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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.

          74 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!

                                            1. re: dinaofdoom

                                              Crap! Why didn't I click on this thread sooner? Would love to meet some of y'all.

                                              1. re: Optimista

                                                I'll be out of town for a few weeks, but would like to meet up again. I can meet any day. Let's say November 6th just to save a date. The more the merrier, and I think that we all love to share.

                                                Slowcooked and Amysue - I did finally make the fried rice from the Sea Dragon leftovers.

                                                1. re: rudeboy

                                                  Are we talking about lunch time? If so, IN, if we can meet someplace not too far north or east (my office is on SW Parkway).

                                                  1. re: Optimista

                                                    Sounds good - I can go anywhere in town. Slowcooked is either north or on campus, but Amy will be up on 183 and typically only has an hour flat. I've wanted to try that BBQ place in west campus, but can't remember the name. We were also discussing Nathan's.

                                                    1. re: rudeboy

                                                      West campus works. Where is Nathan's? I'm not finding it with a quick Google search.

                                                      1. re: Optimista

                                                        501 E 53rd (at Duval). You couldn't find it because it is actually called Melvin's Deli Comfort!

                                                        http://www.melvinsdelicomfort.com/

                                                        Closed Su - Tu

                                                      2. re: rudeboy

                                                        An hour flat unless on Wednesdays or if we can find some competent help...

                                                        I can go anywhere on Wednesdays.

                                                        1. re: amysuehere

                                                          Well, then we can do Wednesday 5 Nov. I'll put that on my calendar....

                                                        2. re: rudeboy

                                                          I think you're referring to Freedmen's at 2402 San Gabriel St. fedmanwalking.com has a good review of it as well as other BBQ in Austin.

                                                          1. re: crippstom

                                                            I've been dying to try Melvin's, but 53rd/Duval is just a smidge too far of a hike for me at lunch. Would you guys be okay with Freedman's or somewhere else a little further south/west than Melvin's this round? Republic of Sandwich and Fork & Taco are on my list, too...

                                                            1. re: Optimista

                                                              Understandable - sure, let's target Freedman's, RoS, or F&T on that Wednesday.

                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                I've been to Freedman's. I put it in the "new hipster restaurant" category (along with Yellow Jacket and a few others). Good, but not great; still have that younger palette - lots of fat, no real flavor.

                                                                1. re: amysuehere

                                                                  Okay - maybe slowcooked will chime in with an idea with somewhere centralish. Plenty of food truck options if the weather is nice.

                                                                  1. re: rudeboy

                                                                    Just finished a Sonora HD pineapple agua fresca. Nom-nom-nom.

                                                                    1. re: rudeboy

                                                                      another idea if we really want to hit melvin's is I could go get all the sandwiches and bring them somewhere central for a little workaday picnic. I'm just blocks away from them over at UT. Food for thought. Or, I'll go anywhere else y'all want to go. I still have to try veracruz too, and the cuban trailer on C. Chavez again. tons of stuff.

                                                                      1. re: slowcoooked

                                                                        Slowcooked, if you're game for picking up the sandwiches, I could meet you guys somewhere! Or if you guys don't mind heading south, the Veracruz outside Radio Cafe is close to my office. Or did you like the Republic of Sandwich or Fork & Taco ideas at all?

                                                                        Sadly, my Saturdays are booked solid until December, so Melvin's is going to have to wait for another day...er, month.

                                                                        1. re: Optimista

                                                                          I'm happy to do that. I'm happy to try Veracruz. Let's shoot for soon after Rudeboy gets back. I also want to try the RoS pork sammie. All are good options to me.

                                                                          1. re: slowcoooked

                                                                            Wednesday the 5th is the day - I will have to go back to CA for work again until up until Turkey Day!

                                                                    2. re: amysuehere

                                                                      we went to freedman's once and maybe it was an off night, off enough to keep us from going back probably, at least with any excitement.

                                                                  2. re: Optimista

                                                                    You know Optimista - saturday may be the Melvin's ticket for ya. But you gotta go, and do yourself the potential favor of at least going with one other person so you can split two different sammies. I'm sure you'll get takers if you pick a saturday and throw it out here.

                                                                    1. re: slowcoooked

                                                                      I thought they weren't open on the weekends.

