Luis Olvera is bored by the typical Dallas brunch. “It has to involve bacon. It has to involve eggs. It has to involve waffles or pancakes. Brunch just doesn’t speak to my upbringing,” says the owner of Trompo taqueria in the city’s Bishop Arts District. “Brunch is just leftovers, scrambled eggs for a lot of places.”
The Dallas native and first-generation Mexican American’s restaurant specializes in the northern cousin to Mexico City’s taco al pastor, the taco de trompo, but on Sundays it serves an all-you-can-eat buffet of a different taco variety. It’s a brunch that isn’t a brunch, featuring a spread of customizable tacos de guisados—the freewheeling, stew-based tacos eaten in Mexico mainly for breakfast but often into the lunch hour as well. Typical fillings include chorizo and potatoes, barbacoa, moles, chile rellenos, nopales with eggs, picadillo, and on and on. They’re really quite glorious. Consider them the OG breakfast tacos. They’re similar to what travelers to large Mexican cities—whether Monterrey or Mexico City—might find to eat after stumbling out of their Airbnbs or hotels in the morning, or what a Mexican office worker might grab before clocking in. They’re homey, fortifying, and familiar. “Every time I go to Mexico, which thankfully is quite often, and I wake up and I’m hungry, I can go to any corner or a lot of different places and have what I grew up eating,” Olvera says.
The morning I visited Trompo, Olvera had laid out a table with the Aztec Sun Stone print throw rugs he uses as tablecloths for special events. The house-made corn tortillas sit in a woven basket. They’re thin and, despite appearances, are smooth rather than textured. Use two when assembling tacos, and make no more than two tacos at a time. It’s the guisado way.
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Several cazuelas—earthenware bowls—lined the back of the table, on stands. Inside the first four vessels were guisados. At the far left, perfectly diced potatoes, shadowed on the corners from searing, mixed with fine spheres of dark red chorizo. Next to that were creamy refried beans with cooling spots evident from crusting at the surface. They’re better as an adhesive agent rather than a solo player, although with a sprinkle of queso fresco, there are few dishes more comforting than a bean and cheese taco. Picadillo—ground beef studded with potatoes and carrots—filled the adjacent bowl. Spoon picadillo over refried beans to prevent the meat preparation’s juices from coating everything.
But my favorite guisado was the bistec con papas en salsa verde: gnarly chunks of beef intermixed with unevenly chopped potatoes coated in a tomatillo-based salsa that retains the seeds. It was tart and chewy but not tough. The potatoes had just enough give, and the entire mixture was seasoned so well there was no need for additional salsa.
Supplement the meal with a bowl of aromatic and steaming pozole, a cup of coffee, and orange juice—but do so quickly. Trompo’s brunch buffet of guisados is short, running just 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. “I don’t want guisados sitting out more than two hours,” Olvera says. “Everything I make is fresh. Everything is made Sunday morning. Anything what’s left over, I give it away. There is no repackaging or refrigerating.” And there isn’t an egg in sight.