It was time to recalibrate. I’d been eating all over town from the top Mexican chefs in Austin, but something was missing. I’d had great salsa, incredible mole, killer queso…but there was this nagging doubt that I’d somehow been led astray.

Time to revisit the Queen.

Montopolis is alive. The laundry mat is bustling. The busy intersection of Felix and Vargas is jammed with lowriders and sedans; nearby yard sales are abuzz; the Sunday morning sun is beating down; fires are kindling; two neo-bohemians sit under the nearby lavanderia’s overhang.

When your food truck gets featured on an Anthony Bourdain TV show you can expect such things.

And in the middle of it all sits El Taco Rico. Ground zero for the best Mexican food in Austin.

That’s why we’re calling it the best food truck in Austin in 2013

The potato and egg taco arrives on a freshly-griddled, pillowy corn tortilla. I don’t bother with either of the two splendid salsas. I dive straight into this: the humblest of all tacos; just eggs, potatoes and pressed masa.

It is divine.

A chorizo and egg taco follows. The bright orange chorizo is clearly handmade, and of a generous portion. The egg a testament to the common hen. I actually take a moment and apply a daub of green sauce and the taco sings hosannas.

I’m completely stuffed but soldier on and tack into a barbacoa taco. The signal event of La Monita closing two years ago meant that El Taco Rico chef Yolanda Sanchez Cornejo could occupy the slow-cooked beef cheek throne alone. There is none finer in Austin. Deep, funky and ribboned with fat, this taco could swagger into San Antonio and hold its own.

Austin is drowning in food trucks. Entrepreneurs can go fat cat-style and drop 50-60k on a mobile kitchen or keep it real, do the build-out themselves, and crest out around 20 large. In other words, it’s a path toward ownership that many people can walk down.

In a country that has had 44 presidents there has only been one queen. And her name is Yolanda Sanchez Cornejo, owner and head chef at El Taco Rico; the apogee of Mexican dining in Austin, Texas.

Last year’s winner

Breaking news coming out of the Austin pizza world. Macaulay Culkin’s rock band The Pizza Underground is set to perform at Breakpoint at the Boardwalk for the grand opening of the Unconventional Oven food truck.

As is the custom of all au courant food businesses in Austin, the Unconventional Oven (a pizza truck) will be focused on using locally sourced ingredients: local pepperoni, local olives, local mushrooms?

We are hopeful.

January 31, 2014


Who’s up for 125lbs of meat?

Smoked hog meat to be precise. Chef Raymond Tatum’s massive pork injector will be working overtime over the next couple days as he rams home a blend of Sambal chile sauce, salt, brown sugar and a few other secret Asiatic seasonings-straight into a heritage pig via the good butchers at Salt And Time.

Anybody who’s supped at one of Tatum’s pig roasts knows that, outside Louisiana, there is none finer.

Expect big plates of perfectly cooked pig with a host of sides like brussel sprouts, grits and gorgonzola bacon mac and cheese.

Ponder that for a moment: gorgonzola bacon mac and cheese.

Party starts at 5pm on Saturday December 14th 2013, right behind East End Wines.

Dash into East End and ask sommelier Sam what sort of bottle he would recommend pairing with the pig. The man is at the top of the wine game in Austin, and can happily sell you a thirty dollar bottle that will taste like you dropped a hundred.

Hope to see y’all out.

more Austin food truck coverage

We can’t give up our secret source, but our number 2 is so good and so much better than 99% of tamales commercially available in the Austin area we could be put up on charges if we failed to share.

MarLira Creations of Coupland, Texas puts out long, fat, machine-extruded tamales packed with pork and genuine chile heat, and we always add bonus points if we buy anything out of the back of a pick-up truck on a wind-swept county road.

Which is how we came to find MarLira Creations. On a day trip out of Austin, hammering up 95 north of Elgin, on a hard roll toward Palestine to score a plate of ribs from Shep’s Barbecue.

The company website

and our original piece on MarLira–Roadtrip-Edition—MarLira-Creations-Saturday-March-19th-2011

One year ago today we took a look at our favorite source for goat tacos in Travis County, Texas

It’s been a lot of fun rolling back through our archives for this series. If Scrumptious Chef was a proper book it would be over 1000 pages long and would contain over 1500 photographs.

Brand new food trailer on Manor Road directly across from Hoover’s Home Cooking. As is my custom, I visited when they were closed. A man had crawled up underneath the trailer and was repairing something so I stuck my head underneath to badger a few details out of him. The chef served some time at Thai Kitchen, the mystifyingly popular restaurant on Guadalupe. We’re not going to hold that against her though. Maybe now that she has her own joint she’ll blossom and shake off the dull, flavorless ennui that’s the trademark of her former employer.

For the past fifteen years we’ve been slaves to Surin at Little Thailand, but we don’t always have time to drive 15 miles to Garfield for our Yom Nua fix.

Where are y’all going in Austin-proper to eat Thai food? And please refrain from recommending Titaya’s as we’ve never been impressed with their output. Yes, they’re packed night in and night out but their food lacks that gustatory punch that we look for when seeking the best Thai.


more food truck articles

We’re not sure what the open date will be as Austin Daily Press website domain has expired, but signage is up on the building directly behind The Wet Whistle at the intersection of E. MLK and Chicon.

With Adam Bryan’s tiny cocktail bar Motel slated to open on the same block, East Austin is getting more interesting by the minute.

More on Adam Bryan

More on Wet Whistle

Vast, sprawling, comprehensive Austin food truck coverage right this way

Here’s a sneak peek of Tony Bourdain, hanging out with Daniel Vaughn at John Mueller Barbecue in South Austin. Premium beef chuck rib porn alert:

Vaughn’s Texas bbq site

and even more Texas barbecue

It’s pronounced Meller, by the way y’all.