500 Tacos: Besties
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Hours: 7am-2pm and 4:30-8pm Mon-Fri, 7am-8pm Sat, 9am-1pm Sun
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 01.31.15
APRIL 2015 UPDATE: Besties has closed
The Cuernavaca neighborhood is tough sledding for restaurants. People in this area west of Loop 360 off Bee Cave Road tend to drive into the city or head down to the Hill Country Galleria or Lakeway when they go out. A respectable place called the 263 Grill opened in 2013, paying homage to the ubiquitous phone prefix used with pride by the neighborhood lifers, but now it’s just another Austin’s Pizza outlet.
The trailer in this report — Besties — sits in the lot next door to the former 263, tucked under a corrugated steel, limestone and cedar portico with four tables and comfortable sling chairs. Besties founder Charlene Waters knows what it’s like on Cuernavaca — she ran one of the first trailers out here until it closed in 2006, a little shed called Munchies next to the self-storage lot. But Besties is more than a snack shack. There’s a breakfast menu of eggs, pancakes and tacos, and lunch includes burgers, fries, rings, BLTs and a pulled pork sandwich. At dinner, Waters might make a meatloaf plate or eggplant parmesan or chicken and dumplings. It depends.
But tacos, they’re available all day. And Charlene Waters is restless, ready to grow, and there’s an Airstream trailer in the driveway next to Besties, waiting for the market to give her the green light. Your move, Cuernavacians.
The taco: Beef fajita
A four-colored blend of sauteed bell peppers and onions is a welcome sight at a trailer. Sturdy ribbons of fajita beef would benefit from a more rustic sear to summon some grilled flavor, but the peppers fill in the corners. This would all fit better in a flour tortilla the way Waters usually does it — certainly better than it does on a single corn tortilla instead of the customary taqueria two-fer. But I like the way corn brings out a little regional accent in this thoroughly Americanized taco. ($3)
► More tacos: Waters stuffs a flour tortilla full of eggs, onions, tomatoes, corn tortilla bits and minced jalapeño for a respectable migas taco. At Besties, carne guisada is a lively mix of chopped beef, garlic and red peppers, more like a good bowl of all-beef Texas red chili than the sleepy roast beef that carne guisada usually conjures ($3 each).
► Tortillas: Storebought corn and flour, warmed on the flat-top.
► Salsa: The trailer was out of red, but a mild tomatillo green rippled with garlic.
► What comes around: In ghostly relief across the trailer’s top edge, you can just make out the letters for Karma Taco, the defunct Riverside taqueria that used to call this trailer home.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)