I have to begin by defending Tex-Mex a little bit. A snappy headline such as, “Tex-Mex Is Dead. Long Live Mex-Mex,” is effective and eye-catching. It does exactly what a feature story should do: grip the reader. It’s what we titled our cover story in the print version of the March issue of D Magazine.
I worry the headline could be misconstrued as throwing shade, as the youth might say (okay, probably, I know little of what the youth are saying), to the beloved Tex-Mex cuisine. Historically, geographically, culturally—Tex-Mex is Mexican cuisine. And, no, it is not dead. Give us a little creative license here and turn the page.
What we set out to do with our Guide to Mexican Food in Dallas, which is online today, is honor the chefs who are going back their roots. They’ve spent time researching all the iterations of masa. In an industry that can grind you down, these chefs have listened to their own hearts: they honor tradition and do it in a way only they can.
That’s tough. And so, so special. We wanted to highlight their efforts.
Olivia Lopez of Molino Oloyo is making culinary art with handmade masa from indigenous corn. She joins others like Regino Rojas, whose restaurants Purepecha, La Resistencia, and Revolver Taco Lounge are founded upon hand-crafted corn tortillas. Chef de cuisine Tony Ibarra, formerly of Petra and the Beast, is perfecting his masa magic at La Mina in The Village. Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman, too, has long pushed the traditional boundaries of tortillas and Mexican cuisine in Dallas at José.
Dallas, landlocked as it is, has seafood spots aplenty. But there’s something to be said about the specific seafood styles from Mexican states such as Baja, Sinaloa, and Jalisco. Jesus Carmona (Tacos Mariachi, Milagro) has long been a champion of the former. He recently told me, “Coming from Mexico City, the only thing you eat is carne asada or tacos al pastor.” But he was “blown away” by what he found in Baja, like mahi mahi birria tacos. It’s how he decided to stand out in a crowd of Dallas taquerias doing barbacoa.
Meanwhile at Taquero, Fino Rodriguez was following the teachings of his grandmother, who taught him how to make ceviche in the style of San Luis Potosí.
And don’t get me started on Diana Zamora, whose passion for pastry is unmatched. Her Nena’s Postreria, named for her mother, is a virtual bakeshop that just started popping up inside El Come Taco—technically around the back, and there’s cafecito, too (swoon)!
These are the stories that matter and I hope you spend time with them as you delve into our March cover story, which you can read right here.