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Former NYT food writer wants Bestest TxMx

I'm new to town, and my oldest friend, a former NYT food writer, is coming to visit. He's asked specifically for authentic TX MX or MX. The dive-ier the better. Quintessential Austin. Absolutely nothing new or chic. Help me!

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  1. el meson. i'm also a fan of polvo's but some folks aren't as impressed (order the pastor fajitas of you go).

    3 Replies
    1. re: uarent

      I'll back uarent up on Polvo's, but only if you get Fajita al Guajillo, which is described by BTAustin below, and unlike any other fajita (they don't carry them smoking through the restaurant). I've only gotten beef, but now that pastor has been mentioned twice, I think I'll branch out next time. This will be a memorable dish for your friend. I know I'd never seen raisins and nuts in fajitas before.

      Also already mentioned, but get a big second from me is Juan in a Million. I love them for breakfast tacos. Beware, if you order the Don Juan breakfast taco, you may not be hungry the rest of the day.

      If you'd like a big plate of cheese enchiladas smothered in a chili con carne that is so Tex that it shares little in common with Mex, go to El Matador in Round Rock. I've ordered this dish all over the city and El Matador makes it most smothered and down and dirty.

      As already mentioned, Angie's carnitas are good. El Meson is good (I like their cochinita pibil) and Habanero has a really good torta (I get beef).

      I hope you're not vegetarians!

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      El Meson
      5808 Burleson Rd, Austin, TX 78744

      1. re: stephanieh

        I'm a Polvo's fanatic. Fajitas al Guajillo is my go-to dish. However, I've recently discovered the Puerco Adobado. It a huge serving of grilled pork and pineapples. I've had it the last 3 times I've been there. I recommend it highly.

        1. re: achtungpv

          That does sound good! I'll try to order that next time... which works out well, because the fajitas al guajillo seem more like a cooler weather food to me.

    2. Divey?

      La Mexicana, South 1st

      Juarez, in Round Rock

      1 Reply
      1. re: conquer

        La Mexicana has the best barbacoa west of I-35--not really TexMex exactly...

      2. Angie's for carnitas tacos and corn tortillas. Northwest you can find Chuy's bakery and El pollo Regio across from each other on Ohlen just West of 183. They make for a pretty good combination. Chuy's has every kind of sweet including a huge case of refrigerated tres leche confections as well as good whole wheat breads and will even make you a torta Mexico city style. El Regio chicken is justly famous. Their al pastor is very good too. Personally I'm a big fan of enchiladas y mas on Anderson lane too. Enchiladas or migas with cheese and a side of beef fajitas with vegetables. And don't forget Ciscos for breakfast. Migas and fajitas with biscuits and tortillas and gawk at the pics of LBJ and other Austin luminaries on the walls. Gloriously substandard facility : ) And yes Polvos, they've become trendy and are ignoring that daily. The pastor fajitas with the dried guajillo peppers, raisins, pecans and pineapple. Seems asian and will make you very happy.

        Garridos is trendy but if you don't like their bacon and mahi taco I'll buy you a car.

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        El Regio
        6615 Berkman Dr, Austin, TX 78723

        1. Mi Ranchito on William Cannon and Pleasant Valley. In the back of a C-Mart. Avoid everything they fry. Their choriegg dishes are alright. Focus on the shredded beef (desebrada?), carnitas, or any of their other tacos. Plus their absurdly amazing assortment of awesome salsas astound all who deign to discover the deliciousness.

          El Meson on Burleson. Not as divey, but amazingly amazing. Today I bought a dozen tacos just before halftime during the Mexico game, and the whole place was electric. Best chorizo I've had in Austin. Pastor to blow your brain into a wad of kablooie. Homemade tortillas. El Meson is holding up their end of the bargain in the "best Mex in Austin" pact. I hope their new venue on Lamar doesn't flip their junk out. Expansion can kill excellence. Their chorimigas and their pot-egg-chee-chori are the bomb. The money bomb. The bomb money. Disregard haters, acquire tacos.

          Lastly, Angie's carnitas tacos w/ yellow cheese are hard to beat. In fact, they may trip you out and create a deep and pervasive anxiety regarding consuming carnitas: can other applicants meet this new standard?

          Representing Austin hole-in-the-wall pride, avoid all El Chile/Chilito, Taco Shack, Taco Deli, Torchy's, Polvo's, Guerro's, Chuy's, etc. There are many vaguely interchangeable Mexifare stops in Austin. Don't get confused. There are a dozen places that rock unmentioned here. I'm lazy and my intel is incomplete. Please don't breathlessly endorse some lame joints. Keep it real, keep i cool. Cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

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          El Meson
          5808 Burleson Rd, Austin, TX 78744

          1. Ignore everything you have read below except for a very few, e.g. La Mexicana, and go to La Borrega del Oro, or something close to that, across the avenue from St. Edwards. OTW, go to Juan in a Million, or some other place in East Austin.