Friday, January 7, 2011

Austin Tacos, Part One: Taco Deli

On the Monday after Christmas, Louisa and I sneaked off to Austin Java to drink copious amounts of coffee and try to write at least a little. Louisa succeeded in both respects; I kind of slacked off in the latter.

After coffee and writing, we decided we needed something delicious for lunch. I mentioned that I really wanted to try some tacos while I was in town, and Louisa immediately determined that we should check out Taco Deli, her mom's absolute favorite. And so we headed out, bound for Taco Deli's newest location, north of its original digs south of the river.

Luckily, we were a bit late for lunch and managed to avoid what Louisa swears are the typically epic lines. We walked right up and ordered five tacos: veggie, al pastor and Cowboy for me, fish and a special sweet potato taco for Louisa.

We grabbed a few of the signature salsas (including the famous, bright green Doma sauce), sat down and opened our Mexican Cokes. What's Mexican Coke, you ask? It's Coke made with sugar cane instead of corn syrup, and it is insanely delicious. I've never liked regular Coke, because I always thought it tasted too artificial, but this? This was heaven.

But on to the tacos. My veggie taco was fine - the tortilla was tasty, but the filling was, essentially, unremarkable. Spiced up with a little Doma, it was good, but nothing to write home about. Now, my two other tacos? Were stellar. The al pastor (pork cooked in a special sauce, topped with chopped onion and a touch of cilantro) was fantastic - smoky and rich almost to a fault, just as it should be. And the Cowboy taco (steak with caramelized onions, crema, corn, tomato salsa and queso fresca) was just as tasty. An excellent combination of meaty, cheesy and vegetal - everything you want in a taco, frankly.

Louisa's tacos were similarly tasty. The Mojo Fish taco is, in a word, awesome. It has just the right balance of acid and meat, and goes down almost too quickly. The special taco, made with roasted sweet potatoes and topped with pumpkin seeds, was autumnal perfection. I especially liked this one when spiked with a healthy amount of the spicy Doma - the contrasting kick really did it for me.

In short, if you are in search of delicious, mostly-traditional-but-slightly-updated tacos, and you're lucky enough to be in Austin? I highly recommend a stop at Taco Deli. Highly, highly, highly.

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