Photography by Kathy Tran.

A few years ago, the Food Network called Jesus Carmona and asked if he wanted Tacos Mariachi featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Carmona told producers he would dye his hair Fieri’s iconic bleach-blond spikes to get featured on the show. They told him that wasn’t necessary.

Three days later, the production crew came to Dallas to record Carmona making his famous pulpo tacos.

“Out of the six places, I’m the only taco shop in Dallas to be on the Food Network,” Carmona says. “People started coming in from all over the state.”

Carmona has cooked in Dallas, Miami, New York City and Las Vegas over the past 30 years. Recently, he worked at the resort Las Ventanas in Cabo San Lucas, a resort city on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. He quickly became inspired by the street vendors.

“I decided to sample all of the great food that they offered on the Pacific,” Carmona says. “Being from Mexico City, you don’t have those tacos there.”

Carmona was blown away by the food and came to Dallas to start selling seafood tacos inspired by his travels.

The famous pulpo taco he cooked with Fieri is served on a corn tortilla with grilled marinated octopus, asadero cheese and fresh avocados.

Carmona’s favorite taco from Mexico is the campechano — a flour tortilla taco served with carne asada, grilled octopus, sautéed shrimp, sliced avocado and pico de gallo.

An unusual taco that has become a neighborhood favorite is the smoked salmon taco served on a corn tortilla with asadero cheese, avocado and crema fresca. The surprising side? Fries covered in the traditional Mexican sauce: mole.


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