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Tex-Mex in Austin's far Southwest side, Part 1 of 1

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saticoy May 6, 2007 08:07 PM

This is the first in a one-part series documenting my mission to find authentic Tex-Mex taquerías, taco stands, panaderías, and take-out counters in Austin’s relatively new and antiseptic SW developments. No, the nuevo Nuevo Leon doesn't count. BUT, finally, a place that looked inviting opened up in a strip mall on William Cannon west of Brodie, called La Familia.

The place has a menu and a look/feel similar to Arandas and Tapatia - I lived right around the corner when Tapatia opened up their Wm. Cannon/Burleson location, and thrilled to their cheap, good food. So, I was almost fluttery when we made our first trip for breakfast, but alas, the two trips we made were all in all, very disappointing.

To focus on the positives: the stewed chicken they use in their tacos and enchiladas was very good - clear herbal flavors, savory and moist...delicious, even. Their salsa looks weak - it is the blended kind, but proved to have an almost perfect (for that kind of salsa) blend of garlic and onion and tomato and heat and cilantro flavors - nice, not mind-blowing. The refried beans were flavorful and had chunks in them - I like that. Oh, they are really, really nice there. Really nice.

I'm going to make this part quick - corn tortillas: hard, store bought, cold, cracking, nasty; flour tortillas: decent enough; bistek: bad beef, unflavored with even salt; al pastor: fatty, with that awful red overlay of what is supposed to be al pastor flavor; lengua: soft...too soft, and devoid of any flavor whatsoever; picadillo: bad beef with almost no added flavor (although for a second I did enjoy sort of a sneaky behind the palate understanding that a small piece of onion had been involved somehow); caldo de res: decent broth, waaaaaaay mushy veggies except the hard as pellets corn cobbette, that same bad beef. Breakfast... the migas were fine, but unexceptional, and the tacos...well...the same.

Sigh....tominaustin, I feel your far southwest woe. MPH, does anything on your chowdar register for this kind of stuff without a 35 minute commute? Anyone else....something secret? There HAS to be a taco truck (and no, Porfirios doesn't count) out here... Maudie's is starting to look enticing!

  1. MPH May 7, 2007 05:01 PM

    Hi saticoy,

    I can sympathize with your dilemma. I'm not in southwest Austin, but I live in similarly chow-deprived parts and have to drive every time I want something delicious. There is some hope, however. El Pollo Regio has a location at 730 W. Stassney Lane (at South 1st), and La Michoacana Meat Market has a branch just down the road at 512 W. Stassney Lane.

    Another chowhound, johnm, recently posted about taco trucks in the parking lots of the HEB at Oltorf and S. Congress and of the Shop 'n' Save convenience store between St. Elmo and Stassney (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/39427... ). I should acknowledge that I haven't personally tried the chow from either of these trucks.

    The next-closest options would be on Oltorf: Habeñero Mexican Cafe, which is west of I-35, and various options east of the highway. Burleson and East Riverside offer many good choices (also east of I-35).

    I hope this helps!

    Best,
    MPH

    1. Honey Bee May 7, 2007 06:37 AM

      I feel your pain. Saturday morning I saw a taco trailer on 290 just before the Y in Oak Hill (a little past the Austin Shoe Hospital). There was a line of Mexican families....a good sign. I already forgot the name, but will post when I get the chance to try it.

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