College Mex-Mex

Arlington food truck-turned-restaurant churns out Mexican street food with a twist

Arlington food truck-turned-restaurant does Mex street food with twist

Blue Casa
La Blue Casa's "gooey melt" is a twist on authentic Mexican food. Photo courtesy of Blue Casa
Blue Casa
Sopes at La Blue Casa feature the restaurant's house-made sauces. Photo courtesy of Blue Casa
Blue Casa
Blue Casa

A food truck makes the leap to real restaurant when La Blue Casa celebrates its soft opening in Arlington, in the College Park district on the University of Arlington campus.

Co-owner Gabriela Lopez, who launched the La Blue Casa food truck two years ago with her fiance, says they took their inspiration from a famous Mexican artist. It started out as La Casa Azul before they changed its name in March 2014. They've been a regular at food truck parks in Fort Worth and have a circuit of corporate buildings they serve as well.

"The concept is based on the work of Frida Kahlo," she says. "It's colorful and vibrant, and the food is authentic Mexican — no chips and salsa, no Tex-Mex."

Lopez moved here five years ago from Mexico City and was disappointed she could not find good Mexican food. "People are used to Tex-Mex, but when they come to our truck, they say it reminds them of what they ate in Mexico," she says.

She and her fiance launched the food truck as a ramp-up to this restaurant.

"We always wanted to be in restaurant business and start a place together, but nobody would give us a space because we had no experience," she says. "We decided to start a food truck, and it did amazing. We're glad to be able to do something a little fancier now."

Her menu includes dishes such as "Mexican trash," a goulash of rice, chips, black beans, chicken or steak, and tortilla chips; and "street noodles," which are butter-seasoned noodles with chicken or steak. A "gooey melt" is a grilled cheese sandwich fortified with chicken, steak or pork. There are also sopes, stuffed poblano peppers, quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos and even a "Hawaiian" burger on a Hawaiian bun with Swiss cheese and a slice of grilled pineapple.

To clarify, she says that what they're doing is street food.

"Our street noodles are a Mexican spin on the regular noodles you would get anywhere," she says. "The Hawaiian burger, you can find in Mexico City. If you go to Mexico City, you'll find a burger truck with a Hawaiian burger. It's street food."

The foundation of their authenticity is their sauces, which she learned from attending culinary classes in Mexico.

"We have five sauces, poblano, black bean, mole, green tomato and mango habanero, and you add them to anything you get," she says. "We make everything ourselves, you will not find anything like it."