Saturday, May 29, 2010

Los Vaqueros in the Stockyards

There are a lot of good Mexican restaurants in Fort Worth. It's hard to pick the best one, though, because they are all so excellent in different ways. Los Vaqueros at 2629 North Main is on the short list for sure. It is, in my opinion, the best in the Stockyards area.

From Main Street, it looks like an old warehouse.

Even from the parking lot, you might not be too sure about the place.

The restaurant has an odd balance of formality and familiarity. I get the feeling of an honored guest being received in someone's home, but after being seated, I feel like I'm being treated like long, lost family.

We enjoyed our drinks over complimentary chips & salsa. My margarita was excellent. I ordered the special- brisket tacos, and Mrs. Doohickie ordered her favorite- veggie enchiladas.

Although this is clearly a Mexican restaurant, there is an old Texas feel to it. This particular Friday, a three-piece combo was playing. At first I thought it was a mariachi combo, but this evening Texas swing ruled.

They played acoustic guitar, fiddle & bass, wandering from table to table. The table next to us had a young couple, a set of grandparents, and a baby boy. They sang (what else) "Mommas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys." For us, they sang the Bob Wills standard "New San Antonio Rose."

Every restaurant has its downside, and for Los Vaqueros, it's that the food takes a little longer than you think it should. We know this, and when we go there it always seems like we have time to burn. This particular evening we were both dealing with tough weeks at work, and the time spent hanging out, chatting, listening to the music and just people watching, was just what we needed to relax. Then our food arrived.

Mrs. Doohickie is a vegetarian, so she is picky about her veggie enchiladas. The enchiladas at Los Vaqueros are perfect; they are not an afterthought but rather a feast of squash, zucchini, onion, red peppers and mushrooms wrapped in fresh tortillas and topped with a sour cream sauce with a citrus twang.

There is a lot of good stuff on the menu at Los Vaqueros, but lately I tend to opt for the special if it sounds at all good. The brisket tacos were a good move. There were two big tacos with all the fixins, and where most brisket tacos have chopped or shredded meat, these tacos had cubes of brisket about 3/4" on a side, tender chunks of succulent meat (okay, that sounds like an exaggeration, but if it's true, it's true!) The meat was complemented by feta cheese for a great flavor.

One thing I needed to add to this post.... many dinner entrees are under $10, and the most expensive item on the menu is under $15. This place is affordable.

In short, yeah, it takes a while for the food to get there, but trust me, it's worth the wait. And if you are out on a date or socializing with a large group, having to wait a bit for your food isn't necessarily a bad thing.

After dinner we wandered back to our car which was parked at the other end of the Stockyards. To end the post I'll just share a few views on our way back to through the Stockyards.

The back side of the Cowtown Colliseum

The "green room" for the rodeo

"You ready for the rodeo tonight, Henry?" "Yep."

Front view of the Cowtown Colliseum

Looking down Exchange Street toward Main

Stockyards Station... the old pig and sheep pens converted to shops for the tourists. Yes, a train still comes in there; it runs from the Stockyards up to Grapevine


Pondero said... bikes in that post, but I still thought it was great!

I can tell its time I make another trip into town.

Doohickie said...

I first went to Los Vaqueros with work lunches and it became part of our rotation of restaurants. I'm actually surprised that there are so many people in Fort Worth that haven't been there.

twister said...

Old buildings like that reek with history. Sometimes, when walking through old buildings, I think to myself, it's likely right now I'm walking in the same foot path taken by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and some of the Hole in the Wall gang when they were holed up and carousing down in Hells Half Acre. At the end of Exchange and up the hill from the old cattle pens and chutes you can find the old Swiss Packing Plant. I don't necessarily believe in ghosts, but if I did, I think there must be some still there. Bawling cattle, Polish butchers, shouting and cursing and they're all whispering their stories just out of our ears ability to perceive.

PennyCandy said...

Love their food and it was even better because I was there with you.