Edited at https://subtitletools.com - Taco tip #214: When critiquing a taco masterpiece... - Always consider the holy trinity.
Number one: - Are the tortillas fresh?
Number two: - Are los fillings hecho con amor?
- Number three: - And is the salsa spicy?
(Cumbia music) - I'm Jarod Neece.
- I'm Mando Rayo.
- We're taco journalists exploring the iconic tacos of Texas through the eyes of the people who make them.
- We're in Dallas, Texas.
- Big D. - Home of the Dallas Cowboys.
- Birthplace of the frozen margaritas machine, and big hair.
- Don't care.
We're going to visit with Revolver Taco Lounge, Cedars Social and Trompo and get a taste for modern Mexican.
- We're at The Cedars Social in the South side of Dallas.
Where every taco is a work of art.
- My name is Anastacia Quiñones, I'm the executive chef at The Cedars Social in Dallas, Texas.
I think we're creating a buzz right now with the dishes that we're creating because it's something that people haven't really seen.
So for example, we are making flavored masas and that's taking the traditional tortilla and adding a flavor component for example a carrot habanero tortilla with a fried fish taco or a cilantro poblano with a pork belly.
- I'd say, it almost looks too good to eat.
- No, I will eat that.
- It's definitely not.
- That's the difference between traditional street tacos to this whole modern approach.
It's like visually, it's just stunning.
So you definitely want to like, oh I want to taste every little piece of it.
- We start with the flavored tortilla and then a protein.
And then just kind of layers.
So it could something sweet, salty, acidic, crunchy, spicy and that will that's gonna be really hot though.
- It's a habanero.
- Oh okay.
Alright that works.
- That's how I do.
- Okay, alright.
(laughter) - Would this be considered modern Mexican?
- I mean I guess it's modern, it's all typical ingredients its just how you choose your flavor profiles to come together.
Because I was kind of classically French trained-- - And what does that mean, classically trained?
- I went to the CIA New York Hyde Park, and I worked at some of the best restaurants.
I worked at Jarnidiere in San Francisco and kind of worked my way up.
Came back to Dallas and wanted to really embrace the food culture here and there wasn't really a lot of it.
So, I took my background and what I was kind of taught and took traditional Mexican dishes and just elevated it a little bit.
Either added a twist or added a secret ingredient, or a changed the plating up of it.
I mean its a humbling experience to go from making $300 tasting menus to making a $9 entree.
It was very humbling, but I had to-- I knew that it was something that I needed to do to be able to help Mexican food shine in a Tex-Mex region.
(musica folklorica) ♪ Yo tenia mi cascabel con una cinta morada, ♪ ♪ con una cinta morada yo tenia mi cascabel.
♪ ♪ Yo tenia mi cascabel con una cinta morada, ♪ ♪ con una cinta morada yo tenia mi cascabel.
♪ - And now we're at Trompo just outside of Oak Cliff in the West side of Dallas.
- And we're going to continue to explore the new Americano style and see what all the buzz is about.
- My name is Luis Olvera.
I own Trompo out of Dallas, Texas.
(chip crunch) - Trompo is the Regio sty or the Northern Mexican region style of taco al pastor.
I tinkered with my recipe for months.
You know, I didn't let anybody taste it.
I toyed with different toppings and different things and I came to this.
- Yeah and a gringa.
- Una gringa?
- A lot of people may think of some certain stereotypes when they here about Dallas, like what is your Dallas?
- You know, it's eclectic, it's diverse.
Big hair, the oil barons, the Dallas site.
I'm sure it exists, but in my world, it's beautiful.
Our world is so much bigger now.
I have so many more experiences.
I have so much more that I can play with in my kitchen, because people are open to work with each to learn from each other.
You see it over and over again.
And you seeing a lot more younger chefs that are coming together, working together and that is key.
You know, there are so many of us that whether we are classically trained or whether we were trained through the kitchen or through our family, we are able to come together.
And we're able to say, oh this is what I take from my experience, what do you take from your experience?
Lets collab, lets do popups, lets work together, lets do this, lets do that.
So, I think Dallas scene and modern cuisine especially modern Mexican, it goes hand in hand.
- One, two, three, four, five.
It was great to catch up with Luis and see how far he's come from backyard speakeasy to Bon Appetit.
- Where his minimalist style and unmatched attention to detail keeps him at the top of Dallas' taco game.
(mariachi song) ♪ Ay, sandunga.
Sandunga mama por dios.
♪ ♪ Sandunga no seas ingrata mama de mi corazon.
♪ - We're here deep in the heart of Ellum.
- There's breweries, popup shops, people everywhere and Revolver Taco Lounge.
- We're gonna talk to the man behind the octopus taco.
- My name is Regino Rojas from Yurecuaro, Michoacan and I'm proprietario de Revolver Taco Lounge in the fabulous neighborhood of Deep Ellum.
- So Gino thanks for inviting us here to your restaurant.
- No, I didn't invite you guys.
You guys just came, but it's fantastic I love you guys.
(laughter) - So you're specializing in what we're calling modern Mexican, what is modern Mexican to you?
- I don't specialize in modern Mexican.
That doesn't exist.
(bang) What you think is modern is just creative people pairing things with what's already traditional.
A lot of people think that it's a newer, hipper thing to use an octopus but in the coast of Michoacan we make carnitas everything man.
I make my octopus carnitas, the most traditional way and I just simply serve it with a jalapeño salsa and some fried leeks; that's it.
For some people think it's modern, but it's not.
- What does it mean to be recognized by someone like the James Beard Foundation?
- Dude, it's a great thing for me because you know, I'm not a chef.
I am a cocinero tradicional.
- So speaking of where you come from, where did revolver come from?
(cymbals) - Revolver comes from a little kid... (gulps water) A little kid with a dream, to show everybody my culture and my mother because that's my school.
So when I express myself like this and it gets recognized by people, you know that really know about it oh man it gets me nice.
- Because it's great for my culture, for my roots, where I come from.
And if my food may not be the best looking food in the world, maybe it not be fancy looking but it hits you in the heart and that's what is Mexican food.
It's heart and soul of Mexican food.
(Mexican song) - Modern Mexican for me is playing with all the ingredients getting together, balance the flavors, put them all in one plate.
Its just to keep it simple.
- It's part of Mexican modern, it's opening your doors to the outside world.
It's so easy to shut yourself out.
It's so easy to say, well this is authentic, or this is typical or this is traditional.
- If, you know, Japanese and Italians and Greek and all these other cultures can do elevated food their way, why can't we?
We're in a new era where people are just now starting to appreciate it and it's been great.
(glasses clink) (guitar) - Dallas blew me away, after talking to AQ, Luis, and Regino and their approach and cooking style on the modern taco.
- And modern Mexican doesn't have to be fine dining or pretentious, it's all about these chefs using the high quality ingredients, having a strong attention to detail and high standards.
- And it's great to see the chefs get the national recognition and respect that they deserve.
Which makes me proud of my culture.
- Are you ready for the desert?
- I want some more.
- Alright so heres the thing about this taco right here, it's a s'mores taco and it's a legit taco.
- It is a chocolate tortilla, Mexican chocolate tortilla-- - Yeah, abuelita chocolate de abuelita.
You know, you Mexicans out there.
You know what kind of chocolate this is.
- And for all you gringos, Nestle Quick.
- (laughs) No.