500 Tacos: Arturo’s Border Cafe

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Arturo’s Border Cafe
11815 Ranch Road 620 N. (map), 512-358-1063. Hours: 7am-3:30pm Tue-Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 07.15.15
There’s good karma in this spot on 620, the same untidy little strip center where people once stood in line for the Noble Pig. There’s no one standing in line for Arturo’s. And while they’re not doing groundbreaking work here, the breakfast tacos are worth mentioning for sheer size, and it’s cool, clean and friendly here in the shadow of the Pig.
The taco: Carne guisada
Not all carne guisada is roast beef strangling in brown gravy. Arturo’s goes smaller on the beef tips and lighter on the gravy, allowing for a steak taco experience with the saturated flavor benefits of guisada. It’s served on an 8-inch flour tortilla with lettuce, pico and cilantro, a heavy value at $2.95.
 “The Works”: So many shops have a variation on this, the pre-imagined everything bagel of the taqueria world. Built for anybody who’s equal parts hungry and indecisive, it folds in a barnyard of eggs, cheese, chorizo, bacon, sausage and potato. It’s good, so far as it goes. And it goes a long way, bringing serious weight to a 10-inch flour tortilla. But it’s a hot, salty mess, and I ordered it only out of frustration after efforts to “Build Your Own” hit three dead ends: the first ingredients I asked for were either gone or off the menu, which is at best a rough guide to what they actually have. ($3.95)
 Migas: The menu’s an imperfect map, so I went offroad for a migas taco. It’s a homogenous mass of egg, cheese and pico, with soft corn tortillas melted into the DNA, missing the textural point of migas in the first place. Another space filler. ($3.25)
 Tortillas: Big commercial-grade flour tortillas. Storebought corn on request.
 Salsa: Arturo’s makes an excellent molcajete red salsa, thick with tomatoes and peppers and garlic. The calm, tart tomatillo green is equally good.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)