Houston is the first city in America to recognize World Taco Day on Wednesday, March 31. The annual celebration takes place across Mexico every year but is only now coming to the States.
Credit for this development goes to Arnaldo Richards, chef-owner of Picos restaurant in Upper Kirby. After the Mexican restaurant received threats and insults for continuing to enforce a mask policy and other COVID protocols, Richards contacted Mayor Sylvester Turner about recognizing the contributions of the city’s Mexican restaurants.
"I am thrilled to proclaim Wednesday, March 31, as World Taco Day in the City of Houston and congratulate executive chef Arnaldo Richards for raising awareness about the cultural and culinary history of tacos,” Turner said in a statement. “I encourage everyone to celebrate by eating their favorite authentic Mexican food. And remember to support the local individuals and businesses that work hard to put tacos on your plate."
Of course, Houstonians take an expansive view of tacos. While some Mexican restaurants are participating, a few others are putting their own spin on the dish in honor of the occasion.
As befits the restaurant that initiated the event, Picos will celebrate World Taco Day with four days of festivities. Beginning Wednesday, the restaurant will serve 30 different tacos from across Mexico including al pastor, barbacoa Hidalguenese (lamb), barbacoa de res (beef), lengua (beef tongue barbacoa style), cochinita pibil (pork), and Tacon Puerto Vallarta (smoked tuna and shrimp).
On Saturday, April 3 the restaurant will host the Bazar de Tacos, an outdoor festival with music, pastor grills, aguas frescas, a churro station, cocktails, and lots of tacos; the event takes places from 10 am-4 pm and all items are priced a la carte.
The Mexican restaurant in Finn Hall will add two specials for World Taco Day: a chicharrón taco with crispy pork belly and tomatillo-cucumber pico on an Olotillo Blanco tortilla and a zanahoria taco made with confit heirloom carrots, roasted cauliflower, pepita salsa, and queso fresco on a Conico azul tortilla. Open 10 am - 2 pm.
Chef Emmanuel Chavez’s buzzy tortilleria’s World Taco Day special consists of at home taco kit that comes with two pounds of carnitas, a 6-ounce jar of salsa verde, a dozen heirloom corn tortillas, guacamole, onions, and cilantro. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to order for pickup in Montrose on Wednesday.
Montrose’s newest taqueria will offer birria tacos as well as $3 margaritas from 5-10 pm.
The Barking Pig
Chef-owner Kristen Powell will offer $3 street tacos, $5 “fun tacos” such as al pastor, Crunchy Chicken, and barbecue, and $5 frozen margaritas at her popular patio bar.
City Cellars HTX
The Museum District wine bar will extend its regular Taco Tuesday promotion to include World Taco Day. That means $3 street-style tacos or $6 flights of three tacos.
Briargrove’s favorite destination for neon blue margaritas will serve al pastor street tacos for $1 each on Wednesday.
A cook in the kitchen has created a World Taco Day special that will run all week: a carnitas crepe with guacamole and chili arbol salsa. The restaurant will also offer its breakfast taco crepe (egg, potato, onions, peppers, and salsa).
This self service wine bar in the East End will offer three street-style tacos — fried avocado, chicken fajitas, and beef fajitas — along with sides such as chips and queso, rice and beans, street corn, and salsas. In addition, patrons have the option of three wines made by female winemakers that will pair well with the tacos.