Photo: Texas Monthly
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Texas Monthly took a big bite into the state’s taco culture Tuesday, naming its first taco editor, Dallas writer Jose R. Ralat, to the new post.
The 43-year-old Ralat, already a known taco authority via his Taco Trail blog (thetacotrail.com), comes to the job with a decade-long love affair with tacos.
“I’m obsessed,” said Ralat, who the magazine states is the world’s first full-time taco editor. He begins his new role Sept. 18. And like the magazine’s first full-time barbecue editor, Daniel Vaughn, Ralat will travel Texas to seek out the state’s best tacos.
But not just tacos. Ralat said Tuesday he will be writing about all types of Texas Mexican food. With an emphasis, however, on tacos and the immigrant cultures who embrace them.
“We’re lucky to live in a place that was once Mexico. Tacos are in our DNA,” Ralat said. “They are just as much ours as they are Mexico’s or California’s. Tacos are Mexico’s gift to the world.”
Ralat began writing about tacos after moving to Dallas from Brooklyn, N.Y., where he began his writing career. In 2010 he began covering tacos for the Dallas Observer and soon launched his Taco Trail website for which he explored hundreds of taquerias, taco trucks and stalls and Mexican restaurants. He has written for Texas Highways, D Magazine, Eater and Vice’s Munchies site. He has contributed to Texas Monthly for several years, including co-editing the December 2015 cover, “The 120 Tacos You Must Eat Before You Die.”
Like Texas Monthly’s blockbuster list of the Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas, Ralat will edit a similar list for tacos, which will be published in 2020. Like Vaughn’s barbecue brand, Ralat’s taco post could lead to taco programming such as lectures and festivals.
Ralat said the Texas taco culture is as varied as it is expansive. “It’s more than Tex-Mex,” he said. “It’s reflective of all of the populations that have made Texas home, be it Vietnamese or South Asian and to the border Mexicans – anybody and everybody. Texas tacos come from Texans and Texans come from almost everywhere now.”
He said he looks forward to getting to know the Houston taco scene better.
In April the University of Texas Press will publish Ralat’s “American Tacos: A History and Guide,” the first national survey of regional tacos in the U.S.
Ralat lives in Dallas with his wife, son and their two dogs, Beans and Cheese.
Greg Morago writes about food for the Houston Chronicle. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter. Send him news tips at email@example.com. Hear him on our BBQ State of Mind podcast to learn about Houston and Texas barbecue culture.