A little extra gasoline. . .
I went to El Meson with a houndish friend from Houston that was making the drive back this morning after coming into town for the weekend. He likes to go there conveniently on his way out of town. El Meson was mysteriourly closed when we got there (possibly having to do with construction in the street in front of them, I know they were churning out papa, huevo, y queso tacos as of yesterday)
I tried to talk him into Habaneros, but he did not want to drive back into town. So, I suggested Oaxacan Tamaleo. I knew it was towards Bastrop, but thought it was much closer (thank god I have a poor memory because I probably would not have gone otherwise).
When we arrived, the establishment looked closed, but I was not going to drive that far without checking so, I opened the door and poked my head in and inquired to the proprietors if they were open. They were obviously not open yet (it was 10:00 am), but they welcomed us in as if they would never think of turning someone away over little things like operating hours.
We sat down with menus and ordered tamarindo teas. We, unfortunately, were not able to fully sample their menu because with a half glance we both knew we would be ordering the identical thing.
Pozole: The Pozole stock was clear, and at first glance it looked like it was going to be bland (I am more accustomed to red Jalisco style pozole). My glance has poor judgement. The white hominy was floating in a savory chicken stock with bits of white meat chicken. The lime, onion, and radish condiment went quickly into the bowl after the first taste. I enjoyed this small bowl of the tasty mexican soup tremendously
Huevos Tamaleos: This dish is one enormous Interior Mexican pork tamale with two fried eggs on top and refried black beans with a sprinkling of cotijo cheese all reved on top of a green banana leaf. The tamale masa was much lighter and less greasy than its Tex Mex cousin. The pork filling was tasty, and vaguely reminded me of cochinita pibil. It had similar citrus accents and the clean taste that pibil style stewed pork often has. The tamale is equally equivalent in size to three tex mex style tamales. It is different enough to not even be compared to the average tamale. I don't believe the black beans were fried in pork fat, but they were tasty nonetheless. After living in Costa Rica and eating a lifetime of bland black beans I normally shy away from them here in the US. I enjoyed OT's version as being significantly better than the norm and a perfect compliment to this dish, though I don't think they are stand alone outstanding. The eggs were fried a perfect over medium, though we were asked how we would like them cooked.
OT used to get alot of pub on here when they were in Austin. I hope that Hounders will invest in a little extra gasoline to visit. I enjoyed my whole experience immensely, but I don't know how good business can be for them way out yonder.
To chowhounds, a little extra gasoline is a small price to pay—despite the high cost of gas these days—for delicious chow.
I haven't read any detailed reviews of Oaxacan Tamaleo's chow since they moved to Bastrop. Thanks for the great report, El General. Since I love a good pozole blanco, I'll have to put OT on my ever-growing list of new places to visit.
I've been picking up the delicious tamales by the dozen from Leonor who's maintaining a booth at the Austin Farmer's Market. A couple in the dozen I picked up last weekend were so firey hot that I lost my sense of taste about a third of the way through, but enjoyed every minute of it.
I have to second el general on the Posole commendation.The stock looks like little more than tap water...then you slurp your way into the bowl and the flavor is deep,rich and clean.The garnishes are fresh and create deep Mexico synergy on your tongue.As an ardent pursuer of Posole I always felt Oaxacan Tamaleo's was the finest in town...and now apparently out of town as well.
El General:Please describe the ambience of the new restaurant.I've been plotting a trip out that way and would love to know what I'm walking into.I know the food well and expect nothing less than intense deliciousness but I'm curious as to the setting.
I would describe the seating arrangment as sparse. Plain concrete floors (perhaps painted I can't recall). Interior mexican themed posters on the wall. It was mostly natural light but not dark. Overall, I feel like the interior decoration was mostly unfinished. The ambience definitely is upgraded by the warm welcome and friendly service. There was a juke box and a pool table in a room off the main dining area that intrigued me.
The building interior looks like a rehabilitated honky-tonk. I should have asked about the evening hours of operation and the pool table. The cost/benefit on the drive becomes more favorable if I can shoot a couple of games of pool before I head back the house.
I was not observant or inquisitive as I should have been. My synapses were overloaded by my intense pleasure with my meal.
scrumptiouschef: If you could post your little black book of Austin pozoles (which we all know that you have) I would appreciate it.
re: El General
Right off the top of my head I have to say Oaxacan Tamaleo is THE heavy hitter.But Los Altos around 33rd st and IH 35 North has a good version available on the weekends....they make a giant vat on Friday so I recommend a Sunday visit as the flavors have deepened a bit by then.Whatever you do don't salt blindly as it has plenty...garnishes are good and fresh.I like to get a Cheese Quesadilla to go with. In the "I hate to admit it"category South Congress Cafe has a good Wild Boar Posole.I love Wild Boar and will consume it whenever I get the chance,the broth is brick red and good and rich.Beware you'll be surrounded by urban cougars with admirably limber necks[swivelling this way and that every time new people walk in].
Her posole is my fav. also, I like both styles and hers is full of flavor.
She doesn't use lard in her tamales, she told when we first went to rest. So I assume not in beans.
We have not made it out there yet, but we visited her at the hot sauce festival.
Here green sauce is perfect on her tamales.