A group of wait staff broke out into a ranchera when they learned it was a customer’s birthday. There was clapping. The clapping spread. As did the singing. To my left was a photo of Vicente Fernandez, the king of ranchera music. In front of me, at Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop in East Austin, was a platter of incredible breakfast tacos, flawless homemade flour tortillas—thick without being dense, fluffy without being mistaken for an old pillow—and all. Within one envelope was snappy dredged in flour bacon, firm eggs that bore a sheen, the heavy-handed spread of captivating refried beans. The pictured round breakfast sausage patties are one of only a couple of items not made in-house, but they have to be on the menu. Reportedly, sausage patties are among the first ingredients placed in a tortilla in Texas to create a breakfast taco.
There are myriad theories on the origins and appropriate composition of breakfast tacos. Some believe that Austin can rightfully claim Texas’ favorite day starter. This declaration is justified, they insist, because Austin is where the breakfast taco was perfected and popularized. Support is found in food writers in cities like New York who slap the qualifier “Austin-style” before mentioning our homegrown staple, tourists who return to their hometowns oohing and ahhing about them, and Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop. Continue reading
Breakfast in Texas means tacos, and breakfast has been on my mind a lot lately. So, I’d thought I’d offer my current top 10 places for the proper way to begin a day—anywhere, not just in the Lone Star State.
Taqueria La Salsa Verde
Although its appearance shows otherwise, the taquera working this Richardson gas-station counter claims the taco de cabeza (above) is prepared al vapor. Whatever its preparation, the taco is still excellent. Which is really all that matters to me first thing in the morning. The choriqueso is the cabeza’s equal. 14225 Coit Road, 972-330-0403
The chorizo and cheese at this South Congress shack offers buckshot heat in a large tortilla, giving any road trip a fiery start. 4406 S. Congress Ave., Austin, 512-443-9308 Continue reading
Filed under Austin, Best of, breakfast tacos, DFW, East Dallas, North Texas, Oak Cliff, Plano, Richardson, San Antonio, Tex-Mex, Texas
My quest for taco knowledge and great tacos is a multifaceted one. There are just so many types of tacos developed during millennia of history to maintain an unwavering focus. Lately, I’ve been fascinated by tacos of the fish and puffy variety, and during a trip to Austin for the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, a friend and I got to indulge in some of the latter at Vivo.
A restaurant surrounded by a dusty lot along Manor Road—one of two locations—near standard-bearer El Chilito, Vivo is difficult to enter. Don’t go around the front. Turn to the rear of the eatery in a converted bungalow. Then, find a business easy to enjoy your first time.
The interior dining room is dominated by warm burgundy, contemporary art and a labyrinth to the graffiti bombed bathroom. It’s a lounge space for delectable Tex-Mex: cheese enchiladas, fajitas or chile con queso. Outside, where my lunch companion and I sat, was a verdant space filled with mosaic tile-topped cafe tables, wobbly metal chairs, plotted ferns, evergreens, vines and succulents concealed from the street, all the better for us to enjoy our puffy tacos. Continue reading