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Life & Arts

Austin Taco Experts Explore The 'United Tacos Of America'

Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece explore the tacos of America and the stories of the people who make them in their new TV show.
Kurt Volk
Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece explore the tacos of America and the stories of the people who make them in their new TV show.

Austin's "taco journalists" Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece are launching their most ambitious project yet to examine tacos and the culture that surrounds them. The duo has a TV series that premieres tonight on the El Rey Network, a TV station founded by Austin filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. 

United Tacos of America brings viewers to cities across the country to examine the flavors and influences of the traditional Mexican dish.

"For us it's about finding those food traditions that are ending up in different parts of the United States and telling those stories of where that food comes from and who's making them," Rayo says. 

Besides visiting Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ in Austin, their travels take them to places like Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles and Lexington, KY, where they introduce us to tortilleria and taqueria owners Laura and Alberto Ramirez.

"[Alberto] saw the demand and went to Mexico and brought a $15,000 tortilla machine that he didn't know how to use," Neece says. "It's these stories of tenacity and hard work and these people who just like ... they're not taking anyone's job; they're making these jobs." 

United Tacos of America airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the El Rey Network. You can also find it on iTunes and Amazon.

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