UPDATE (August 10th, 2012): Apparently there's already a blog based out of Dallas called The Taco Trail, so we've gone ahead and updated the name of the infamous spot in Denton full of taco-y goodness to...(drum roll) The East McKinney Taco Corridor (thanks, Cory Ward!). The East McKinney Taco Corridor (EMTC) might not roll of the tongue quite as well, but it has a certain officialness to it that we loved.
Other names you suggested were The McKinney Mile (@JMiller_13), Taco Way (Shelly Minter), The Real Taco Trail (Gabe Bunch), El Camino de Tacos (Will Jaeger), Taco Terror Highway (Ryan Wilson), Simethicone Valley (Cody Robinson) and Taco Turf (Allison Whaley Kleifgen). Yes, I know we probably should have gone with Taco Terror Highway, but hindsight is 20/20, guys.
Read, hungry people.
Most Texans treat taquerias like bad lawns. We avoid them. We even chastize them. Heck, oftentimes we don’t even notice them. They blend into the scenery like an empty plot of land. Our ignorance of one of our most-precious natural resources is unforgiveable. We should be treating them like flipping bluebonnets; taking pictures of our children inside of them and stopping every so often to sit down beside one and smell it.
Denton has our fair share of local, wonderful taquerias that each have their own specialities and share one thing in common: they’re all severely under-appreciated. More specifically, McKinney Avenue in Denton is the Champs-Élysées of taco shops. Within a half-mile, there are upwards of ten taco and taco-related dining facilities. We have dubbed this area the East McKinney Taco Corridor.
The East McKinney Taco Corridor
We’ve highlighted a bit of what is available down below. And while we highly encourage you to bike/walk/skate down the EMTC and follow our suggestions, we also hope that you take the time to be a bit adventurous. Try something that you can’t pronounce correctly. Dine on some beef tongue. Spend the rest of the day sick. We promise it’s worth it. You might even want to engage in an evening of progressive dining with a group. Make sure to have cash on hand ($10 outta hold out for the whole trail) and, if possible a Spanish-English dictionary. We’ll help you with the rest below:
Start off at arguably one of the best taco shops in town. In the oft-overlooked gas station with a beautiful exterior just beyond the the railroad tracks, you have La Estrella. Inside, you’ll find friendly three or foursome behind the counter that will be happy to help you. The breakfast tacos are delicious and hard to forget, but if it’s evening time and you can’t handle egg after 6pm, the barbacoa is some of the best in town. Grab a few plastic cones of salsa. Yes, plastic cones of salsa. Rip into the plastic salsa container with your teeth and pour the oozing red deliciousness over your delicacy. Don’t take the time to breathe in the aroma. Eat it while it’s hot enough to burn your tongue. You’ve got more tacos to eat.
A short walk down from La Estrella, on the other side of the street, you’ll find Guanajuato’s. Guanajuato’s is another bastion of taco hope that is often left out of the conversation. Go inside, pull out whatever poor Spanglish you have reserved in our brain and communicate to the dude behind the counter that you’d like some agua fresca and a nopales (read: cactus) taco. Take a moment to clean off your shirt and then eat it fast before the homeless guy asks you for cash unintelligibly.
A block or so down from Guanajuato’s, you’ll find the very tiny Veronica’s Cafe. It is runned by two or three Mexican women who are nicer than your grandmother on your Mom’s side. There are some delicious Mexican baked goods to be had here, as well. We recommend the pan dulce. It’s like a Mexican breakfast pastry. Whatever you order, cover it in Veronica’s house-made red salsa. Okay, maybe not the pastries.
The rarely-open Elotes cart on McKinney is worth the stop when you notice they’re open. If you’ve never had elotes before, it’s basically just corn covered in mayo, lime juice and cheese. Oh, and it’s the best thing ever. While we haven’t seen the Elotes cart open in a while, we also have no reason to believe that it is closed. If you know the hours of this cart, please let us know in the comments.
Ah, the eponymous Taco Lady from which The EMTC was named after. The only taco facility run out of the back of a laundromat that I’m aware of. The signage and name are what get passersby in the building. It’s the food that keeps them coming back. While this is arguable the most well known taco facility on our EMTC, it is by no means crowded. We’ve tried most of what The Taco Lady has to offer and have yet to order anything bad. The chicharrón taco is a delicious, if slightly adventurous order that you probably won’t regret. If you’re out of money by the time you reach taco lady, just sit down and enjoy the smell. It’s free and worth a lot more.
Map to The EMTC.
In the next month or so, we'll be back to talk taco-y goodness in the surrounding area (not just on McKinney). So if you have a fave that you want us to know about or a another hard-to-find place that wouldn't mind being patronaged by hungry gringos, let us know in the comments!