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Tacos, tacos, tacos

s
Steven Dilley Jan 11, 2011 11:09 AM

I've been on a taco kick over the past three weeks. Both locations of El Meson, Rosita's Al Pastor, La Fogata, Angie's, Tacodeli, La Cocina de Consuelo, Maudie's, El Papalote, Amaya's Taco Village, Tamale House on Airport, El Chile, and Habanero. I could be leaving one or two out. A few taco-related thoughts. (Is there not a dedicated taco thread? I couldn't find one that seemed appropriate.)

Excellent carnitas at the original location of El Meson. (Flavorful pork tamales, too.) While I like the S Lamar location as well, and it's certainly more convenient, my meal out by the airport trumped anything I've had in three or four visits to the newer location.

As everyone knows, the al pastor at Rosita's is great. Very flavorful, nice texture. A good mix of chewy and fat as well. Because of that, probably not for everyone, but I love the stuff. And good, homemade flour tortillas. Probably the only time I'd order pastor on flour. (Get the green salsa for your tacos.)

La Fogata. As mentioned elsewhere, a super friendly woman running the show. And the tacos potosinas with queso fresca were great.

Angie's. Obviously, the thing to get is the carnitas. BUT, if you get the carnitas plate, you run the risk of getting a pile of carnitas with pretty good corn tortillas on the side. If you get the carnitas tacos, they'll briefly fry the tortillas, turning a good dish into a very good dish. (I assume everyone know this, but occasionally I'll read a so-so review of the place and wonder.)

Consuela's. I like this place, it's convenient, but I can see where it might not be for everyone. Good, homemade flour tortillas. (The texture makes me think they might use lard, a rarity, but I'm not sure.) Everything fresh and homemade, but the seasoning is inconsistent. That said, good tex-mex-style beef enchiladas. Flavorful carne guisada.

You people have been to tacodeli and Maudie's enough.

El Papalote. Actually went for a huarache with chorizo here. Eh. I was hoping for a thinner version. If any of you have ever made it to the Red Hook ball fields in Brooklyn and tried the famous version there, more like that. This was okay.

Amaya's Taco Village does the fried corn tortilla thing, like at Angie's. Solid tex-mex.

Nothing new to report with Tamale House, El Chile, Habanero. They all have their uses and will surely remain in the rotation.

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Tacodeli
12001 N Mo Pac Expy, Austin, TX 78758

Tamale House
5003 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751

El Meson
5808 Burleson Rd, Austin, TX 78744

Amaya's Taco Village
5405 N Interstate 35, Austin, TX 78723

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  1. f
    fromtheD Jan 11, 2011 12:32 PM

    I'm coming to Austin this weekend (first visit) and staying downtown. Could you recommend your top 2 or 3 of the places listed?

    1. c
      Carter B. Jan 11, 2011 01:18 PM

      Nice report. I have never been to Angie's so I've added it to my list.

      Scrumptiouschef will be after you shortly for not having gone to El Taco Rico on your way to the airport (or otherwise) so you should add that to the list. I personally like their breakfast tacos more than the lunch ones.

      Another interesting taco is the wood fired tacos from Dos Batos. Very smokey taste.

      Next time you are in the Domain area, check out Taco More's extensive selection and very solid salsa bar. I only go occasionally but it is usually pretty good.

      Who is making the best flour taco these days?

      6 Replies
      1. re: Carter B.
        s
        singlemalt Jan 11, 2011 04:41 PM

        I knew that there was a Taco More off Rutland but I didn't know there was one in the Domain area. Where is it, if you don't mind? Thanks,J.

        1. re: singlemalt
          c
          Carter B. Jan 12, 2011 04:19 AM

          Yes, Taco More at Runberg & Parkfield. It is about a five minute drive from Braker & Burnet.

        2. re: Carter B.
          s
          scrumptiouschef Jan 13, 2011 08:09 AM

          When they're on, the flour tortillas at La Reyna are a thing of beauty.

          They are inconsistent though.

          Love the Huevos Rancheros there and you can add a pork chop for a buck fifty.

          1. re: scrumptiouschef
            girloftheworld Jan 13, 2011 01:52 PM

            I know it is not "austin" but Michale's in Round ROck has awesome tacos!

