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Feb 16, 2008 06:50 AM

Taco Question - DFW

I have a question for all the Dallas foodies is there a similar recipe floating about in the Dallas market for fried/puffed taco? I believe there are about 3 or 4 places that have a similar fried taco (i.e Tupinambas, Desperados, Escondidos, and I believe El Fenix (puffed taco)). Can anyone say where this verison of this taco originated from....give some historical light to the dish?

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  1. I think Bobby Flay spotlighted a place in San Antonio. I don't recall all the details but I thought perhaps it originated there. Here's a link to an article about the show.

    1. The first time I had a fluffy taco, I didn't know anything about them ahead of time, just saw them on the menu and ordered in hope and expectation that they'd be similar to the street vendor Tijuana tacos of my childhood. Those were 8 inch corn tortillas that were folded in the traditional way, then deep fried so they puffed up literally like puff pastry. Fabulous!

      Today's "puffy tacos," whether in San Antonio, Dallas, or Houston, are simply very fresh corn tortillas that puff into a "ball" when floated in deep fat and fried on both sides until crisp, then topped with the traditional taco fillings. Some places poke a hole in the top so the puffy tortilla serves as a cup, others just treat it like a 3-D tostada. Even though the Trevino family of Los Barios restaurant in San Antonio is credited with "originating" the puffy taco, I don't believe it for one minute. It's just something that happens naturally with any really fresh corn tortilla if you don't hold it in the folded position for the first several seconds of frying.

      Meanwhile, I'm still looking for the puffy tacos of my childhood! Don't know whether they really were beef, or dog or cat or whatever, but they were absolutely the very best tacos I have ever had in my life! Three for a dime. I'm working on time travel.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Caroline1

        Trevinos? I thought Henry's Puffy Taco in San Antonio was the original puffy taco. The San Antonio baseball team's mascot is named Henry the Puffy Taco. That puffy taco is amazing though. What I've noticed even in San Antonio is that no two puffy taco's are the same. My favorite puffy tacos are from the street vendors.

        1. re: philsgr8

          Don't know about Henry's, but Diana Trevino is certainly the most active at promoting them as "hers." Not just on Bobby Flay's "Throwdown," but I've seen her on a couple of network morning shows promoting them over the years.

          Now... These street vendors... Where, and are they folded????

          1. re: Caroline1

            If you're back in San Antonio, a good time to catch them is on First Friday in the King William district, or at any event during Fiesta.

      2. I can't speak for San Antonio, but in Dallas the original Ojeda's on Maple was the first resto with the puffed taco and put Ojeda's on the Tex Mex map.

        At about the same time and in the same area, Herrera's was turning out handmade flour tortillas in a place that wasn't much bigger than a hut. At least among the gringo restos, they were the first with the flour tortillas.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Scagnetti

          And there was a place over near Oak Lawn I think that was owned by the same people who own Mario & Alberto's, etc. It's long closed, but their tacos were completely puffed and then crunched in at the top and sort of stuffed with the fillings.

          Anyone else remember Cafe Cancun on Lomo Alto near the old Strictly Tabu? We used to go there once a week. They would give you a little plate of jicama sprinkled with chile and lime when you sat down. I miss that restaurant quite a bit. El Chico bought it in the mid-80s and it didn't last too long after that.

          1. re: dalaimama

            The place on Oak Lawn was Chiquita and was owned by Mario Leal.

            I vaguely remember Cafe Cancum.

            1. re: Scagnetti

              Thank you! I grew up going there, but it's been quite a while ;>

        2. I'll bet this originated multiple times, considering its simplicity. fried dough with stuff in it. The navajos, for example, definitely have a "puffy taco."