Dear Taco Charlton,
Welcome to Texas! First, we’d like to say that we’re excited to see what happens when you suit up with the Cowboys this year. When the Cowboys snapped you up in the first round of this year’s draft, fans swooned. A rangy defensive end who posted ten sacks with the University of Michigan? That sounds like the recipe to spice things up quite a bit on the Cowboys’ D-line. Speaking of spicing things up, we noticed your nickname is Taco!
That moniker has already given you quite the reputation around these parts. You even landed an early endorsement deal with Texas fast food chain Taco Bueno! It’s a match made in taco heaven.
And it seems like you agree. You told the Dallas Morning News that you wanted to be a “taco connoisseur,” and that you “ended up in the perfect place” for your name. We couldn’t be happier for you. To be honest, we’re not sure about the tacos you’ve come to know and love in your home state of Ohio, or even Michigan, for that matter. But we can tell you this—you’re at the cusp of an exciting opportunity to learn more about the glory of the Texas variety of taco. Certainly, Taco Bueno can serve up a fine taco. But you’re a competitor. You want the best. And it just so happens that we’ve done our homework.
To start, let’s take a look at our “120 Tacos You Must Eat Before You Die” from December 2015. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where you’ll undoubtedly be enjoying many meals, multiple locations of Urban Taco offer up an al pastor that might just be the best in the region. The combination of pulled pork, pineapple, and avocado may not appear on many drive-thru menus, but trust us, it’s delicious. If crispy tacos are more your thing, Gonzalez Restaurant in Oak Cliff ditches pre-packaged shells favored by chains for freshly fried tortillas crisped to perfection (with lean ground beef to keep your trainers happy). But why not live it up, first-round draft pick? Grab yourself an oyster taco at either the Dallas or Fort Worth locations of Velvet Taco when it rotates onto the local chain’s WTF (Weekly Taco Feature) menu. It’s $5 per taco, but you’re worth it.
The Cowboys won’t play the Texans in Houston during the regular season, but, as is becoming tradition, the two teams will meet in the final preseason game of the year. That’ll give you a chance to visit fine taquerias in another part of the state. We’d suggest skipping the original Ninfa’s and the flagship El Tiempo locations and instead pop into Villa Arcos on game day morning to enjoy the chicharrón taco, which joins fried pork skin and scrambled eggs in a flour tortilla. For lunch, Picos’s Chilorio taco boasts flavors from Mexico’s interior—slow-simmered pork shoulder, pulled and then fried, simmered in orange juice, cumin, and garlic, and served with pico and avocado. After the game, stop in at Jonathan’s the Rub and treat yourself with an $18-per-plate serving of the lobster tacos.
You haven’t been in Texas long, but as a taco enthusiast whose name indicates an affinity for the delectable single-dish meal, you’re in for a treat. When you signed your endorsement deal, you issued a statement noting that “Texas is THE PLACE for tacos,” which is a fact. To that end, we’d advise you to stay strong during the long stretch of training camp that’ll land you and the rest of the Cowboys in Oxnard, California. There, they will sell you things called tacos, and you will probably eat them. But worry not—when camp breaks, you’ll be back in Texas, and back to the home of the best tacos this country has to offer. We couldn’t be more excited for you.
Your friends at Texas Monthly