          2. re: Carter B.
            s
            Steven Dilley Jan 14, 2011 07:01 AM

            Thanks. El Taco Rico has been on the list for awhile now. I need to make the trek. I'll check out Dos Batos and Taco More as well.

            The flour tortillas at Al Pastor were good, but I'm guessing La Reyna likely has them beat. La Reyna is on the list.

            1. re: Carter B.
              h
              hnewburn Jan 14, 2011 09:34 AM

              Carter! We have got to lunch. Just was at Taco More yesterday. Only place I know in town serving alambres. And their goat just rocks.

            2. h
              hnewburn Jan 14, 2011 09:36 AM

              Carter shared some Taco More love (on Parkfield near Lamar / Rutland). I also need share El Jarocho in Georgetown. They make their own corn tortillas in house and have killer barbacoa and carnitas. They're on 2243, 2 blocks west of I-35. Worth a trip if you're ever way up north. A stack of tortillas to go is worth it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: hnewburn
                s
                scrumptiouschef Jan 14, 2011 04:39 PM

                from a previous post:

                After a dry run to T&S Seafood last night[closed at 10 pm] I was in the neighborhood of Taco More and decidedly hungry.

                As Carter B reports.Taco More has moved to the rear of the Plaza at Parkfield and Rutland,the old sign however,is still up in their former location at the front.

                Walking up at 10:30 at night the joint is nigh onto packed and rocking some good music[Norteno dance].The tv is turned to futbol and the mood is bordering on joyous.

                The menu is posted above the cashier and is very diverse:Cabrito,Carnitas,Al Pastor,Barbacoa,Chicken,Beef Fajitas,Tongue....all the usual suspects are available.

                In the middle of the room is a salad bar island with a dozen 1/3 pans filled with Escabeche,Green Salsa [two kinds] Red Salsa [two kinds] Orange salsa as well as chilled Radishes both whole and sliced.I ran the table on the salsas [unfortunately with industrial chips] none were first tier [think El Rico or Centenario] but the red salsa with a million seeds and no tomatoes was above average

                My overall impression right off the bat is this is food by la Raza and for la Raza. The clientele is 100% Latino as is the staff.

                My companion and I order a host of tacos [Al Pastor,Carnitas and Cabrito] as well as Posole,a Cheese Quesadilla and a Ceviche Tostada.

                The food is a mixed bag.The Ceviche Tostada would've been good but for the copious amount of dried and old Mexican Oregano. It put off the tasty scallops and fish. The Al Pastor looked promising [brilliant red and tender] but had very little flavor. The Carnitas were good but not 1st tier in the Austin hierarchy [ El Zunzal, Fiesta's Taco Cart and La Hacienda have no fears ]. The Cabrito had much goat flavor but was a bit dry. The corn tortillas that all the tacos came on were store bought and not delicious. Heated on a grill without oil they were standard issue. The Cheese quesadilla was our lone flour tortilla option [you get way more cheese this way] the filling was good but the commercial tortilla was just ok.

                Onto the gallon or so sized bowl of Posole. The garnishes were lettuce,cilantro and minced white onion, they were fresh and nicely chopped.The broth was deep red,flavorful and not too salty [a problem with lots of Posole chefs who use Knorr or Maggi as their base]. The meat was cubed Pork Shoulder w/fat attached,always a good idea.Once again this was not first tier Posole [Oaxacan Tamaleo, Backstage] but a good take on the classic.

                If I lived in North Central Austin I would rigorously explore Taco More's menu. It "looks" really good.The restaurant smells great,the kitchen bustles with 8 cooks wending their way about. The patio is inviting [save for the fluorescent lighting] and the joint is clean as a whistle. Staff are very friendly,a bevy of young Latin girls are whipping around re-filling glasses and chattering happily amongst themselves. It's a good scene and a good vibe.

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                El Zunzal Restaurant
                642 Calles St, Austin, TX 78702

              2. s
                Steven Dilley Jan 22, 2011 10:11 AM

                Quick breakfast at Porfirio's on Holly near Comal. Above average, fresh, good-not-great breakfast tacos. Nice, green salsa. Cheap. As good an option as any, if you're in the area.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Steven Dilley
                  s
                  scrumptiouschef Jan 22, 2011 03:36 PM

                  Dilley
                  Next time you're around there make sure you try the carne guisada.

