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You're leaving Austin for good, take one taco with you and tell us why.

We all do it, we hit the latest craze a few times in a couple weeks, get all excited, spend too much money, settle down, and go back to our tried and trues.

The one taco I get two to one over any others in town combined, and have for 8 years, is the consistently rock solid, succulent, tender, deeply brown sauced, beefy, shredded cheddar topped, and perfectly spiced carne guisada on flour from mi madres picked up with a little of their ultra garlicky red salsa or the firey green jalapeno puree stuff (not on menu). I forgive their tiniest of flat tops / kitchen for not pumping out house made tortillas. Two of these and I'm out the door for 8.50 including tip, chips, and salsa and down only 30 minutes. If you like slow braised beef chuck, you at least should try these once.

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  1. Mine, hmmm...

    I've always loved the al pastor at Pinos, very closely followed by the beef fajita. This isn't so much for the taco as for the garlicky red salsa as well.

    I've never had Mi Madres. Guess it's time.

    I guess I'm about chile rellenos as you are to tacos.

    5 Replies
    1. re: amysuehere

      I haven't been over the moon on their tacos as much as their pozole, but love 'em just the same, especially the grilled fish - the lady always gets the pineapple-y pastor. that salsa is unmatched in my ten years in this town. but I just adore garlic. you want a free lunch Mrs. AmySue, I'll buy your Mi Madres Guisada, maybe Rudeboy can join us. Anyone else game? Just sayin'.

      1. re: slowcoooked

        Let's do this and you don't need to buy! Wednesdays are best for me (except next Wed) and Fridays are out.

        On that side note, usually at Pinos I get the relleno al pastor with tomatillo sauce.

        1. re: amysuehere

          I can definitely do that.....gotta eat. Looks like too late for this week. I'm free any day for lunch.

          1. re: rudeboy

            I can even do it this Wednesday, but it'd have to be after noon (I'm down south getting my halloween costume fitting that morning).

        2. re: slowcoooked

          Y'all sound like a good group. I might consider flying in to Austin from L.A. for lunch or stay for dinner.

      2. Though I live far away from that part of town I still rate the tacos carnitas at Mi Ranchito as my last great taco. They used to make a great homemade corn tortillas but still use high quality ones. Double tortillas and the carnitas are a little crispy on the outside and still moist. Top it with grilled onions, cilantro and avocado and head to the salsa bar with fresh lime, a dark pure chile salsa, roasted tomato salsa, pico, avocado salsa and it will still hold together. Delish. I prefer the one on W.Cannon. I'm not a big breakfast taco eater(if it's after 7:30 I'm ready for lunch tacos or a plate)but their breakfast tacos are great. Nice fluffy eggs, fresh flour tortillas and of course the salsa bar.
        Amysuehere I'm with you on the chile rellenos.

        1. Barbacoa de chivo on flour from La Fruta Feliz, with a bacon/egg on flour from Marcelino Pan y Vino in close second.

          Can we make this a top 5? Deshebrada or carnitas on corn from Mi Ranchito, machacado and egg from Mi Madres (gotta try the carne guisada next time).

          ps-taco de birria from El Borrego de Oro.

          28 Replies
          1. re: saticoy

            Barbacoa de chivo from La Fruta Feliz is probably my top taco.

            1. re: lixlix

              lixlix, that's my second. so awesome. slather that avocado jalapeño creamy salsa. listen to the pitter patter of the fresh tortillas being patted out per order. nom nom no brainer.

              1. re: slowcoooked

                In that case I will have to try your first. Do you mean the Mi Madre on Manor?

                1. re: slowcoooked

                  good god that sounds good. I'll have to have that, especially since me loves the chivo (poor chivo).

              2. re: saticoy

                Lixlix, yes, the manor location.

                Re: Saticoy, I've had all but the deshebrada - great calls. El Borrego de Oro does have very good birria. I also happen to love the pastor and the avocado salsa from Fruta Feliz

                1. re: slowcoooked

                  I had the best al pastor taco I ever had at Fruta Feliz, but the second was not transcendent - ready for the third try, though, and this time, with the green salsa! I love how they have their salsas in squeeze bottles that travel from table to table...

