It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since Austin was gifted with the cuisine of Marisela Godinez of El Meson. We’ve spent our lives prowling around warehouse districts of cities from Cincinnati to Lubbock and that’s how we found the little wood frame building on Burleson Road that set Austin’s taco hounds on their ears way back in 2001. Chef Godinez made her mark serving exotics like huitlacoche {corn smut} as well as more common taqueria foods like chilorio and cochinita pibil. We ranted and raved about the joint on Chowhound along with Tom In Austin and MPH and the business saw a steady uptick til empire status was reached and she opened a second, fancy location on South Lamar.

No resting on laurels for the good chef at her now 2 year old joint in South Austin either. The tortillas are made from scratch and utilized to good effect via the deep fryer, where they’re transformed into totopos to be served with a handful of fresh salsas. Pro tip: order the guacamole and chips and salsa will magically appear. Otherwise you’re going to pony up for what used to be the Texas Birthright.

You haven’t lived til you’ve had Godinez green mole. It’s the finest in Austin and ably showcases the chef’s df style wizardry in the kitchen. All this talent on the range has enabled the chef to build a small empire. Along with the 2 El Mesons, she and her husband and brother in law also run La Reyna, an institution of Tex Mex on South First Street.

We fantasize about starting the day with breakfast tacos on Burleson Road then popping into La Reyna for carne guisada at lunch time and finishing the day with margaritas and chile relleno en nogada for supper at the South Lamar location. A Mexican triple play without ever leaving the warm bosom of one of the most talented cooks in town: Marisela Godinez.

further Austin Daily Photos

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