A Book of Love
You would assume a book titled the Tacos of Texas is about tacos, and it is, but it’s really a book of love; love for family, love for one’s culture, love for one’s traditions, love for the State of Texas and love for the infinitely variable and satisfying taco. 440 pages of love expressed through tacos.
Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece drove over 7,000 miles through Texas in search of ever town and region’s iconic taco. The ate, and documented the best tacos and the people who make them. In every conversation, the love shines through.
Mando was born and raised in El Paso, as he says “with a tortilla in my hand” and is now in “my Golden Age of Cooking Super-Terrific Tacos stage.” Mando was kind enough to spend an hour speaking with me about the book and the taco scene in Texas. His pride in food, family, and culture plus his crazy deep taco knowledge is what struck me the most. The dude knows tacos on every level.
By day he runs a full-service multi-cultural marketing agency, Mando Rayo + Collective and by night he is a “Taco Journalist.” His desert island taco is the taco de pastor.
Jarod was born in Beaumont whose first experience with Mexican food was dipping hot fresh tortillas in a bowl of queso at the Monterrey House. He did a stint working for a Tex-Mex restaurant, Tampicos in Lafayette, Louisiana. His experiences in “South Austin” is where his eyes were opened up to the true glory of the taco at Polvos and La Mexicana.
Their taco love destined to bring them together, and it did, where they teamed up to work on Jarod’s website Taco Journalism which profiles all of the great the taco spots of Austin. Their first book together is Breakast Tacos of Austin.
The Love Shines Through
The authors divided Texas taco country into 10 distinct taco regions: Rio Grande Valley, Laredo, El Paso, Austin, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas – Fort Worth, Midland Odessa, and Abilene. What comes through in every conversation, in every region is love.
Here are a some examples:
I loved the way that her flour tortillas puffed up so toasty and light, and the way that her salsa sitting in her molcajete had a fresh-from-the-garden flavor that floated into the air and enticed your nose… Carmen Talfolla, State Poet Laureate of Texas
In the 29 years I have cooked professionally, I have travelled the globe of foods. But the hold that Mexican food has on my soul wins out every time. I have for many years embraced al alma la cocina Mexicana. Jonathan Jones, El Big Bad
People like that we prepare the ingredients by hand, fresh every day. The corn flour tortillas are prepared by hand as well. We keep things simple. All the ingredients stay very simple – vapor y amor! Elva Porras, Elva’s Taco Casa
One of my fondest memories – and my first introduction to tacos – is my dad being behind the stove cooking chicharrones and Mexican barbacoa. Ricardo Romo, President University of Texas at San Antonio
Our family’s motto has always been to put the needs of other before ours, and so we figured, let’s share with others the Mexican food that makes us so happy! Leo Chavez, Tacoketo
Recipes from the Source
After reading all of the interviews, you will be inspired to eat some tacos and make some tacos. Luckily for you, the book includes 43 recipes from around the state. Like these Guisado Verde Tacos from La Nueva Fresh & Hot in Dallas.
Or these Tacos de chicharron from the Santiago family in El Paso.
More examples of the great taco recipes in the book: Tacos al pastor a la Tuma from Urban Taco in Dallas, South Texas Shrimp Tacos from Maria Teresa G. Pedroche, Beef Suadero Tacos with Chile Pasilla Salsa from Mixtli in San Antonio, Lengua Tacos, Mary Rangel-Gomez, and Eric Gomez in Corpus Christi and Puerco en Salsa Roja from Rebeca Guzman in Laredo.
Buy the Book!
If you love tacos, and of course you do. You must get a copy of the Tacos of Texas. Really! We aren’t making money by promoting it. Our motives are pure. We want to ensure sure that the book has the success it deserves. Just think, if this book is successful then there may be a whole series of books: The Burritos of Texas, The Enchiladas of Texas, The Ultimate Guide to Tex-Mex even The Tacos of Texas Volume #2, #3, #4 and more. Just hoping!
More Tacos of Texas
If you want some more Tacos of Texas you can find it here:
The Tacos of Texas Youtube Channel