                  1. re: saticoy

                    I have to say, unlike the Mi Madres Guisada, that is consistent as sunshine in these parts, the meats at Fruta can range as you say from very good to transcendent, and the corn chips are all over the map - sometimes fresh fried and sometimes from a generic bag of tostitos or worse. but their avocado hot sauce is always the same - great.

                2. re: saticoy

                  Yikes. I've never been to Fruta Feliz. Pics looks yummy!

                  1. re: amysuehere

                    Okay y'all, it would be a distinct pleasure and honor to take any La Fruta Feliz virgin to what Scrumptiouschef, me and many others thinks may be the best "collection" of tacos in town. I'm game any day next week so far. I probably can't play too much over an hour but am flexible as to when and what time. the fruta usually gets the pastor, carnitas, and chivo so right. you can even get a two meat plate with rice and beans and make your own tacos - of course.

                    1. re: slowcoooked

                      I'm willing to lose my virginity.....

                      1. re: slowcoooked

                        ok, i really need to go to this place. i'm just never in that direction, and definitely not during the day :-/

                        i looooove carnitas.

                          1. re: amysuehere

                            okay everyone that cares to join us, pick your day and time and I'm right down the street at UT and will be there.

                            1. re: slowcoooked

                              Any day but Friday and Wednesday I'll be south until after noon. I'm just up the street at 183/Ohlen otherwise.

                              1. re: amysuehere

                                Monday or Thursday? I suddenly have an emergency Mensa Meeting on Tuesday.

                                1. re: rudeboy

                                  Mensa, nice. Thursday works for me.

                                  1. re: rudeboy

                                    The Baloney King will be at La Fruta Feliz at noon tomorrow (thursday). Bald dude with a scruffy go tee.

                                    1. re: slowcoooked

                                      Funny, I'll be there as well. Rapidly greying aging hipster in cargo shorts.

                                        1. re: slowcoooked

                                          (Post Tacos) - Slowcook, you krazy!

                                          j/k nice to meet up.

                                          1. re: rudeboy

                                            Krazy like a fox RB. Here's the beer on tap at Odd Duck if you get there before we can all go together. I wonder how close it would be to the one you tried in Belfast? http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/st-feuil...

                                            Odd Duck's september lunch lacks the heirloom tomato salad, but does have one of my favorite other dishes in town, the duck egg and fried rice with oyster mushrooms, shitakes, pickled squash. http://09f6a5e52a5b52ffe120-b7b5c1669...

                                            Optimista raved about that one as well as Girloftheworld. Good stuff.

                                            Amysue, twas lovely to meet you too. I'm up for Asian next too, so y'all pick.

                                        2. re: rudeboy

                                          you already know what you're wearing tomorrow? ;-)

                                          1. re: dinaofdoom

                                            I wear cargoes every day, you know, since the bag ban and all......

                                        3. re: slowcoooked

                                          Noon it is.

                                          Rudeboy, you'll be able to point me out.

                                          Otherwise, short, 47 year old, shoulder-length gray-blonde with glasses. Think I'll wear my dark blue tank/blouse and shorts, tevas.

                                          1. re: amysuehere

                                            I don't know yet what if anything I'll be wearing tomorrow, but this is me hiding behind my new cake decorating set. I used these to stuff squash blossoms with crab and fry them. 'twas pretty darn good.

                                          2. re: slowcoooked

                                            darn work, getting in the way of chow outings!

