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Jan 10, 2008 06:48 AM

New Mex instead of Tex Mex?

We'll be visiting our daughter in Austin next month for a week from Maine. I've enjoyed cruising the Austin sites, especially the Taco Journalism blog. Here is my question. I am a New Mexico transplant married to a Yankee blue blood. I cook a lot of Mexican up here, but what I'd love to find are some New Mexican specialities that I really miss like stacked enchiladas with Hatch red or Chimayo red chile with a fried egg on top and especially, soppapillas, plain or stuffed. A good bowl of posole or meunedo would be good too. Any help? I cannot express how excited we are to visit your fair city.
Go Lobos!

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  1. I think ZTejas makes a good green chile enchiladas. I've had some wonderful chow in NM. The northern part of the state had some of the hottest and most flavorful food I've ever had. The Texican Cafe claims to have that influence but I think their quality has declined. Some claim that Chuy's comes close. But one of my favorites is the chicken fried steak at Shady Grove. Get the gravy on top w/a side of g.chile to dump on. I used to live in the 4 corners area and loved to get biscuits and gravy w/g.chile on top. Or g.chile on top of a western omlette. I hope you can find some places that I don't know about. Or move here and open a restaurant(taco cart?)

    7 Replies
    1. re: crippstom

      Check out Zocalo The menu shows a stacked enchiladas dish. I have only been once and really enjoyed it. There are a lot of items on the menu that sound fantastic! I frequent their sister restaurant Galaxy Cafe and absolutely love it!

      1. re: chowinginaustin

        Jorge's serves the flat enchiladas. I enjoy them, but don't have much to compare them to other than several visits to Lucy's in El Paso.

        1. re: TAF

          Another vote for Jorge's. They serve a variation closer to New Mex. Their menu can be found here -

          1. re: TAF

            And a third for Jorge's. I'm an El Paso transplant and it's the closest you'll get here (ask for the Hatch green or red only).

            oh, TAF! You're breaking my heart! What I'd GIVE to go to Lucy's right now. I'd have to get a combo plat with a relleno, machaca and a Tony's taco (done the "old" way) and that amazing lava orange sauce you have to ask for...hell, I'd even settle for the two sauces they serve everyone....


            1. re: amysuehere

              And a fourth for Jorge's. The Jorge's chain comes from Midland, Texas and is West Texan Tex-Mex, not New Mex-Mex, but comes the closest to New Mex-Mex in town. We don't really have any New Mex-Mex in Austin, as far as I know.

              1. re: tom in austin

                Texican Cafe is El Paso style. The Chile Colorado is really good. The stacked enchiladas are also. I think the original Manchaca version is far better than the one up north.

                1. re: achtungpv

                  Way back when I lived in South Austin, I heard that Texican was "El Paso Style" and was very excited to say the least. What a horrible dissapointment. While the food was perfectly fine for what it was, it certainly was not the El Paso styly I know and love.

      2. Wow, thanks pards.! Jorge's looks great! I did forget to mention that our daughter is in school and we currently have 3 others in various stages of college, so price is a a concern. She lives near Austin Community College. Any recs in the Area? I hope to get 2 cheap meals a day(one at a Tacqueria) and one splurge. We used to live in Bolivia too. Does Pacha's Cafe have saltenas? Finally, do Navajo tacos(on fry bread) exist?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Passadumkeg

          Well, ACC has several locations in various parts of town. Do you happen to know which branch your daughter lives near? Or another nearby landmark?

          I think I've seen fry bread on the menu at Z'Tejas, but I've never had it.

          1. re: Bat Guano

            She lives near S. Pleasant Valley Dr. and E. Riverside Dr. Any good eats in the area? Does Texas have BYOB?

        2. As you can see, several Austin chowhounds who hail from west Texas really like Jorge’s. While I haven’t tried it personally, if I were in your position, I’d likewise consider this a good place to start. (You can use the “search this page” link at the top of the page to find more details about the chow there.)

          Yet I feel compelled to point out that “New Mex” food is not a specialty of this part of the state. (I’d issue the same caveat about Bolivian food in Austin.) If you were visiting far-west Texas, of course, you’d find plenty of New-Mexican-style chow. Central-Texas-style Tex-Mex is a totally different animal, so to speak. I know that this is not what you were hoping to hear, but it seems like a shame to come all the way from Maine to Austin to dine at restaurants that are more along the lines of the only places in town that serve a certain kind of food rather than truly delicious chow destinations in and of themselves. This is just my opinion, of course, and I am only speaking of those places that I have tried myself. For example, I wasn’t impressed by the green-chile stew at Z’Tejas ( ) or the chow at the Roaring Fork, which someone may suggest for their "New-Mexican-style" flavors and their green-chile stew ( ). Both of these restaurants are now chains, with three or more locations in different states.

