While many of Ana Liz Pulido’s fellow culinary-school graduates went on to plate fancy food at fancy restaurants, she opted to return home to Mission and open a taqueria. Two years later she was nominated for the category of Best Chef in Texas by the James Beard Foundation, and in April, she was nominated once again. Pulido, whose father, Armando, owned taquerias in Reynosa, serves baskets of hot tostadas (made from corn nixtamalized onsite) with six perfectly balanced salsas. Her costillas de elote (“corn ribs”) feature roasted corn slathered with red chile oil, and her vampiros (sort of a cross between a taco and a quesadilla) are blue corn tortillas griddled with a thick layer of cheese and the topping of your choice (we love the nopal, an entire roasted pad, topped with guacamole and pico de gallo, that hangs past the edges of the tortilla). Even the creamy-textured frijoles charros—often an afterthought—rank among the best we have ever had.