El Chilito = Darned Good Tacos
I finally made it to El Chilito for lunch yestersday - it took an article in American Way (American Airlines' in-flight magazine) to remind me that I needed to make the trek.
Anyway, I was the only guy there in dress pants and dress shirt - a mix of local construction, students and neighborhood moms seemed to be the majority of the clientele. I ordered three tacos: a puffy taco with picadillo filling, a cochinita pibil taco on homemade flour tortilla and a carne guisada taco, also on the flour tortilla. All three tacos were good to great: The cochinita pibil (braised pork with a slightly sweet flavor) was excellent - I have never had this before and was very close to chewing off my own fingers in pursuit of the last bite. No need for salsa on this taco as the flavor balance was perfect for me. The puffy taco was also quite good. The beef picadillo was a bit bland, but was easily remedied with a dose of their smoky salsa. Finally the carne guisada. I'm no expert, but i think they gave me carne ASADA, or this was the driest guisada I've ever seen!! It was OK but, perhaps because I was envisioning guisada, I was disappointed. The flavor was not enough for me - I would have preferred a bit more "punch" to it.
Overall I thought this was a great trek (as I have to drive across town to get there), and I will definitely be back to try other items from the menu...
I went there for the first time this past sunday afternoon. My tacos were pretty good (although not of the hole-in-the wall mexican abuelita variety, the tortillas are good enough, and they positively stuff them with the fillings). My one real complaint was the rice. I decided to "make it a meal" by paying $1.50+tax extra for a side of rice and beans. First of all, the rice is of the "white rice with herbs" variety; not the orange colored/tomato-and-chile-powder stuff you get at most tex-mex places, which was fine by me. But it was molded in the shape of the large serving spoon that had been used to schlep it onto my styrofoam plate, and yet the whole top of the rice was dried out. It was as if they had started to scoop it long ago, but then someone changed their mind so the spoonful of rice had just sat out to dry. The interior of the rice was mushy. Its bad enough to charge me circa $2 for what is essentially 25 cents worth of rice, bean, and spice, but I wouldnt mind if it tasted good. I'm longwinded, i know, but that rice made me mad! Didn't someone ask recently on these boards whether decent Mexican or Spanish rice even exists at an austin restaurant? I wonder.
hey bababooey, did you happen see them making the tortillas? just wondering because last time i was there, about a month ago i specifically asked if they made their own flour/corn tortillas and the response was "we get them from el milagro on 6th street." it would be fantastic if they started making their own. please keep us updated on your findings and if you make it back soon.
I drive over sometimes twice a week to get tacos there. By far my favorite is the cochinita on flour tortillas. I usually get 3 of them. I like the breakfast tacos and the puffy taco too, but the cochinita is awesome. They used to make their own tortillas when they first opened, but lack the space to make enough to keep up with the demand. So they buy them fresh (no preservatives) everyday from El Milagro. In fact, I think I'll head over there right now.