No Taco Left Behind in Austin
(Photo: Urban Sea Star)
You could call it excessive, even gluttonous. I like to call it the best decision I made over the course of my 72-hour trip to Austin, Texas—my resolution to exclusively eat tacos for every meal, leaving no taco behind in the Weird City.
What I learned upon landing here is that the combination of music-lovers, aging hippies, tech geeks, and a vibrant Latino population has created a place that just understands the taco. In Austin, the taco is widely considered to be the perfect meal…not just for dinner time, but for any time. A taco at 7 a.m. is held in as high esteem as the one eaten later in the evening.
Consuming 21 tacos in just three days may not be your thing. Lucky for you, I took one for the team so, if you do want to indulge in one, two, or even three tacos in Austin, you will be able to choose the taco that is right for you. You’re welcome.
Chicken tacos at La Condensa. (Photo: Despi Ross)
The Fancy Tacos: The carnitas pork tacos at La Condesa, one of Austin’s most celebrated modern Mexican restaurants may cost $12 for two teeny tiny tacos, but don’t let their size fool you. The crispy pork shoulder taco smothered in fermented black beans, tomatillo-avocado salsa crudo, baby arugula, mixed radish, and queso cotija is one of the tastiest treats you will ever try and well worth the price and a small wait to get a table on a Friday night.
400 West 2nd Street
The Fish Tacos You Can’t Live Without (Part 1): “Get the black cod,” the ruddy-faced gentleman behind the counter of Turf & Surf Po-Boy drawled with intention. “It’s fresh.” When I cocked my head, he amended his statement. “It’s all fresh, but that came in an hour ago,” he replied sheepishly. After grabbing one black cod and one blackened catfish, I settled into a table next to locals happily competing in a makeshift skee-ball tournament. Both the buttery cod and spicy catfish were perfectly complemented by the exact right amount of cilantro, tomatoes, and onions. Part po’boy, part taco (a hybrid I can actually get behind), with enough heft that you might need two hands to shovel it in your mouth, these were among the best fish tacos of my life.
The Taco that Will Make you Look Five-Months Pregnant: I found myself at Juan in a Million by virtue of the fact that I cannot resist a bad pun and will support any place where breakfast is served all day long. I left over an hour later, conquering just one taco, the Don Juan, a breakfast taco of epic proportions that includes a full pound of potatoes, eggs, bacon, and cheese wrapped in three tortillas just to rein it all in.