                  I'm penning a 7 part series The State of Carne Guisada In Austin Texas right now and Porfirios has a particularly nice version.

                  John T. Edge ate at Porfirios too.

                  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/din...

                  1. re: scrumptiouschef
                    s
                    Steven Dilley Jan 22, 2011 04:30 PM

                    Thanks for that. I'd completely forgotten Porfirio's was featured in that piece.

                    I've had the carne guisada and agree. A very nice version. Looking forward to reading your series. Had a pretty nice guisada lunch special at Consuela's a couple of weeks back. Rather petite but flavorful.

                    1. re: scrumptiouschef
                      c
                      Craenor Jan 22, 2011 04:47 PM

                      That's awesome Carne Guisada is my favorite. I recently tried Michael's Tacos and really liked theirs.

                  2. tom in austin Jan 22, 2011 02:54 PM

                    Tried another brace of tacos, plus one, from Tacos Mary. This trailer stands next to the former Texaco on Manchaca and Matthews.

                    Desebrada was the highlight. long slivers of grilled peppers added some pop to the shredded beef with cilantro and diced onion. Chorizo and egg was alright; it didn't offend. Beef fajita had good flavor but more gristle then the median cut. Tortillas were store-bought and mediocre, but not stale or leathery. Two sauces, one green and one orangered, both with some bite but neither too spicy. The green was decent, if a bit watery, but I'll take the green at El Regio or Mi Ranchito over this green, and the orangered was just OK. Cash only, $1.50 per taco, and no change will be provided.

                    They were out of pastor, carnitas, lengua, and barbacoa, all of which are advertised on the menu. I've gotten barbacoa there before, but in a handful of visits, they've never had pastor, carnitas, or lengua.

                    1. g
                      geek23 Mar 4, 2011 07:56 AM

                      Get thee to Taqueria Chapala on E. 1st/Cesar Chavez (2000 or 2100 block) for some righteous barbacoa (the barbacoa tacos special). They fry up the tortillas beforehand and IIRC it comes with onions, cilantro, and lots of peppers. It is not healthy but it sure is delicious. Chips and salsa varies but that tacos special is fantastic and in the same league as scrumptiouschef favorite El Taco Rico's barbacoa (which is my second favorite barbacoa only because I am a sucker for fried accompaniments). Bonus is that they are super fast; I've never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a lunch order.

                      1. o
                        Optimista Mar 5, 2011 12:40 PM

                        The lengua tacos at Tacqueria Arandas on N. Burnet are a Sunday morning favorite. So tender and really delicious.

                        La Guera's serves up my favorite al pastor.

                        La Michoacana is also great for tacos.

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                        Aranda's
                        2129 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702

                        1. s
                          Steven Dilley Mar 29, 2011 02:43 PM

                          A couple of very good tacos at Taqueria Huentitan in Manor, located adjacent to (and accessible from) the Valero station on 290. Very good carne guisada and al pastor on homemade corn tortillas. A small sign notes tortillas 'a mano.' The guisada was tender, fatty, and flavorful. The al pastor was almost minced--could have mistaken it for chorizo--and very flavorful. $1.60 per. A quick search suggests multiple locations, including one near Manor Rd. Chips were slightly stale, red and green salsas slightly above average. I'll return. Menu includes barbacoa, menudo, brisket a la Mexicana, parrillada, and various tacos, tortas, etc.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Steven Dilley
                            slowcoooked Mar 31, 2011 05:52 AM

                            Chuy Panaderia on the corner of Ohlen and 183.

                            I can't speak volumes about their forgettable pastor or chorizo tacos (dirt cheap though), but their squash quesadillas are delicious and consist of homemade blue corn tortillas and filled with softened mexican squash, cheese, and onions. Also wonderful are the baked savory stuffed croissant-ish dough pockets filled with picadillo, tinga, or ham and cheese. For those that don't know, Chuy opened a restaurant next to the bakery for sit down fun. Cute actually.

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