We love this line from Veracruz All Natural taco dynasty owner Reyna Myers: “Fear is the only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams”

Reyna Vazquez was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico when she opened a tiny fruteria on Cesar Chavez in Austin, Texas over 10 years ago.

That micro-operation would go on to birth a sprawling taco-based dynasty that now includes three food trucks, and two brick and mortar operations.

If you like scratch Mexican cooking, and live in Austin you’ve probably stood in line at one of her bustling businesses.

Do you have 11 minutes? Watch the short doc above, and see how one lady is living the American dream.

In February of this year we penned an article outlining the closure of Maria’s Taco Xpress. In a new development owner Maria Corbalan has decided to keep her restaurant open in spite of announcing “I haven’t paid myself a salary in a whole year. Why? Because I have to give it to the tax people.”

Perpetually busy Maria’s Taco Xpress is not closing. Breathe easy South Austin.

San Antonio's Taco Hand Is Strong

San Antonio’s Taco Hand Is Strong

The taco showdown between San Antonio and Austin went off today in the Texas state capital but there was a problem. No Austin taquerias showed up for the fight.

Hang your head in shame Austin. Just because your finest taquera, Yolanda Sanchez Cornejo, is no longer in the game doesn’t mean you have to run scared from a challenge by your southern neighbor. Continue Reading

The Scrumptious Chef crew straight up ran the pop up restaurant scene when we lived in Austin, Texas. Our feasts were legendary and we regularly sold out every venue we appeared in but we never had the wherewithal to try and pull off a liquor bar pop up.

An alcohol license was too high dollar.

SXSW Frida Kahlo Pop Up

SXSW Frida Kahlo Pop Up

The entrepreneurs behind Tamale House East are now segueing into the world of liquor with Austin’s first ever alcohol-based pop up: a new concept called Bar Frida, an homage to Frida Kahlo who legendarily loved a good tipple now and again.

And they’ve got the liquor license to do it.

Expect daily tequila-based punches using fresh squeezed fruit juices, craft beer from heavyweights like Saint Arnold, Hops and Grain and Austin Beer Works as well as crazy shot and a beer specials for the blue collar workers who frequent Tamale House East.

Alcohol is all well and good but a top flight Mexican bar will always offer food.

Yani Diaz Smith, head cook at the Tamale House #3 on Airport Blvd will be preparing a special menu for the SXSW crowds that grew accustomed to visiting Bobby Vasquez’s (RIP) legendary, now-closed restaurant.

Does this mean that Diaz Smith will be bringing back some of the iconic Tamale House #3 menu items like brisket tacos, barbacoa and carnitas?

If so we may have to pile in the Econoline and roll back over to Austin for a day or two to soak in some old 1970s style Tex Mex and daydream about the groover’s paradise that no longer exists.

Bar Frida will take over the back bar that abuts the rear patio at Tamale House East during SXSW. Opening day is Saturday March 14th 2015 at noon and the bar will be open noon til Midnight each day through the 21st.

Bar Frida inside Tamale House East
1707 E 6th Street
Austin, Texas 78702


Where to buy the best tamales in Central Texas? This is the question we field relentlessly at this time of year.

Go behind the scenes at Tamale House East as the merry band of tamaleras over that way churn out thousands and thousands of some of the finest tamales in Central Texas.

And part one of our Best Tamales In Central Texas series in comments below

From time to time we like to present one of the purveyors that we use for our ongoing pop up restaurant series. Since our Texas Women event is beef heavy, we got in touch with the good butchers at Salt and Time to procure some Certified Angus for our Texas Red Chili and Texas Hot Guts sausage.

In an interview on the Zagat website, Salt and Time owner/butcher Ben Runkle explained Evans Farm thusly: “Ninety percent of our beef is coming from Evans Farm in Proctor, Texas,

They are 100 percent registered Black Angus, and they are primarily raised for their genetics.

When a beef rancher wants to improve the quality of their herd, they buy breeding stock and bull semen from these guys.

We are pretty much the only people buying from them for meat.

The carcasses are dry aged for two weeks before we get them and we dry age them further.

Because we buy whole carcasses, we don’t use any one particular cut for grinding…. We refer to the burger as ‘single origin’ because unlike most ground beef, its all from one animal and butchered right here.”

(ed note: when you buy a pound of ground beef from a standard grocery store that packet may have the meat from a dozen different cows all blended together. Think about that for a second)

I’d venture to say that we’ll have the only menu in Austin on Saturday night (November 16th 2013) featuring Texas Red Chili and Texas Hot Guts sausage made with this caliber beef.

Reserve a seat for our food party at Tamale House East here https://www.eventbrite.com/event/8903844639?ref=estw

UPDATE: the attached flyer erroneously says Nov 4 when they meant Dec 4.


Curious about the agave plantations of Mexico? Wondering about rural burros uncanny genetic gps systems? Then the University of Texas is throwing a party with your name on it.

Lucinda Hutson, author Of ¡Viva Tequila! Cocktails, Cooking, and Other Agave Adventures is hosting an event Wednesday December 4th at Benson Latin American Collection, Sid Richardson Hall (SRH) 1.108 on UT’s campus.

After a vigorous discussion of our beloved southern neighbor’s tequila industry there will be a tequila tasting provided by Dulce Vida Tequila!

The party will be further fueled by dj t-kay of KOOP 91.7 fm’s “Hip Hop Hooray”

Cartography, tequila, live dj…this shindig has Scrumptious Chef written all over it.

Hope to see y’all out.