Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece lived every taco lover’s dream. For six weeks, the two hit up 10 different cities throughout Texas and ate puffy tacos, trompo tacos, carnita tacos, and any other varieties they came across on their trip. Their goal was to find the best tacos in their home state – all of which they documented in their upcoming book, Tacos of Texas. And while other parts of the country boast mouthwatering tacos, Texas was the most natural site for this endeavor. “Tacos are the national food of Texas, so it was an easy choice,” Rayo told me via email. “Plus, it’s our home state. Also, tacos were here before Texas was Texas.”
They just needed to explain the concept of the book to get us hyped, tbh. But they did one better and treated us to some mouthwatering visuals with a trailer that gives a tiny peek into all the deliciousness they encountered on their taco expedition. They’ll eventually release a web series to go along with the book.
The two traveled a total of 7,000 miles between July and August 2015. Despite being taco connoisseurs since at least 2006 – the year they started their TacoJournalism blog – and publishing Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day in 2013, they still had to do a lot of research. So in April 2015, they started gathering information, so they could launch their formal taco investigation in July.
And even though Rayo and Neece lived a pretty blessed life eating their way through Texas, it’s not just the tacos they were after. “As Taco Journalists, we want to introduce people’s stories, traditions and culture, and go beyond a simple food review,” Rayo said. “For us, it’s the stories that make the food so great. We connect with so many people, learned their stories, and their inherent connection to the food. We’re all about showcasing the stories and hard work of abuelitas, tias y tios, moms, dads, brothers and sisters, home cooks, rancheros, and yeah, even some chefs.”
Tacos of Texas will be released on September 20, 2016. Pre-order a copy here.