Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival: Day 1 (Tacos + Tequila)

Tacos + Tequila, the slightly noisy opening event of the Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival for 2018, was tough with the hard stuff and the light where it should have counted most – the food.

With just seven taco owners sprawling over two floors (plus back) at the pretty BRIK venue, which is in a slowly beautifying block of the freight yard and has seen shotgun houses for better times on the south side of town, the vibe has Dallas distorted more than Funkytown when PYTs shot down tequila shots while frenzied bloggers and food writers searched for good lighting to snap iPhone pictures.

At the sold-out weekend kick-off event, with people swarming around the edge of the building long before early entry, there were a number of tequila vendors trying to smooth the curled feathers over the tedious entry process.

Tequila is nothing, but tacos are. Shame the best taquerias in town weren’t included on the night that had an oddly small group of notable restaurants, from Meso Maya to Wild Salsa to Mariposa’s Latin Kitchen. These aren’t names to flash on when conjuring up “Fort Worth’s Best Tacos,” but rather the inclusion of Salsa Limon, Godley’s Del Norte Tacos, and Taco Heads aimed at boosting the measly eatable. Inexplicably, Almas Paleteria, an ice cream parlor on Seminary Drive, rounded off the field. Alma’s and Meso Maya didn’t offer tacos, however – the former served tortas and the latter chicken mole – so much head scratching began.

While the options were small, there were a few specifics:

Salsa Lime’s tongue and cheek creation hit the right notes.

Best taco: Salsa Limon’s creation “tongue and cheek”, served on double corn tortillas that, oddly enough, looked like a couple of slices of Bologna. No matter: the barbacoa was juicy, even if it put off less adventurous eaters. But eating something “out of the box” (or from a food truck) should happen on the Reg at a food festival. Topped off with a large slice of avocado, grated lettuce, salsa and crema, it hit all the right notes.

Meso Maya’s chicken mole was delicious – if out of place.

Best Not-a-Taco: Meso Maya’s chicken mole, smoky and hot on white rice, was excellent. But what was it doing here?

Best Salsa: Del Nortes Avocado Serrano Sauce. I would travel to Godley every day (if I had a great day) for this heady, creepy hot stuff.

Del Norte’s avocado serrano sauce was creepily hot.

Best Braised Meat / Most Attractive Taco: Wild Salsas Ancho-Chile iteration of braised pork was tender and nuanced and topped with the most beautiful sprigs of coriander you have ever seen.

Wild salsas ancho-chili braised pork was just as attractive and tasty.

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