          On the positive front, there is some very good pozole in town:

          A little extra gasoline. .

          And menudo:

          Five day visit--what's great?

          Note: Don Luis, which is mentioned in the second thread above, has gone out of business, but some of the other recommendations may prove useful.

          Depending on which ACC campus you meant, you might find yourself close to House Park Bar-B-Q, which is located in a small shopping center at 12th and Lamar. It’s only open for lunch, Monday through Friday, and it’s cash only. If you have the time, though, most visitors never regret a side trip to Lockhart. You’ll find tons of threads on that subject, so I won’t rehash them here.

          I hope this helps you find delicious chow during your visit to Austin.

          7 Replies
          1. re: MPH

            I'm a dyed in the wool chowhound. If I can find some New Mex style, fine. I'm just soooo happy to be getting out of New England for a while it is unbelievable. I'm really looking for to al pastor tacos, (a taqueria a day keeps the blues away) BBQ, creole etc. My daughter says we should move to Austin, we'd love it!
            Korea House will be visited(got a son in Seoul and another in Costa Rica, visiting him in April.) Looking forward to the surrounding area too.
            Mella lives near Pleasant Valley & E. Riverside Drives. Any recs nearby?
            If you want a very, very different food experience, come to Maine. Sweet baked beans w/ neon red hot dogs. Wicked good, Cappy!

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              Pleasant Valley & E. Riverside? Al Pastor tacos? Cheap meals?

              Your jackpot awaits at Rositas Al Pastor.

              1. re: jwynne2000

                Thanks to the Taco Journalism site, I've already told Mela to check out Al Pastors. Might be my first stop off the plane. Pearl beer(thankfully?) no longer exists, does it?
                Any shushi recs? What are some good local brews? Dim sum? Cajun oyster po' boys or boudain(sp?)? Cheaper Brazilian Churascuria? Low down & dirty BBQ? My mouth is watering wait for migas for breakfast!

                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  Few recs:
                  Sushi- I have to recommend Uchi, but be advised it is a very upsacle sushi place that serves traditional sushi as well as some innovative dishes. It is expensive, but worth it if you have the inclination to splurge. Also, expect really long waits and I suggest you go early.

                  BBQ- My favorite in Austin-proper is Sam's on East 12th. It is very casual (actually, casual sounds like an overstatement), open late, and is a great option if you are not heading out to Lockhart.

                  Po-Boys- I have not eaten at many of the Austin places offering LA style cooking, but have really enjoyed Evangeline Cafe. The oysters contraband are sinful.

                  Have fun in Austin and make sure you report back!

                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                    For local brews, Lovejoy's near 6th street is a good brewpub; if your daughter goes to school here she's sure to know where it is. But I think the best local brewery is Live Oak. Their Pale ale, Big Bark, and pilsner are excellent, and they usually have a seasonal that's really good. Their beers are on tap at several bars and restaurants in the area; my standby is Gingerman, on 4th between Lavaca and Guadalupe, though you'll want to go somewhere else for anything except beer.

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      Estancia Churrascario... I tried it when they just opened and wasn't thrilled due to comparisons that had been made to Fogo de Chao which is very high praise in my book and hard to live up to when trying to be reasonably priced. I've read very good reviews and heard many nice comments from others since then, however. I'll try it again when in the neighborhood.

                  2. re: Passadumkeg

                    In addition to jwynne2000's recommendation, you'll find a lot of recommendations in that area by searching the board. The most exhaustive oeuvre on the topic, especially if you'd like a different taquería each day, maybe MPH's ongoing journey, centered more or less on the intersection you mention, will point you in the right direction. The link does a Chowhound search that brings them up along with a few other related topics.


                2. Years ago Coyote Cafe, a so called NM Mexican food cafe, tried to make it here but couldn't ostensibly because their food was to hot. They shut down and as far as I know, no NM style place has tried it since.

                  1. Anyone been to Chuco's yet? Just opened last month and is supposed to be El Paso style.