Thursday, February 10, 2011

Taco-Mex: Aqui se venden tacos

The taco — one of the world's greatest creations. How does one improve on the idea that is the sandwich: two pieces of bread, some meat and some sauce of one kind or other? I posit they take the filling and wrap it in a tortilla. One of my favorite things about visiting Monterrey, Mexico is when my friend's mom makes tacos from the leftover barbecue we always eat. In fact I have trouble finding a satisfying taco north of the border; decent taco places are few and far between for me. Our subject today, Taco-Mex on Manor Road, is most definitely one of my favorite places in Texas for a taco.

The owners of Taco-Mex are from Monterrey, Mexico or Nuevo Leon at least, which may explain why I love their take on tacos as dearly as I do. All of their meat is well seasoned, the tortillas nice and tender. Their salsa verde (green sauce) may just be the best I have had, other than that made by anyone in my friend Patricia's family. The spice is just right and doesn't drown out the other flavors in the salsa, nor does it over power your palate and the meat in the tacos.

We were joined this time by our close friends Colby and Janai as well as their son Josiah, who is like a nephew to me. I ordered one picadillo, one barbacoa and one migas taco. Picadillo, a mixture of ground beef, onion, potatoes and spices, is one of my favorite dishes. The seasoning is perfect, the potatoes soft, in all a well balanced dish, I love it.

Barbacoa- So good I couldn't wait for Matt to take a picture!
Their barbacoa is perfectly tender with just a little sweetness from the meat and topped with a great pico de gallo salsa. What is barbacoa, I hear some of you wondering? Barbacoa, at least on this side of the border, is the meat from the cheeks of a cow, braised to perfection. Some folks will tell you barbacoa is a whole sheep, slow roasted in a pit overnight, which is also fantastic. So who is right? Well I put this to you: in Spain a tortilla is an omelet, not a flour or corn flat bread, so it really depends who you are talking to, doesn't it?

The migas were wonderful, a mix of tortillas, jalapeños, cheese and eggs also called chilaquiles in various regions of Mexico (there is that regional food naming again). These are good, the eggs not too wet or too dry and the jalapeños are a nice touch. And the chips are added in right at the end so that they stay just a touch crunchy.

Carne Guisada
We also tried the carne guisada plate. The plate comes with re-fried beans, rice, and of course the carne guisada. Carne guisada is simply beef stew. At Taco-Mex it is rich, flavorful and just a touch spicy. The meat is cubed and slow cooked in the sauce until it is nicely tender. The beans are made, as any proper refried beans are, with a little lard to fry them. The result is a rich and slightly meaty flavor. I have always felt that carne guisada is usually a good measure of the quality of a Mexican restaurant and this is some of the best. The carne guisada at Tacomex tastes like home cooking: simple and full of flavor. 

So, how are the prices at Taco-Mex? All breakfast tacos are $1.75 and all lunch tacos $2. You can have a tasty lunch for about 5 bucks, so prices are fantastic to answer the question. All things said, if you want an authentic Mexican taco this is the place to go get it.

AFJ Rating: 4 Lone Star Points

2611 Manor Road
Austin, TX 78722

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