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A Trifecta of Taco Temptations

In praise of OKC’s bounty of fast, fresh flavor



 


Genius is seldom appreciated in its own time, especially when it comes to genuine innovation. In a just universe, the visionary who first loaded a tortilla with meat, cheese and vegetables and thereby called the taco into existence would be a household name and universally hailed as a culinary hero. England had its Earl of Sandwich; where is his Mexican-food counterpart, say … El Generalissimo del Taco?
 

Instead, we can’t even be certain how the food came to be: Competing theories place its origin in the 18th century, or the 19th, or the 16th before European contact. The word might be derived from the Spanish verb atacar (to stuff) and have been coined by silver miners who named their portable lunches “tacos” after the small bundles of gunpowder wrapped in paper they used for stubborn excavations. It could come from a Nahuatl word (the language of the Aztecs) meaning “in the middle” and have been used to explain the fish-filled treats locals fed Hernan Cortes when he arrived in North America. Whoever experienced a stroke of brilliance whenever, it was a luscious boon for mankind – and, increasingly, for the OKC metro, because fast, fresh, flavorful tacos are easier than ever to find thanks to restaurants like these three contenders on the dining scene.

 

The Southern Insurgent

Beloved in its native Austin for the last decade, Torchy’s has crossed the Red River and established an Oklahoma beachhead in north Norman. And, judging by the lines, in the hearts of Normanites. We did quite a bit of damage to the menu here, so I can steer you with some confidence toward the Baja Shrimp, the Mr. Orange – if the blackened salmon is a trifle dry, add some more avocado salsa – and the standout fried chicken of the Trailer Park (I presume you’ll do it without needing to be told, but for thoroughness’ sake: Definitely take them up on swapping out the lettuce for queso). And since there are few joys in life like eating tacos for breakfast, practice getting down to Torchy’s to start your days with the Wrangler’s scrambled eggs, potatoes and tender beef brisket.



The Urban Farmhand

A new center of attention on Automobile Alley, Cultivar is dedicated to quality ingredients from excellent, and especially local, sources. The beef is grass-fed, the tortillas are ground in-house from fine Mexican hominy, et cetera. However, that level of care and craftsmanship isn’t exactly inexpensive, and the tacos have a tendency to get soggy quickly. The burrito bowls are delicious and built from the ground up to your exact specifications, but if it’s a peak hour, the line behind you might make you think twice about asking, “Wait, what’s in that container again?” My advice would be (a) try the excellent quesadilla, especially accompanied by their smashed chorizo beans, and (b) whatever you get, throw a margarita in there, too. The bar is pretty great, and the patio fronting Broadway is a fantastic spot for watching the unfortunate passersby who aren’t also drinking margaritas.



The Veteran Crowd-Pleaser

As excited as we are to have these new additions to the landscape, the counter-service taco scene in OKC wouldn’t be what it is without the massive popularity of Big Truck. Recently celebrating its 7th birthday, its menu remains full of favorites such as beer-can chicken or flautas, as well as unexpected pleasures: I tried the Crispy ’Cado mostly on a lark, but its little breaded and fried nuggets of avocado are insanely good. It might have become my new favorite on the spot if not for the surprisingly succulent thin-sliced beef tongue in the Flaming Lips, or the tangy pineapple relish that tops the Fried Shrimp. And they, too, do killer breakfasts. I wish the space were a little bigger, and the parking a little more ample, but those being my primary complaints is a pretty strong recommendation.

 While they’re all definitely worth a try (or several), these three are merely the tip of a tasty iceberg of possibilities; from southside stalwarts like Tacoville to the steals on wheels of Taqueria Mr. Dolar and its food truck brethren. Next time you’re feeling a little peckish, grab a handful of something delicious near you and raise a tortilla to El Generalissimo del Taco … whomever he might have been. 


 

► By the Way

Congratulations to Fuzzy’s Taco Shop for (a) being delicious, especially the tempura fish tacos, and (b) recently opening its third OKC location, which is also its 100th nationwide. That’s a lot of queso.

