mexico City-style taqueria in Mockingbird Station, is opening a new branch — this one slightly closer to the gayborhood.

The new location will be on McKinney just south of Lemmon and feature a more ambitious look than the smallish taqueria wedged between Rock Fish and whatever.

A three-tiered patio will overlook a water fountating, and an outdoor bar will be made of recycled Skyy vodka bottles. There’ll even be a chef’s table to let diners watch their food being made. And of course the food, which I favorably reviewed three years ago.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones