We're highlighting local and regional bloggers we think you ought to know about. We can’t be everywhere at once, so we look to these passionate eaters, cooks and writers to keep us tapped into every facet of the food world. Consider this a way to get to know a blog’s taste buds, because, well, you should.
Who: José Ralat-Maldonado, of Taco Trail
Luckily, the missus and I lived in Sunset Park, a Brooklyn neighborhood with a large Mexican population and, subsequently, a plethora of regional Mexican restaurants to enjoy. Enjoy we did. Walks to the grocery store included a stop at a sidewalk taco stall for two-dollar goat barbacoa or some cabeza at Matamoros, the rivulets of fat keeping the filling moist and well seasoned. I began to write about these culinary exploits for the alt-weekly newspaper New York Press while the editor of a neuroscience journal.
Then, our son, D, was born. It was time to leave my home for the urban sprawl of Dallas-Fort Worth where the in-laws would a generous provide support network and we’d be able to give D the things he deserved.
I was no stranger to Texas. The missus and I had crisscrossed the state (yes, the whole state) on a couple of pre-offspring visits and the Lone Star State has a lot going for it. Chief among them: breakfast tacos, the glorious egg-and-whatever-else stuffed flour tortillas.
After moving to Dallas, I began writing for the Dallas Observer, the local Village Voice-owned alt-weekly. It’s there that Taco Trail was born as a weekly blog featuring taquerias and covering taco-related news items. It afforded me the opportunity to speak with chefs and restaurateurs native to Mexico and other Mexican food experts, eat at restaurants I hope to never return to and at places I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about (La Nueva Fresh & Hot Tortilleria).
Taco Trail is now independent of any publication and a source of great joy. I go wherever the road takes me: gourmet joints like the unfortunately named Velvet Taco; knockouts like Good 2 Go Taco and Taco Republic; and the grungiest taquerias, including the extraordinary Tacos La Banqueta and the aforementioned La Nueva Tortilleria. If there are restaurant openings, closings or general news, that too gets space on Taco Trail.
Throughout my taco journey, I’ve learned some of the traditions and intricacies of the taco. Most important, though, I’ve learned that specialty establishments pique diners’ curiosity, leading them to explore conventional renditions. That’s as beautiful as a fiery guisado verde. Hopefully, I’ve persuaded others to see what else is out there. Food is as much about eating as it is discovery. And it should be shared.
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