 

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Calendar

December 2018

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

A pop-up shop village & Christmas tree lot in Midtown, OKC for the Holiday season. Shops rotate weekly!

Cost: Free

Where:
Holiday Pop-Up Shops
399 NW 10th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.514.5205
Contact Name: Cleo Rajon
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

Parents, bring your children dressed in their favorite jammies for this special night designed just for kids! They’ll experience the wonder and true meaning of Christmas as they travel to a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crossings Community Church
14600 N Portland Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73134
View map »


Sponsor: Crossings Community Church
Telephone: 405.302.1238
Contact Name: Mary Thionnet
Website »

More information

Presented By OKC Ballet, with the OKC Philharmonic Tchaikovsky’s familiar score and Artistic Director Robert Mills’ delightful staging of The Nutcracker will fill your heart...

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall-Thelma Gaylord Theater
201 N Walker
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Ballet
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

A pop-up shop village & Christmas tree lot in Midtown, OKC for the Holiday season. Shops rotate weekly!

Cost: Free

Where:
Holiday Pop-Up Shops
399 NW 10th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.514.5205
Contact Name: Cleo Rajon
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

‘Tis the season for cheer. Join us for a very merry Third Thursday event, Victorian Yuletide! Inspired by our special exhibition, Victorian Radicals, we will be decking the halls with...

Cost: $12

Where:
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKCMOA
Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

A pop-up shop village & Christmas tree lot in Midtown, OKC for the Holiday season. Shops rotate weekly!

Cost: Free

Where:
Holiday Pop-Up Shops
399 NW 10th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.514.5205
Contact Name: Cleo Rajon
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

Come enjoy live, local comedy in Oklahoma City's Plaza District. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., and the 2nd Saturday of every month also has a family -friendly show...

Cost: $5 - $15

Where:
OKC Improv
1757 N.W. 16th St.
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Improv
Telephone: 405.456.9858
Contact Name: Kate McLain-Snipes
Website »

More information

Murray & Peter proudly present the annual must-see holiday spectacular with your favorite contestants from RuPaul's Drag Race (VH1).  Hosted by Miz Cracker and Monét X Change...

Where:
Rose State College Hudiburg Chevrolet Center
6000 Prosper
Midwest City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Murray & Peter
Website »

More information

Presented By OKC Ballet, with the OKC Philharmonic Tchaikovsky’s familiar score and Artistic Director Robert Mills’ delightful staging of The Nutcracker will fill your heart...

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall-Thelma Gaylord Theater
201 N Walker
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Ballet
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

A pop-up shop village & Christmas tree lot in Midtown, OKC for the Holiday season. Shops rotate weekly!

Cost: Free

Where:
Holiday Pop-Up Shops
399 NW 10th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.514.5205
Contact Name: Cleo Rajon
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

Brian Nhira, an incredibly gifted vocalist from Tulsa, amazed the nation when he appeared on season 10 of NBC’s Emmy-winning show "The Voice." And for the past two years, Nhira has...

Cost: Tickets starting at $25

Where:
TCC Vantrease PACE
10300 E 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74033
View map »


Sponsor: Brian Nhira Music & Good Life Music & Media Lessons
Telephone: 918.704.8855
Contact Name: Jasper Nhira
Website »

More information

Come enjoy live, local comedy in Oklahoma City's Plaza District. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., and the 2nd Saturday of every month also has a family -friendly show...

Cost: $5 - $15

Where:
OKC Improv
1757 N.W. 16th St.
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Improv
Telephone: 405.456.9858
Contact Name: Kate McLain-Snipes
Website »

More information

Presented By OKC Ballet, with the OKC Philharmonic Tchaikovsky’s familiar score and Artistic Director Robert Mills’ delightful staging of The Nutcracker will fill your heart...

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall-Thelma Gaylord Theater
201 N Walker
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Ballet
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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