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Maria's Taco Xpress

So yesterday my buddy says he wants a taco, and I tell him about the Green Chile Pork Taco and Chile con Queso at Torchy's at Little Woodrow's on 6th. We cruise over there, and sure enough, the trailer is MIA. A few construction workers were cleaning up the area, so I don't know what happened to it. No mention on the website at all.

So he mentions Maria's on South Lamar and we head over there. I am a Al Pastor fan, and I had previously tried their version, and although it was a larger serving than most, I found the meat quite bland. Chango's version of the Al Pastor is very flavorful, but the tacos are a little skimpy on meat. I decided to give Maria's another shot, and went with the Crispy Taco combo with rice and refried beans. The meat was ground heavily, to the point of it being a smooth type mixture not unlike the type I'd get a Pancho's when I was in college in west Texas. Mixed in potatoes and heavy on the liquid and bagged HEB cheese, these tacos were under Taco Bueno (soon to be in Austin) quality. The beans were easily the blandest refried beans I have ever tasted. I normally never put any salt on my food, and I loaded these up with salt and onions to get the taste agreeable. Oh, Maria with your arms open wide, I shall never return.

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  1. You know, I noticed the drastic decline as well. I used to CRAVE the carbon tacos when she was in the shack. Fast forward and she's been in the new location for about six months (we moved way north so we didn't go all the time like we did before) and I am CRAVING one bad enough to go clear across town. Man, was I horribly disappointed. thank goodness for the Chimichurri sauce. But now that you can get her sauce at Whole Foods, I find absolutely no reason to go and wait in that awful line for tacos. Let the Ca. transplants crowd that place (couldn't believe the demographic of who was in line at the new place - plasti-people everywhere)

    3 Replies
    1. re: amysuehere

      I never understood the appeal of this place—to chowhounds, that is. I was unimpressed by their chow before the move to the new location. It sounds like I really wouldn't like it now. Thanks for the update, LakeLBJ and amysuehere.

      1. re: MPH

        However, do go buy a jar of her chimichurri sauce at Whole Foods. That stuff's yummy and keeps forever.

        1. re: amysuehere

          You are fast on the draw, amysuehere. I just posted about two minutes ago! I usually make my own chimichurri sauce, but I'll keep this one in mind, should I need a good jarred version. Thanks for the tip.

    2. "The beans were easily the blandest refried beans I have ever tasted."
      Well, you didn't taste the ones I had from Taco Cabana today :-) I know, Taco Cabana, but it's close to my office and I was short on time.

      1. A few years back I tried this place after hearing and reading about it. It really didn't do anything for me. I found the breakfast tacos I ordered to be boring. Again everyone has their own taste.

        1. I drove by Little Woodrow's this morning, and the Torchy's trailer was back....so who knows what happened there....

          2 Replies
            1. re: Chicago Wine Geek

              There is a Torchy's on S. 1st just South of the School for the Deaf past Barton Springs. Open most days, but all outdoor seating. Try the trailer trash taco or pork w/ green sauce.

          1. I've been going to Maria's since she was in a trailer. I've always preferred the breakfast tacos to the lunch and dinner tacos.

            I haven't found better breakfast tacos along my drive to work (South Lamar to the Capitol).

            1 Reply
            1. re: The Tres Leches

              exactly. breakfast tacos are the way to go.

            2. I like the decor, and it's a nice place to take people on their first time to Austin.

              But as far as food is concerned, I'd rather dine at Borrego del Oro. Leave the white folks to wait in line at Maria's.

              1. Inconsistent. That's the problem with Maria's. Actually, not that bad of a problem since I find that half the time the Al Pastor tacos are brilliant, the other half so-so. First off, somehow they are too busy in the mornings, lunch hour and dinner hour to get it right. Every time I've been impressed by their Al Pastor its in the middle of the afternoon. Big portions, great flavor, feggit about it. And forget about Chango's and Torchy's--all three of these places serve overpriced tacos and only Maria's gets it right half the time. You're obviously much better off going to Borrego de Oro (I highly recommend their Birria Plate), Pastor on Riverside, or Michoacana on E. 7th.