The price of tortillas is on the rise in Mexico, nearing twenty pesos (approximately $1) per kilogram in some parts of the country—nearly double last year’s going rate. Skyrocketing corn prices are to blame: according to MarketWatch, the cost of corn has risen by 30 percent so far this year. Corn tortillas are just one part of a system built on corn, and Mexico gets 96 percent of its corn from the U.S. Corn is in almost all processed food products. Soybeans and wheat have also reached their highest prices since 2013.
The ramifications are considerable, not just for tacos but for consumers in general. Ed Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA, a trading, currency data, and analytics solutions firm, told USA Today that Americans may soon notice higher prices. “Corn, wheat, soybeans and even lumber prices are surging higher, and that should spell trouble in the coming months for the U.S. consumer,” Moya said.
Rusty Taco is the latest quick-service taco chain to announce that it’s opening a location in San Antonio. Rusty Taco is special. For several years, I worked across from the original location on Dallas’s Greenville Avenue near Southern Methodist University. I watched the business begin as a renovated gas station in 2010. The flagship store was one of my regular breakfast taco spots, and its bacon was perfectly cooked. In 2013, when I learned that Rusty had been fighting cancer for the last few years, I ran down to the restaurant. Rusty was sitting at the bar with his wife, Denise, and he spoke openly about his cancer battle. Rusty Taco was his attempt to provide for his wife and children after his death. He was careful to craft a brand that was family-friendly and leveraged his extensive restaurant industry experience (Rusty was a cofounder of Uncle Julio’s Mexican Restaurants) to franchise the brand and eventually sell it to a larger company.
My review of El Perrito, an El Paso–style food truck in Austin, ruffled some feathers in the Sun City—specifically, my opinion that the Austin food truck’s taquitos ahogados are better than the original at Chico’s Tacos. Veronica Gonzalez at radio station KLAQ defended the beloved restaurant and its classic rolled tacos, as did Patricia L. Garcia at KTSM. “Chico’s Tacos is not just a food institution in El Paso, it is pride in El Paso,” she wrote.
Mariano’s Arlington location relocated last week—just in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the frozen margarita machine on May 11. The Arlington restaurant will be closed that day, which happens to be a Tuesday, but the Mariano’s locations in Dallas, Colleyville, and Frisco will be welcoming customers.
D Magazine rounds up its picks for the top thirteen paleta shops and Mexican bakeries in the Dallas area. Selections include Oak Cliff neighborhood favorites Tia Dora’s, Vera’s Bakery, Maroches Bakery, and Encanto Pops. The latter is this writer’s favorite frozen popsicle vendor.
If you can’t make it out, our own Courtney Bond can help you make a frozen margarita at home.
The Cherokee Family Motorcycle Club hosted its first taco contest in the East Texas town of Jacksonville. Judges included Jacksonville mayor Randy Gorham. Motorcycle club president Robert Dye told the Tyler Morning Telegraph that the group “wanted to do something new, or a little different from most cook-offs, like chili, beans, barbecue, etc. … I’ve never heard of a taco cook-off before and thought it could be great.” He expects to make it an annual event that takes place near Cinco de Mayo.
Mother’s Day taco deals are overtaking social media. Here’s a good one: Los Primos in Houston is offering a whopper of a deal. Bring your mama and the whole family eats gratis.
Truly Texas Mexican author and documentarian Adan Medrano visited the renovated farmer’s market on Airline Drive in Houston and was dismayed at what he encountered. According to his May 3 Instagram post, the open design of the roof results in vendors getting drenched during storms. “They and their wares get drenched when it rains,” Medrano wrote. “Awful because the roof design features four large openings running its entire length.”
Tacos make for very popular trends. Earlier this year, a South Texas candy shop had a runaway hit with its TikTok-influenced mango tamales. The latest craze comes from the Cake Pop Shop Michigan in Burton, Michigan, where cheesecake tacos are taking off. Co-owners Jack and Alexandra Wines told MLive.com that their shop sells about twenty dozen dessert tacos daily.
Mayans actor Richard Cabral first tasted coffee during a stint in the Los Angeles County jail. He loved it, though in retrospect he admits it was swill. His first cup set Cabral on an unexpected path to cofounding a coffee roastery, along with friend Mike de la Rocha. The pair partnered with Mexico-based producer-grower Carlos Avendano to form Tepito Coffee. The company is notable for centering Latino identity, sourcing all its beans from Latin America, and focusing on Latino customers as its key demographic.
In what L.A. Taco is calling evidence that Los Angeles is “healing” from the pandemic, hundreds of lowriders gathered near Dodgers Stadium for a classic cruise and hop.
Cinco de Mayo has come and gone, but Corona, the beer company responsible for turning the minor commemoration of a battle into an alcohol-and-salsa-soaked American holiday, has donated $1 million to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in an effort to support the struggling hospitality industry.
When I was a kid the only thing I remember liking from Taco Bell was the Mexican pizza, an assembly of crisped tortillas sandwiched like a flat quesadilla filled with refried beans and ground beef, and finished with toppings of salsa, chopped tomatoes, and grated cheese. When I returned to Taco Bell last fall for a story on fast-food tacos, it was gone. I still wish I could’ve tried one last Mexican pizza before the dish fell victim to Taco Bell’s great menu redesign of 2020. I might have an opportunity of sorts with Del Taco’s version, the open-faced Crunchtada. The marketing campaign for the Crunchtada includes a “culinary support hotline” for fans of the fallen iconic dish (and there are plenty of mourners). The number is 877-3-GHOSTED and is open through May 13. Calling it will get you a buy-one-get-one Crunchtada promo code redeemable through May 20. The catch is that the offer is only good via digital platforms.
Del Taco is just one of the latest restaurants to leverage Taco Bell nostalgia. Our barbecue editor wrote about CM Smokehouse’s brisket crunchwrap using Flores Tortillas. This week, Los Angeles’ Guerrilla Tacos released its version of Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap, Doritos Tacos Loco, and other menu items. Proceeds benefited Save the Children, a nonprofit serving children separated from their families in immigrant detention centers.
Taco Bell moved on to its latest marketing campaign by naming a lunar phase the Taco Moon, as an excuse to give away crunchy tacos via digital platforms. It’s inspired by the mid-cycle half-circle moon, officially called the waning crescent. The Taco Moon appeared on May 4. Nikki Lawson, Taco Bell’s global chief brand officer, told Adweek that the transnational chain is “using the world’s biggest billboard—the moon—as a storyteller.”
Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 in Mexico City sounds more fun than it is in the United States. Lucha libre wrestlers, musicians, dancers, and free yoga classes are on offer at some vaccination sites there. It’s part of an effort to ease seniors’ fears about the vaccines and make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.