Thursday, July 17, 2008

Breakfast Tacos

Outside of Texas, the breakfast taco is an annomally. People think it's strange to eat eggs inside a tortilla. The concept was not so foreign to me when I first to moved to Austin a year ago. My mom would make us breakfast burritos growing up, but I was never a fan because our store-bought tortillas were always dry and the eggs were usually overcooked.

(For the record, my mom's cooking is excellent, the exception being eggs).

So after years of turning down my mom's breakfast burritos, the idea of eggs and tortillas together, well, sort of nauseated me.

But Austinites wore me down, constantly insisting I try them. I had my first breakfast taco in November, and since then, I've been hooked. I've eaten enough to make up for years of bad breakfast burritos. In all my taste tests around town, here are my favorites:

  • Maria's Taco Xpress. Maria rises out of her restaurant's reused rubble like an earth goddess beckoning the people of Austin to her Tex-Mex bounty. Literally. There is a half statue of Maria coming off the roof. I've only ever had egg, potato, and cheese breakfast tacos at Maria's, which are so good I don't want anything else when I'm there. The serving of eggs is hearty, with just enough potato and cheese to keep it balanced. I like to add a little pico de gallo for some spice. Otherwise, it's taco perfection.
  • El Chilito. I refer to El Chilito as the East Side's most glorified taco stand. That's all it it is - a taco stand. It's a bit over-rated, a bit too trendy, honestly. Go there on a Saturday or Sunday morning around 11, and all you'll see are hungover hipsters. No wonder there used to be grafitti across the street that read "Yuppies off the East Side." That aside, the breakfast tacos are good. I can get a full meal for under $4, and I appreciate all the cheese. (Unlike Maria's, El Chilito covers the eggs in cheese and it's always hot and melted.) So, yes, the overall stand is hyped up, but the breakfast tacos are delightful.
  • Juan in a Million. An East Austin staple for the last 25 years, Juan in a Million serves the mother of all breakfast tacos - the Don Juan. It's a pile of eggs, bacon, cheese, and potatoes all mashed up together and served on top of small tortilla. It's too much food for one person and you almost always have to order extra tortillas. The friendly service combined with the low price might just make it the best deal in town.

The Basics
Maria's Taco Xpress
Locations: 2529 S. Lamar Blvd., beside Walgreen's
Hours: Mon. 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tues. - Fri. 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sat. 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sun. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

El Chilito
Location: 2209 Manor Dr., intersection of Manor and Chestnut
Hours: Mon. - Fri. 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sat. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sun. 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Juan in a Million
Location: 2300 Ceasar Chavez St., intersection of Ceaser Chavez and Mildred St.
Hours: Every day 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All take major credit cards and cash

No comments: