In anticipation of our sweeping, year-end review of Austin dining we’ve been revisiting the cream of the crop from years past to affirm or deny their place in the pantheon.
El Taco Rico continues to put out the best Mexican platters in town.
Yolanda Sanchez Cornejo is still the queen. There are plenty good Mexican restaurants in Austin, but we’re sadly lacking for great ones. While San Antonio is chock a block with greatness, Austin’s the weak sister, knock-kneed, sling shot in her back pocket hustling along on a trike with a flat tire-can’t keep up.
The reason’s are manifold: mediocrity is celebrated at taquerias across town as cash registers bulge with greenbacks while cooks in the back break open another crate of plastic bag tortillas and turn The Sword up just a little bit louder. Why bother cooking from scratch when you can get rich half-assing it?
Alternately, shrewd businessmen in the Mexican food biz hire high dollar interior designers who put smart money in amber lighting and dress their barkeeps up like it’s 1935 to fleece folks who eat with their eyes before their bellies.
It’s the emperor wears no clothes theory and it’s put to good use on a nightly basis in our fair city.
Yolanda’s still the queen.
I recently found the time to watch the No Reservations Austin episode that aired a couple months ago. There sat Tony Bourdain, in my chair, at the laundry mat, waiting for Yolanda’s otherworldly mourning dove enchiladas. Lord only knows how he found out about El Taco Rico. I reckon that’s the power of the internet.