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Vegan Girl Does Taco Ocho

by Melissa Brenner    

There’s been a lot of taco talk around town lately. Considering that Dallas has a great selection of amazing tacos (some of which I have had the pleasure of tasting personally), the chatter is warranted. This week I’m going to switch it up and talk about something other than tacos. No, the something other is not dogs even though I’m an expert in that arena, too.

What’s the best place to go when you don’t want to eat a taco? A taco joint, of course! Our man Steven Doyle posted about his experience with Taco Ocho upon their opening. Since then I’ve had some friends hit the spot and convey their agreement with Mr. Doyle’s experience. I finally found the time to skip over to Richardson to see if the flavor enjoyment translated to their vegan offerings.    

I knew going in that Taco Ocho featured eight vegetarian tostadas. I assumed that removing the cheese on each would be the only minor tweak necessary to qualify them as vegan. For most of the tostadas that was true, for a few others it meant removing the sauce as well; a minor alteration that did not affect the dish much. You may choose any three tostadas for a pocketbook saving price of $6.95! Now to choose.

My choices were the Caribbean, Sonoran and España and ate them in that order (this is important, but you’ll find out why later). I am almost always unable to resist dishes that include plantains and black beans. Not only are they delicious together, but they take me back to my childhood. *Sigh* The Caribbean is a combination of Ocho rice, baked plantains, refried black beans and shredded lettuce (sans crema agria). This should have been my third choice, as it is as yummy as a dessert should be. The tostada is not overly sweet; the sweetness comes from the perfectly ripe plantains.

The Sonoran’s ingredient list just forces you to order: tender cactus, grilled jicama, red onion, pickled jalapeños, tomatoes and lime & cilantro vinaigrette (sans queso fresco). Admittedly, I’m a sucker for anything hot, but this tostada was more than spice. The texture of the cactus and jicama made for a higher level experience than you would expect from a taco joint.

Finishing with the España was ill advised. There is certainly nothing wrong with this tostada comprised of shredded spinach, garbanzo beans, tomatoes and orange dressing (sans queso fresco), but the mild flavors were overwhelmed by the two tostadas that proceeded. Absolutely light and refreshing, just not the thing to have post jalapeño.

All three are a definite positive recommendation.

The next three on my list to try: Latina, Puebla and Mexicana. Want to know what’s in them? Head over to Taco Ocho and check it out.


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