Home Carrollton A Taste of Mexico – La Vaquerita Invites You to Eat as...

A Taste of Mexico – La Vaquerita Invites You to Eat as Familia

Photos by Bren Williamson

What’s not from scratch at La Vaquerita? Nothing. Aguas frescas? Brewed today. Chorizo? Cooked today. Lime margaritas? Squeezed today. Bread for tortas? Baked just down the road and delivered today.

On any given morning, Sergio Ruiz, his parents, and three siblings take turns prepping all the ingredients needed to serve Carrollton with their mouth-watering dishes. From appetizers to desserts to beverages, the family has been impressing guests since 2006 – with “leave happy and full” as their mantra.

This month, Sergio and his family have a few new exciting additions to show off. The bar top now lies under a tiled awning, new TVs hang on the walls in the main dining area, and a refreshing taco bar glistens for guests to enjoy.

“We have pickled cabbage, salsas, onions, habanero, and cucumbers in the salsa bar,” Sergio says. “And we do salsas differently, not from another person’s recipe.”

Sergio admits that out of all the salsas La Vaquerita offers, his father’s special salsa – Reynaldo Salsa – named after his father, stands as his all-time favorite. Reynaldo, whom everyone refers to as Rey, roasts specially selected peppers with tomatillos, onions, garlic, and cilantro to create a salsa thicker than most, resulting in legendary flavor.

Although Rey and his wife own La Vaquerita, they often stay behind the scenes to ensure their dishes leave the kitchen perfect. Both of them food prep and cook with decades of kitchen wisdom guiding their hands. Immigrants from central Mexico’s state of Michoacán, they bring the region’s signature dishes like carnitas and birria tacos. Although proud of these and other dishes, they have also incorporated Tex-Mex favorites into their menu as well.

“We love food, I love doing this, I don’t get bored,” Sergio laughs. “We mix [the menu] up. Like our beef tongue tacos are so good!” He explains that they compare to pot roast in texture, but with more spice.

The Ruizes understand, though, that intense heat isn’t for everyone. So they have options that have less spice, but just as much flavor. For example, their pollo a la crema serves as a great start for someone wanting to switch things up. The creamy chipotle chicken has some customers coming back just for it!

Ultimately, what goes into La Vaquerita’s dishes are patience and personal touches. Sergio implores all new hires to try his parents’ dishes to experience the quality for themselves and to know what the expectations are if they take any position in the restaurant – cook or not, because a large part of what makes the food so delicious is the centuries-old techniques of slowly cooking meats in stew and cutting everything right there in the kitchen. I recommend reading the essays in this 1990 edition of The Digest to further understand how traditional Mexican meal prep holds so much wisdom and magic. The prep work can be tedious, but it’s why the dishes hold so much flavor. Sergio himself learned how to butcher right there in the restaurant in its early days so that the pork, chicken, and beef wouldn’t lose any of their natural flavor. The restaurant opens at 10:00 A. M., but Sergio and his family are there as early as 7:00 A. M. cutting, slicing and shredding meats, veggies, and even fruits.

“We have people who come in and say ‘Man I just had this dish in Mexico’,” Sergio laughs. “And I’m like, yeah, we do it the same way here as they do there!”

Throughout the eighteen years of La Vaquerita, all the Ruizes’ hard work and determination haven’t gone unnoticed. The family has stuck together through thick and thin to make improvements and additions to their menu, and most recently to their building.

“In our culture, mommas usually cook, right?” Sergio asks. “Well, momma’s reward is when you eat all your food and you are happy. We are the same. We want you to be happy and full when you leave.”

Experience La Vaquerita’s Authentic and Tex-Mex cuisine at 1124 North Park Street in Carrollton. Their hours are 10:00 A. M. to 10:00 P. M. Monday through Saturday and 10:00 A. M. to 7:30 P. M. on Sunday. Visit their Facebook and website for all updates and their full menu.

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Jessica Liang
Jessica is a military brat who dubbed Carrollton her hometown a decade ago. She likes to write about locals who impact the community in a positive way. In her free time she starts and maybe finishes home improvement projects, sews, and scrapbooks.