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2 Yankees in search of really great mexican and tex-mex--plano area

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We'll be visiting from Boston this weekend for a wedding, and was hoping for a few recommendations for really good mexican, tex-mex and taco stands. Or if there are any other cuisines that are unique to texas or the south, we'd be up for that too! This is my first trip to texas, so I don't quite know what to ask for. We'll be staying in plano and in corinth, but should have access to a car, so we're able and willing to travel for great eats. Also, if you could please include best dishes to order from your recommendations that would be fanastic. Thanks for your help!

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  1. In Denton La Mexicana is a reasonably good easy to get to general Taco and seafood place http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/13/886205.... There are better but not a close drive with seating. Taco Lady in Denton is also good, but not really all that "user" friendly.

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    La Mexicana
    619 S Locust St, Denton, TX 76201

    1. If you were visiting me (I live in Plano) I'd probably drive down to El Ranchito so we could get things like mollejas and cabrito. The other place I've taken people is Nuevo Leon in Farmer's Branch. I don't think too much of tex mex or Mexican stuff in Plano, there's decent stuff (Chito's) but nothing I'd really want to bring an out of towner to. A nicer place on Henderson is Cafe San Miguel, if you're into that.

      If you're foodies, another thing you can do for lunch is swing by the Dallas Farmer's market and get some BBQ brisket from Pecan Lodge, I haven't had a chance to try it yet but everybody seems to like it.

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      El Ranchito
      610 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208

      Cafe San Miguel
      1907 N Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX 75206

      2 Replies
      1. re: luniz

        The bbq at Pecan Lodge is really good. I was with air today and he procured a few pounds for home. Curious what his verdict is on the cue.

        1. re: luniz

          Excellent over rubbed, over sauced and cryovac'd bbq!

        2. we're also down with street food and trucks...seating is not required, just really banging food!

          1. Check hours before you drive all over the place. Some might be closed on odd days or only be open during daytime and may be cash only. Since you're comfortable with dives, from my experience:

            El Fuego in Richardson. -Chicharron, lunch specials (open daytime only I think), homemade corn tortillas.
            Casa Milagro across the street. (Tex-Mex). -Chile Rellenos (brisket, puerco)

            El Torito in Plano -Go to lunch here frequently and enjoy most of the menu. Dive.

            Fuel City (of I35 in downtown Dallas) - Picadillo (beef+potato) tacos, gas station, no seating.

            Gonzalez in Oak Cliff (south of downtown Dallas). Thick homemade flour tortillas. If you go ask for salsa fresca with your chips.
            Tortas Las Tortugas - pork Tortas.
            Taqueria El Si Hay a few blocks north across the street from Bolsa. Al Pastor tacos, no seating. There may be a Elotes (corn) vendor next to the shack.

            Local chains you may want to avoid (or not): Chuy's, El Fenix, Ojeda's, Luna de Noche, Mi Cocina, Pappasito's, Blue Goose, Cantina Laredo, Desperados, Taco Diner. These places are usually pleasant and nice but I go for food and there are better values elsewhere.

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            Bolsa
            614 W Davis St, Dallas, TX

            El Fuego
            1891 N Plano Rd, Richardson, TX 75081

            Chuy's
            3408 N Central Expy, Plano, TX 75074

            Taco Diner
            7201 Bishop Rd Ste E4, Plano, TX 75024

            Casa Milagro
            1403 E Campbell Rd Ste 110, Richardson, TX 75081

            3 Replies
            1. re: amokscience

              I totally agree with all the above!

              1. re: amokscience

                thats fantastic! keep 'em coming. Anything we HAVE to eat while in texas? What about bbq?

                1. re: Wannabfoode

                  Here's one you wont find in Boston. Hattie's on Bishop in the Bishop Art's area in Oak Cliff. Lovely restaurant serving really good "low country" Southern cooking. Have the shrimp 'n grits with their incredible tabasco sauce. And, the best Caesar salad this side of California.

                  Another excellent restaurant in the Bishop's Art's area is Bolsa on Davis Street. It's another "must try" that you won't find in Boston.

                  And by the same owners of Bolsa, Smoke. In the Belmont Hotel on Ft. Worth Avenue in Oak Cliff. A different spin on BBQ. Have their eponymous, "Big Rib".
                  Most all the food is locally sourced and everything is made from scratch.
                  I highly recommend all the above. And, you're sure to love Oak Cliff. The best, "not so well kept" secret in Dallas. Happy eating.

