500 Tacos: Cafe del Sol

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Cafe del Sol
6002 Jain Lane at the Southwest Key center (map), 512-583-2514, www.swkeycafedelsol.wordpress.com
Hours: 8am-2pm Mon-Fri
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 07.08.15
Southwest Key looks like a small progressive college campus in East Austin. Its mission is both more humble and just as ambitious: to give disadvantaged students and their families education and training in a safe environment. Cafe del Sol is part of that mission, a lunchroom that’s open to the public and worth supporting not just for its social service — but for good $1.50 breakfast tacos on handmade tortillas.
The taco: Eggs, potatoes and beans
Beans are the force that binds this taco together, hydrating and salting even premade eggs and chopped potatoes for a taco that’s filling and fulfilling. If you can find more breakfast taco satisfaction than this on a fresh flour tortilla for just $1.50, buy it. Better yet, supplement it with a sweet watermelon agua fresca ($2) with chunks of sandia floating among the ice.
 More breakfast: If you want your eggs scrambled to order rather than scooped from a steampan, order migas, where they’ll be joined in the pan by pico de gallo and fractious bits of fried corn tortilla for texture. It’s better than basic bacon and eggs, which came from weary pans. ($1.50 each)
 Tortillas: Floured and shiny, pliant and strong, toasted with spots like freckles on summer faces, these are some of the best handmade flour tortillas for the money — hell, any money — in this series. Corn tortillas are storebought.
 Salsa: Social-service lunchroom or not, this shop makes respectable mild red salsa fresca and hot cream-style jalapeño green.
 Programming note: Around 10:30, the kitchen shifts over to lunch, which includes burgers, sandwiches, burritos and tacos, with fillings including grilled chicken, picadillo and pork al pastor, served three street tacos to an order with rice and beans for $6.50.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)