I came for the soup.
I stayed for the tacos.
I heard through the grapevine that Tamale House East was going to be running a chicken tortilla soup special this weekend so I made my way with great haste down to 6th street this morning to get in on some before the hordes had their way with it. Mexican soul food.
The narrative of the soup will be established via separate channels as this article concerns itself with the cochinita pibil taco; the finest I ever had in Austin.
The dish is tricky. It’s supposed to taste like Christmas morning in Xalapa but too often it tastes like an unholy marriage between a pig and a fruitcake. At Tamale House East the buttery soft pork bespeaks the hand of a skilled cocinera. Tender shreds of fragrant hog meat are stuffed into an El Milagro yellow corn tortilla then garnished with scratch guacamole and pickled purple onions.
I’m trying to remember the last time I had a taco this good in Austin. Had the tortilla been made from scratch I would’ve only had one recourse: Find out the marital status of the cook. Much like the banana pudding lady at Wright’s Cafeteria in Knoxville, I’m certain she’s married but I’d go to my grave a wondering if I didn’t at least ask.