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Mar 27, 2010 02:45 AM

El Naranjo Mobile on Rainey Street

New food truck in the neighborhood behind IHOP on Cesar Chavez.

From Oaxaca chef Iliana de la Vega.

Has anyone tried this ladies' cuisine?

She's on Chowhound but is an infrequent poster

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  1. Yes, I have - I went to El Naranjo in Oaxaca in 2006 (during my honeymoon). I just scanned my hard drive for pics - I have pics of the place, but not the food. They had all "seven moles." It was a nice place - our nice meal on the honeymoon, albeit a little gringo-ized compared to the food stalls, markets, and a gay Tylaluda vendor that we frequented.

    Regardless of that, a heavy steeping in Oaxaca should provide us with an excellent choice. Hard to believe that there is now a trailer on Cesar Chavez. Oaxaca got real tough just a month after we visited.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rudeboy

      That was exactly my experience with El Naranjo. It was the one fancy-ish restaurant my sweetie and I ate at during a week in Oaxaca in 2004. The food was good and probably would have impressed me more . . . except that we'd been eating the most fabulous food all over Oaxaca for very few pesos. The markets and street vendors and women who cooked in their homes and served their boarders were amazing! Looking forward to trying the new location.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. yep, i ate here week before last while attending the sxsw festival. we played several shows and even spent a night or two at the house next door. the food was a little pricier than i am accustomed to for mexican truck food, but the preparations were also a bit fancier than the average truck. the cold vegetarian tostada at (or near) the top of the menu was EXCELLENT. the empanadas (?) were of ridiculously small portions, i think they were empanadas, something like that. i don't remember all that i ordered and sampled but it was generally very good (not the empanadas, which were kind of lame). very fresh ingredients, skillfully prepared. Iliana seems to know what she's doing. very elegant food for a what is essentially a taco truck.

        1. I've been twice now, and can recommend El Naranjo for casual and tasty Mexican fare. My S.O. and I both exclaimed tonight that we are glad we tried it again. The first evening, a couple weeks ago, we enjoyed the food but weren't blown away. The gringas al pastor (topped with a little chopped pineapple, cilantro, and onion and I like it that way) were delicious. A special entree of camarones was a little bland, despite the sauce containing raisins, almonds, and olives. We liked the moletes--crispy little masa torpedos--but I can't recall what was in them. The salsas were homemade, an important touch.

          Tonight the food was really good. We had empanadas filled with mushrooms, serrano, and epazote. The dough was light and fried til crispy, and the filling was delicious. Garnachas were kind of like little sopes, topped with fantastic beef (that tasted to me like carnitas), lightly pickled cabbage and carrots, and a nice pasilla salsa. We had the gringas de pastor again and this time there was cheese on them. (I prefered them without cheese.)

          They've added an awning over most of the picnic tables, and there were other quiet diners there enjoying wine or beer (BYOB I guess). It's a nice, mellow scene on the earlier side of evening. Not sure what it's like when the Rainy Street bars fill up.

          3 Replies
          1. re: storefronteats

            I went to one of her cooking classes at Central Market. I will say it was the one class out of a dozen that we continue to cook all the recipes from.

            Central Market
            4477 S Lamar Blvd Ste 100, Austin, TX 78745

            1. re: achtungpv

              "Third, and most importantly, the fact that this is currently the best Mexican food in Austin is just too important not to convey to readers."

              Advice above from "Fearless Critic".

              How do you serve the best Mexican food in Austin on Fiesta Mart tortillas from a plastic bag?

              I actually like El Naranjo. I'll like it a lot more when they step their game up a full notch and start making from scratch tortillas. Like the entirety of my top ten Mexican restaurants in Austin.

              You can't be the best and not cook from scratch.

              Who's been over to El Naranjo lately?

              How was it?

              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                I went a month ago. Underwhelming. The interesting items like mole aren't served at lunch and you won't know until you try and order and you're denied. Everything was fine in execution but nothing worth writing home about...and the tortillas were store bought. All the food is overpriced for the serving size.