Lemme tell you, nothing can compare to an authentic mexican taco. I'm talking the real deal. Not that imitation, plasticized, American stuff. I want the tacos straight from Mexico. So, since I live in a Mexico bordering state, I thought I should be privy to a spot that would cater to these specific needs. I did some research and discovered my tacos on industrial boulevard in Dallas, at a ginormous filling station.
Bienvenido a Fuel City Tacos!
I always seem to find solid tacos at watering holes, unsanitary alcoves and eclectic establishments that should be shut down by the Health Department. So, when I heard some of the best tacos Dallas had to offer were in a 24-hour gas station, I knew they had to be stellar. I jumped in my car and headed toward the hood. After passing the jail and an illegal bordello with an adjoining bail bond, I arrived at Fuel City. It is tucked away under interstate 35 and looks like a large log cabin that is overrun by those Emily Post would not approve. Personally, this gas station is one of the most fascinating establishments I have ever seen! It has a taco stand, gas pumps, a beer depot, an inexplicable field of grazing longhorn, a corn kiosk and a swimming pool. Crikey, I'm pretty sure they sponsor their own fútbol team!
I walked in the gas station looking like a hippie on vacation. I had on brown shorts and a tie-dyed shirt with a pair of well-worn sandals. I was also rockin' bohemian-teenage-baby-sitter-hair. It quickly became apparent to me I was wearing the wrong outfit. Regardless, I tried to play it cool. I looked around and noticed Fuel City was exactly like every other convenient store, except it was ten times the size and had ten times the beer. It was window-to-the-wall alcohol with the smell of tacos drifting in the log-style woodwork.
I was standing in the doorway, grinning meekly, when I noticed a cop staring at me. He looked like a Tim Burton character who administered beatings on the regular. Thus, I approached with caution. I made a peace sign and whispered, “Can you tell me where the tacos are?” He smirked and gestured to the back corner.
The taco stand operates independently of the gas station. It is a beef-scented catacomb with a concession stand vibe. The verbiage of the menu is minimal and there are only five lunch/dinner taco options: picadillo, barbacoa, beef, chicken and pastor. I trotted up to the window. “Hola,” the worker said drily. “Yes, I want three beef and three chicken tacos,” I replied in super crappy Spanish. I was hoping an attempted Spanish reply would grant me an extra taco or maybe even a corona. (It didn't.) She simply smiled and handed me the tacos in a white styrofoam container. I bought a Sprite in the convenient store section of Fuel City and shuffled outside.
As I was heading back to my car to gnaw on my passel of tacos, I passed a corn stand. It looked like a popcorn cart circa 19th century and was the color of a Eureka lemon. My curiosity piqued, I ordered a small serving. The worker opened a steam tray of corn and doled out a scoop into a small dixie-sized cup. The corn was topped off with a layer of lemon pepper, butter, sour cream, hot sauce and cheese. Then the process was repeated. An English trifle made with synthetic-fortified starches! I'm down!
I sat in my car and made a spread of tacos and corn.
Tacos: I admire the simpleness of these tacos. Minimal ingredients. Each taco is stuffed with meat, slathered in onion, drizzled with lime and wrapped in a thin sheet of tortillia. Hot sauce is served on the side in two varieties: ruby-red and split pea-green aka hot and mild. Plus, they are about the size of a Polly Pocket.
Sweet gunga galunga!!! These tacos are a terrifically delicious, regional influenced, bossy mexican delicacy. The onion isn't overpowering and the meat is tender with a juicy marinade flavor. The hint of lime provides citrus action while the cilantro balances the dish with an earthy twang. God, these are manna from Mexico, straight up.
Corn: I have always been a fan of corn. I enjoy it in all forms: cobbed, popped, creamed and even processed with vitamins and jostled into a Gerber can. However, if you are going to pair this corn mix with these sacred tacos, it should be topped with better cheese. This is not cheese. It is the dust you find in the bottom of a White Cheddar Cheez-It box. The corn should be blanketed in cheese that has been imported from Italy, made from the milk of a lactating Virgin Mary, blessed by Pope Benedict and flown first-class to Fuel City.
Fuel City will transform your taco eating experience from mundane to pleasure.