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                  Bolsa
                  614 W Davis St, Dallas, TX

              2. Go to Chuy's it awesome. There are 2 locations in Plano.

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                Chuy's
                3408 N Central Expy, Plano, TX 75074

                1. Another place to go to while you are in Corinth would be Babe's chicken house in Sanger. While it's not necessarily the best of bread, it's an experience to go to the Sanger location on the old town square. The food is good and the experience is worth it. http://www.babeschicken.com/Babes-Chi...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: irodguy

                    Ditto Babe's! Any of their locations.

                  2. Great suggestions. However, I disagree with the tip to avoid El Fenix.

                    El Fenix is VERY STRONG and you can easily find quite a few locations. It's a local "chain" and I've never had a bad experience. For my money, they have the best chips and salsa and enchilada's which are ALL CORNERSTONES of GREAT TEX-MEX!

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                    El Fenix Restaurants
                    6391 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76116

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: JethroSpanks

                      I'd much rather go to El Fenix than Chuy's given a choice.

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                      Chuy's
                      3408 N Central Expy, Plano, TX 75074

                      El Fenix Restaurants
                      6391 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76116

                      1. re: twinwillow

                        I agree, El Fenix over Chuy's.

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                        Chuy's
                        3408 N Central Expy, Plano, TX 75074

                        El Fenix Restaurants
                        6391 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76116

                        1. re: twinwillow

                          There I go again. Agreeing with Twinwillow. Is this some new parallel universe??

                      2. sorry I can't agree about El Fenix, last time I ate in one it was dirty, old , and tired. All the chuy's are new and fun . El Fenix is just old and funky.

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                        El Fenix Restaurants
                        6391 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76116

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Analisas mom

                          I don't really care all that much for either Chuy's or El Fenix but would certainly pick El Fenix over Chuy's if I just had to choose one over the other. In fact we use to eat at El Fenix after Mass on Sundays and just got out of the habit somewhere down the line.

                          I am surprised no one has mentioned Aparicios in Plano, one of those restaurants that a lot of people like but I do not. I have only eaten maybe three times there but was disappointed with each visit.

                          Although it has been awhile since I have made it there, I have to second the rec for Nuevo Leon in Farmer's Branch, I have had several really good meals there.

                          I drive down Jefferson in Oak Cliff now and again with my job but have never stopped to eat at any of the places along there so I guess I really owe it to myself to do so.

                          San Miguel Grill up in McKinney is good Tex-Mex and has the sort of decor that reminds me of the Tex-Mex places my family use to eat in when I was growing up. Family owned and operated, I have stopped in there a couple of times now while driving back in from Greenville and enjoyed both times. I just forget about it but my wife keeps reminding me that I have promised her a visit since she has never been there. See http://sanmiguelgrillmex.com/index.ph...

                          Rob

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                          San Miguel Grill
                          506 W University Dr, McKinney, TX 75069

                        2. Although I've not been to either, both of the following Tex-Mex restaurants have had excellent reviews for very good food and ambiance. Cafe San Miguel on Henderson Avenue and, Manny's Uptown on Oak Grove between east and west Lemmon just "below" McKinney Avenue.
                          They've both been on my "must do" list.

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                          Cafe San Miguel
                          1907 N Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX 75206

                          1. I'll throw yet, another one into the pot. El Rincon Tapatio on W. Jefferson in Oak Cliff. Comfortable seating, delicious food and excellent, warm and friendly service.
                            My "taco gang" had lunch here Saturday and really enjoyed it. Except for one of our gang, we were the only "gringos" there.
                            Not just tacos, either. Lots of delicious guisados and enchilada plates available. Along with a taco of your choice, rice and beans from $5.75-$7.75.
                            We're definitely returning.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: twinwillow

                              Jose is a great guy.

                              1. re: DallasDude

                                Heh, heh, 'Dude. There are no secrets in this town. Btw, he (and others) speak highly of you, too.

                            2. A dish you probably can't get in Boston is a good chicken fried steak. I live in Houston so I'll defer to the local DFW hounds for suggestions. Some may disagree, but I prefer my cream gravy on the side.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: James Cristinian

                                Well I am glad that you brought this up James because that gives me an excuse to give a rec to Love & War in Texas. Really good chicken fried steaks plus good Texas music most weekends.

                                At their Plano location there is still one more Shiner Sunday scheduled for this month (Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers w/James Hyland of South Austin Jug Band $15 ) and of course along with that a chance to drink some of our great Shiner Bock beer which I am sure is not available in Boston :-)

                                Rob

                              2. What places did you wind up trying? How were they?