So if I may, I officially welcome you to Chef Hollister’s Taco Street! (balloons everywhere, people cheering!)
Street Taco: Tortilla, Filling, Salsa
Nixtimal dough, or “masa,” is made from the time consuming process of simmering field corn in slacked lime and water for hours. Once the corn is ready, the painstaking process of removing the gelatinous skins from the kernel takes place. The cooked corn would be ground on an elongated stone grinder called a “metates,” while today corn is ground through a grain mill, once or multiple times to desired consistency. The masa, from there, is rolled into medium dough balls and pressed in a tortilla press. The tortillas are then cooked on a hot cast iron skillet or “comal”. The hot tortilla then becomes the vessel for our beloved taco.
Fillings, for a taco, can be any variety of grilled, smoked, fried or sautéed meats and fresh or grilled vegetables. Garnishes can vary from more traditionally simple toppings, being onions and cilantro, to curtido-which is a latin slaw made of lime juice, cabbage and oregano. Salsas can be made from tomato bases, tomatillos, and avocados, to chiles such as jalapenos, guajillos, pequins, serranos, habanero and chilies spicer than the mind could even begin to imagine.
I have a love for food-especially tacos, I chose a career that could allow me to make as many tacos as I could possibly eat.
On this 2nd round of Taqueria tastings, I’m joined by my friend and fellow foodie Cara, who is in town for all the turkey day festivities. Cara and I share a mutual addiction to tacos, so who better to join me! Our goal was to visit as many taquerias as possible in one day until we had to waive the proverbial white flag or burst with gluttonous enjoyment, I think we hit the latter…
Our first stop-Taqueria San Louis. San Louis is located at 2705 NE 28th St, in north Ft. Worth. When pulling up, the first thing noticed was that this taco joint is open until 4am. This intrigued me, why? You’ve got to be slinging some pretty good food to stay open that late, and actually have the late night business to support it.San Louis is a quaint spot, seating about 40 people I’m guessing, the ambiance is very festive with vibrant orange walls and Latin tidbits scattered about, we especially enjoyed the large TACO sign on the wall near the front door. The kitchen is an open air kitchen (visible to the public), which as a chef, I appreciate. Open air kitchens scream, “Nothing to hide here, we are a clean kitchen!”
We take our seat at one the small tables in the dining room, and very quickly our waitress has a basket of corn tortilla chips and two different salsas (red & green) in front of us, and menus. The menu has several options from tacos and tortas, to several plate options. We came for the tacos though! I ordered a single Pastor taco, while my companion orders a single Carne Asada. I think the waitress asked several times if it was just one each. Street tacos are typically small in size, and these were no exception. The tacos came out on two 4” yellow corn tortillas with the cilantro and white onion placed on the side in a mini molcajete (basalt stone bowl used as a mortar and pestle). The tortillas were griddled on a flat top grill and lightly steamed to ensure tenderness. The Asada is cooked to a medium/medium well temperature and lightly seasoned.