When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out — and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: The Taco and Dilla Parlor
Location: 1339 East Northern Avenue
Open: About two weeks
Eats: Tacos, quesadillas
Here's some good news for fans of Tim and Kim Cobb's Luncha Libre food truck: They've gone brick-and-mortar. That's right, a place now exists where you can find Luncha Libre tacos and Mexican-fusion quesadillas prepared in a kitchen, served at a counter, and with the option to enjoy them at a table in blissfully cool air conditioning.
This place is called The Taco and Dilla Parlor and it's open from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.
The small space makes a big impact. There are two tall tables with seats for about three or four people at each and a handful of extra chairs inside and out front (presumably for customers waiting to take food to go). A bright yellow back wall and large paintings of lucha libre fighters provide some character.
The menu, which hangs on the wall behind the counter, includes the selection of six quesadillas with which Luncha Libre fans will already be familiar. There are relatively straight-forward options such as the Carne Asada, which features carne asada, pico de gallo, and jack cheese, and the Chicken Dilla, made with marinated chicken breast, pico de gallo, and jack cheese — then there are interesting creations such as Steak and Bleu, which features carne asada, bleu cheese, pico de gallo, and more jack cheese.
The most unique option may be the All Thai'd Up, a fully-loaded quesadilla stuffed with moist, citrus-marinated chicken breast, serranos, and grilled onions. The whole thing is dressed in a sweet Thai chile sauce that makes for a messy meal, but with the melted jack cheese it's a winning combination.
The Parlor also serves up a small selection of tacos, which on the day we visited included lengua, carnitas, pollo asado, and carne arrachera. Diners can order a single taco for $3.50, two for $7, or three for $9.50. All quesadillas can also be ordered as a taco, but can only be made in a serving of three.
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We opted for a sampler of three different tacos, the best of which was the lengua. The well-sized taco featured some of the best lengua we've ever tried, along with slices of avocado, salsa verde, cilantro, spring onion and Fresno chiles. We also pollo asado taco, made with chicken, cilantro, and onion, and the carnitas. The last taco showcased tender, slow cooked carnitas pork with salsa verde, spring onion, and cilantro.
You can also bet The Parlor serves the mason jar aguas frescas that have become a signature on the Lunch Libre trucks. For $4, diners get a full quart of house made teas or juices in flavors such as honey lemon tea and strawberry lemon lime. You can either keep the jar (because, let's be honest, you can never have enough mason jars) or bring it back next time for a $1 discount.
The menu at The Parlor will change and won't always feature the same specials that are offered on the two Luncha Libre trucks. For updates on the truck schedules and daily specials, visit the Luncha Libre website and Facebook.