Food & Drink

Taco brawl 2: Chips and salsa worth fighting for

Mexican Inn’s scratch made chips and salsa.
Mexican Inn’s scratch made chips and salsa. Star-Telegram archives

If you’ve seen the video of the recent taco shop brawl in Dallas -- and let’s face it, who hasn’t -- you may have also heard that the fight started over some chips and salsa.

Well, viral videographer Isael Rojas has since said he was joking about that, and he doesn’t really know what started the melee at Taqueria El Paisano.

But the first thing that came to mind when I read the story was, yeah, I’d fight for that. There are many things I’ve regretted doing at 2 a.m., but fighting over chips and salsa will never be one of them.

And I know I’m not alone.

The fight, which broke out after midnight Saturday at Taqueria El Paisano Mexican Restaurant in Dallas, was captured on video by witnesses.

Here, then, is a list of chips and salsa worth brawling over. And remember, when the chips are running down, I am nacho friend.

1. Mexican Inn Cafe: At the top of my list has to be this place, founded in 1936 in downtown Fort Worth by Tiffin Hall, a legendary gambler who decided to go legit by opening a restaurant. He was definitely the kind of guy you’d want on your side in a barroom or a taco shop brawl.

For 80 years since, Mexican Inn has been masterfully grinding corn daily for their tortillas and chips. Cut length-wise, every salsa-filled chip fits perfectly in your mouth. Couple that with their fresh and smooth salsa, which is so addictive you want to drink it, and the combo is so perfect you want to punch anyone who dares to steal the last bite.

2. La Playa Maya: At one point, on a recent visit to this north Fort Worth newsroom fave, I had to tell the waiter that no matter how much I begged, don’t bring me anymore chips and salsa. (I can be very tough when I need to be.) Their chips are cut into fours and the thickness is just right. Call it the Goldilocks effect: not too thick, not too thin, but just right.

Or thin enough for salsa, strong enough for guacamole.

Their salsa is slightly spicy, giving you every reason to take extra sips of your swirl Mayarita.

3. Chuy’s, the Austin icon that has expanded into DFW, has a few salsas to choose from including a creamy jalapeno. Probably not something you’d find in a traditional Mexican kitchen, but it’s just as addictive as their other salsas. Their chips are on the thinner side so by my math, eating three bowls is the same as eating one from most other restaurants. (In case you couldn’t tell, I’m no math major.)

Their happy hour includes bottomless chips, salsa, beans and queso. No need to shove, it’s bottomless.

4. Fuzzy’s: I’m pretty sure this place is on a DEA watch list. Their chips are seasoned in what they call “fuzzy dust.” All I know is most times (read: every time) my daughter (read: her mother, too) ends up licking the bottom of the chip container. The salsa, sometimes served warm, has a garlicky kick but it isn’t as spicy as the famed “Butt Burnin’ Sauce,” which we’ve been known to drizzle on the chips, too.

And while this is not a queso list, their silky smooth cheese sauce is worth a night in jail.

5. Julio’s: If house arrest is keeping you from your favorite spot, give my favorite pre-packaged salsa a try. Julio’s is so good, it oughtta be a crime. It comes in a few varieties and heat levels; try them all, but be warned that spilling some of the Habenero salsa could burn your finger prints off.

The salsa pairs perfectly with my favorite pre-packaged chips, the big and bodacious surfboards from On the Border.

And speaking of the border, I gotta make a run for it. Chips and salsa for everyone!