                                                                      1. re: amysuehere

                                                                        Melvin's is closed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Other than those three days, they are open every day.

                                                                        1. re: rudeboy

                                                                          I'll have to double check - I thought they resumed on Tuesdays.

                                                                  3. re: crippstom

                                                                    Yeah, that was the one......come and join us, wherever we go.

                                                                    1. re: rudeboy

                                                                      We need to decide on a location for our Chowhound lunch this Wednesday! What say you, 'Hounders?

                                                                      1. re: Optimista

                                                                        looks like a rain event, so bringing melvin's to a picnic location may be out. Amysue, Rudeboy, y'all in? anyone else care to join? I"m game. I have about an hour ish.

                                                                        1. re: slowcoooked

                                                                          I'm good, but have a lot to do tomorrow, so I'd prefer Central to North/Northwest.

                                                                          1. re: amysuehere

                                                                            I'm good with anything - a few ideas though for a rainy cool day are soups: pozole or lamb soup at Taco More, gulas (beef stew) or veggie stew at Balkan Cafe, house chicken soup at biryani pot, i think today is chicken / dumplings at Sawyer but that's down there, they don't have soup but the smothered pork chop at Roland's is very good and melt in your mouth tender (good sides too, on Chestnut off manor). Others?

                                                                            1. re: slowcoooked

                                                                              I'm in the same boat as amysuehere as far as having a lot to do, and my office is out southwest. How about something Central nearish to MoPac? Republic of Sandwich and Fork & Taco both fit this bill. Or anything else around that area...Sarah's, Noble Sandwich, Epicerie, Pinthouse, etc.

                                                                              Also, can we meet a little late, around 12:15 or 12:30?

                                                                              1. re: Optimista

                                                                                I'm up for any of those - y'all pick.

                                                                                1. re: Optimista

                                                                                  How about Blackbird and Henry at 12:15? I've never been and the grilled cheese sounds like the perfect dish today.

                                                                                  Republic of Sandwich or Roland's would be my second choice.

                                                                                  RB, bringing my bike for you.

                                                                                    1. re: amysuehere

                                                                                      For future reference, though, Epicerie's grilled cheese & tomato soup is pretty awesome.

                                                                                      1. re: amysuehere

                                                                                        Do y'all think we can get a table inside if we go to RoS at 12:15?

                                                                                        1. re: amysuehere

                                                                                          I've never been, so don't know how crowded it gets...

                                                                                          1. re: Optimista

                                                                                            It's tiny, but we can try . . the rain will probably keep some folks away. I guess it would be easy to roll over to Noble or fork and taco if that's out.

                                                                                            maybe 20 seats-ish...

                                                                                                  1. re: Optimista

                                                                                                    Great !! see y'all there. send an email to tedmills@austin.utexas.edu if anything changes.

                                                                                                    I guess ol' Rudeboy's passed out. You joining this motley crew RB?

                                                                                                    1. re: slowcoooked

                                                                                                      Called and got no answer. Guess it's just us three. I'm wearing a blue tie-dye and driving the truck today (cuz I thought I was delivering the bike to RB).

                                                                                                      1. re: amysuehere

                                                                                                        That was fun! Thanks, amysuehere and slowcooked, for joining me for a tasty lunch. We need to do it again soon. RB, you missed out!

                                                                                                        1. re: Optimista

                                                                                                          I am so glad you Austin CH's have had your meet up. Every time there has been a new post on this thread I've been salivating thinking someone is telling me about a wonderful tasty taco.

                                                                                                          Now, get back to business.

                                                                                                          1. re: suburban_mom

                                                                                                            Suburban Mom, what's your favorite taco in Austin?

                                                                                                            1. re: slowcoooked

                                                                                                              Slowcooked -

                                                                                                              I'm from out of town and there is a lot of taco exploring for me to do. In October, I had the Pork Belly taco from TacoDeli and I had the grilled bacon wrapped jalapeño stuffed shrimp taco from Turf and Surf.

                                                                                                              That pork belly taco was pretty amazing.

                                                                                                          2. re: Optimista

                                                                                                            I'm game anytime y'all, you're great company!

                                                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?

                                                          3 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.

                                                              1. re: slowcoooked

                                                                Very good, but typocal. I think the cost was $5.50 if I remember....white bread was toasted a bit, but very soft.