                            2. I'm going with a breakfast taco here because there is no where else in the world I've ever been that "gets" a breakfast taco. And here, on Chowhound, I'm betting I'm going to get a little flamed as I know there are other BTs out there that are more authentic and loved by you folks. But for me, the Otto with Egg at TacoDeli with Dona is my current love. And it's something that you just get there, you know? Black refried beans, bacon, avocado, scrambled egg, dona. It's perfect. Salty, creamy, eggy, spicy, crunchy...it meets my texture and flavor combos perfectly and no one else does it like this. I mean, I could probably ask someone at another place to make this for me, but I'm not sure it would be the same. So that...that comes with me.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: foodiegal71

                                I'll have to try that - don't worry about getting flamed. If you love it you love it. There's a new TacoDeli opening near me, so I'll go there next.....instead of Torchy's, where I sneak in with dark sunglasses and order the jalapeno sausage egg and cheese with green sauce. Mi Victoria closed, so that's the closet place now for a quickie.

                                1. re: rudeboy

                                  we're apparently neighbors, the one on burnet is about the same distance to our house as torchy's on spicewood is. I like TacoDeli more than torchy's. The scallop special is amazing.

                                  For me, rosita's al pastor but with tortillas and agua fresca from Veracruz all natural.

                                  1. re: xdcx

                                    oh god, that scallop special really is amazing. and you don't see a lot of scallops at a taco joint.

                                    1. re: xdcx

                                      Don't forget that La Fogata is one parking lot away from where the new TacoDeli is opening. I just had one of their delicious carnitas tacos (and a dry pastor).

                                      1. re: kosheri

                                        That's a very good reminder, kosheri. TacoDeli is becoming an empire. One thing about TacoDeli that I haven't liked is the competing flavors within one item that aren't totally pure. They are getting better, I think. Maybe sneaking a La Fogata taco into TacoDeli for the free AC, and of course, ordering something at TacoDeli, is a chowhound answer. For those times when all the co workers want TacoDeli.

                                        1. re: rudeboy

                                          the doña sauce is pretty good... perhaps you could put some on your la fogata taco and then it could be incognito?

                                    2. re: rudeboy

                                      Sounds like we are also neighbors! I can't wait until I can ride my bike up to TacoDeli on a Sunday morning for an Otto with egg. I actually just had one for breakfast. We get TacoDeli every Friday morning and I've turned the whole office on to the Otto with egg. It's the favorite hands down.

                                      Now I need to try the scallop taco!

                                      Torchy's just isn't my place for some reason. I'll go if others want to, but the only taco I like is the baja shrimp. Actually, I love their queso, it's my favorite queso in town.

                                      For al pastor, Rosita's is it for me. I've never had anything that even comes close. I love the idea of using Veracruz's tortillas for it. I may have to adopt that soon.

                                    3. re: foodiegal71

                                      that is a very good breakfast taco, and i'm not one of the taco deli haters. that place has some sentimentality for me, and i like their "contemporary tacos" if you will.

                                    4. While we're at it, I had a friend from Mexico recently tell me that his relatives run the evening only El Super Taco down on East Riverside and he says it's hands down his favorite joint for "real" interior mexican fare / street food. Anyone been?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: slowcoooked

                                        No, but want to give it a try. I will say that I went back to Fruta Feliz yesterday with a taco-friend. I had the chivo torta, then went to meet another friend for gelato at Dolce Vita. Her daughter's birthday was yesterday. Then I went to Deep Eddy, which was closed for swimming because of this wonderfully awesome cold front that blew in. Couldn't ask for a better day.

                                        1. re: rudeboy

                                          all does sound good, how'd the torta turn out? last one I had was the cuban at the mexican bakery in the FAMSA lot.

                                      2. combination breakfast taco at vasquez taco. The bacon is always perfect.

                                        pork mole from tacodeli. braised pork and rich mole.

                                        machacado and white cheese taco from amaya's. they use a pot roast and not just the bucket of dried beef. a little greasy but worth it.

                                        1. this thread caused me to eat lunch at taco deli today. the deli belly special is really tasty. and the mojo is a fish taco i can actually eat, because it's not battered. plus it's not tilapia, which i think is gross.

                                          1. I'd be torn between the alambres or the puerco en pipian at Papalote. Why? Because they're fantastic. Papalote seems to be a real hidden gem.

                                            1. I'd take Angie's carnitas tacos because they were my first encounter with really good tacos and I love her tortillas.