Here Are the Best Texas Tacos of 2016

And what to expect in 2017.

By Leah ScarpelliJanuary 5, 2017 11:52 am,

There’s the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards, the Academy Awards – and now, the Taco Awards. Mando Rayo, co-author of the book “Tacos of Texas” stopped by the Standard to announce his 2016 awardees.

Dallas – Trompo (Trompo taco)


“It’s a low-key taqueria, but it’s winning a lot of hearts in Dallas and beyond. When I went there, when we were doing our book, we did it in his backyard and it was amazing. The trompo is very similar to the al pastor. … It’s to die for.”

Austin – Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ (Real Deal Holyfield breakfast taco)


“It will knock you out…. This is the taco that separates the men from the boys, the queens from the princesses. They do this mesquite slow cooked brisket, then on a freshly made flour tortilla, Miguel Vidal – he’s from San Antonio – adds some beans, potatoes, bacon, and a fried egg.”

El Paso – Tacoholics (Discada style taco)


“Tacoholics in El Paso. Jesse Pena is running that show – he made us a discada. You have a lot of the red meat sausage, jalapeños, all mixed in layers.”

San Antonio – Ray’s Puffy Tacos (Puffy tacos)

Ray's Drive Inn/

“Ray’s Puffy Tacos. It might be that I’m just old-school, very simple, traditional.”

And the best taco out of 2016’s bunch? The Real Deal Holyfield.

“You mix the best of the Tex and the Mex,” Rayo says.

When it comes to predictions for 2017’s taco scene, Rayo uses a little phrase that got thrown around during last year’s election cycle:

“More people are starting taco trucks – they’re doing it obviously in Austin and in Houston, all over the country in Seattle, and Los Angeles,” he says. People are realizing, ‘Yea, taco trucks on every corner sounds pretty amazing.'”

All photos via Facebook.