How important are breakfast tacos to Austin, Texans? Let me tell you a story about a buddy named Scott.
A hefty dude, Scott announced last year that he was giving breakfast tacos up for lent; for 40 days, he’d have to make something else for breakfast.
One morning midway through, a roommate came downstairs to find Scott working mad science in the kitchen. On the counter he’d assembled five plates, each holding its own ingredient: bacon, potatoes, grated cheese, flour tortillas and scrambled eggs.
Says the roommate, “Dude was taking a bite of bacon, putting the strip down, then grabbing a fork and going after the eggs!”
Even in the face of Easter Sunday’s sanctitude, you simply cannot deny a man his breakfast tacos.
Drive down any major street in Austin, Texas, and you’re liable to find one store, truck or trailer peddling breakfast tacos by the double: the ideal quantity for nursing a morning hangover. They come in all shapes and sizes.
Maudies makes their tacos compact, tiny enough to stick one in your pants pocket and walk out the door if you’re ever hungover enough to make such a strange decision. They also cook their ingredients together, so what you’re getting has a content integration more like an omelet than what you’d find at other shops.
Torchy’s believes in overstuffing, throwing chile, guacamole and escabeche carrots into what’s already a pretty quantifiable mix. Holding one is like holding a raw, hot steak; you can feel the deadweight.
The place in town with the best bang for your buck may be Hyde Park’s Julio’s Cafe, which, fortunately, is less than a five minute bike ride from my house. Selling for $2.50, Julio’s serves overstuffed tacos with your choice of three main ingredients — with extra ingredients tacked on at $.50 a piece. Shop owner Estella Lucero says that they make about 300 tacos every weekend morning, and that the secret to their success boils down to three main components: Freshness, Congealment, and Potatoes. For those trying at home, take Lucero’s ideals to heart.
On Freshness: “The chorizo that we use, we make it. I think that’s really important. We buy cheese in blocks and grate it ourselves. Fresh, fresh, fresh. We don’t skimp. They’re a good size. They’re almost like burritos.”
On Congealment: “I think it holds better when it’s warm. Sometimes you’ll get a hamburger, and the lettuce and tomato and onion are falling off. I think it’s because [those ingredients] are served cold. The beans, the potatoes, the cheese; everything on our breakfast tacos stays together.”
On Potatoes: “The potato is kind of like rice. It’s a little bit of a filler, but it’s very natural. It’s not like some of these meats or hamburgers that have fillers.”
More about tacos on Food Republic.