Say ‘hola’ to good food

As a Californian, I couldn’t help but be confused by Tex-Mex. Gone were the bean and cheese burritos from corner shops, the spice and tang of real carne asada and the refried beans topped with crumbly cotija cheese. But I soon learned to love queso, and now I embrace both the traditional and the Texan.

So here’s my rundown of the best of the best. Agree, or agree to disagree, but either way, eat some guac in my honor.

Tex Mex

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(Courtesy of urbanspoon.com)

For To-Die-For Queso
Chuy’s. Yes, it’s a chain. But that doesn’t damper the fun cantina vibe of this Knox Street favorite. The queso is the perfect balance of cheesy and spicy. Go during Happy Hour and enjoy not only bottomless queso, but all-you-can-eat bean dip, salsa, chips and ground beef. And what could top bottomless queso?

For a Walkable Dinner

There’s a reason you’ll always see someone you know in Bandito’s. Their food is standard, good tex-mex, but the atmosphere is fun and lively and the proximity to dorms makes it a must for first- and second-years.

For Breakfast Tacos

Torchy’s breakfast tacos have a cult following. Some mornings you just need a giant taco, not just a flimsy corn tortilla with a bit of eggs. Torchy’s delivers, with thick flour tortillas, crunchy bacon and big portion sizes. Add one of their famous mimosas and you’re good to go.

Real Mex

For True Authenticity
El Tizoncito on Lemmon Avenue has horchata, aguas frescas and tamarind margaritas– even their drinks are traditional Mexican. Famous for their Tacos al Pastor, featuring pork infused with pineapple and peppers and then slow-roasted, flautas, enchiladas and more, the taqueria is loved by Dallasites who crave the flavor and spice of Mexican classics.

For A Classy Night Out
Mr Mesero in Uptown has a gorgeous Latin vibe with flickering candles, soft cloth napkins and the smell of grilling vegetables and savory chicken wafting through the dining room and outdoor patio. It’s the perfect place for a date night, as the prices aren’t too high but the food is delicious from the smoky pulled chicken in enchiladas topped with flavorful tomatillo sauce to the juiciest steak around. Plus, they serve mole sauce, a hearty tangy chocolate-based (yes, really) salsa that is as authentic as it gets.

For The Best Taco Shop Around
What defines Tex-Mex? To me, it’s a milder flavor. A fresher quality. Tex-Mex is perfect for the average taco craving, but sometimes you just have to have the flavorful, orange-cheesy, re-re-refried beans of a little family-owned taco shop and you just can’t get that at Mi Cocina. If you’ve ever tasted a truly amazing carne asada burrito–sorry, no not Chipotle, I’m talking the California kind, with the orange cheese and the French fries and creamy guacamole–you must make the trek to San Diego Taco Shop. Yes, it’s almost 25 minutes away near Irving, but when you’re driving back, warm floury burrito in one hand and a bottled Coke in the other, you won’t mind at all.

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