500 Tacos: Casa Garcia's

 
 
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
 
Casa Garcia's
1901 W. William Cannon Drive (map), 512-441-9504, more locations at www.casagarcias.net
Hours: 7am-9pm Mon-Thu; 7am-9:30pm Fri; 7am-10pm Sat; 7am-8pm Sun
 
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 06.06.15
 
Nevermind that Casa Garcia's is part of a cookie-cutter strip mall; it’s as bright and festive as a Laredo saloon. Frontier-style gilding on the windows, ornate wood benches, bright floral paintings and Mexican pottery inside. Like any proper saloon, there’s a bar, but I’m drawn to a more important feature: the blue and white tiled kiosk up front where a pair of women pat out flour and corn tortillas by hand for all the townsfolk to see. Breakfast is served all day, and there’s a full roster of tacos a la carte from $2.20-$2.49.
 
The taco: Chipotle migas
Are migas really migas if they’re just scrambled eggs and tortilla chips? Or do they never truly become migas until you add peppers, onions and tomatoes? Traditionally, they can go either way; depends on which house you grew up. In my house, we went for a fresh chop of pico, and I’ve judged migas against that standard ever since. In Casa Garcia's, however, migas are somewhere between the two, with chips, eggs, cheese and mild ranchero sauce. The Casa’s “King of Migas” menu lets you customize with bacon, chorizo, fajita beef, even carne guisada. Chipotle migas add a smoky, robust orange sauce to the mix, and at $8.50 for a breakfast plate, they’re the cornerstone for a breakfast taco built with salty refried beans, crisp fried potatoes and those cheesy, smoky migas. You’ll get no textural boost from the damp corn tortillas mixed into the eggs, but the handmade flour tortilla outside forgives a lot.
 
 
 Tortillas: That tortilla station isn’t just a showpiece. There’s real kitchen work going on, turning out thick, oil-stained flour tortillas with real parchment tensile strength, a preparation that sacrifices layered breadiness for durability. The corn tortillas from that same station aren’t in the same showcase league, but they’re strong enough to go single layer.
 Al pastor: There’s a lot of gristled fat lingering in these red-spiced ribbons. There’s some sub-tropical twang on the finish, but the meat comes off like a hard-cooked, spiral-sliced pork chop. ($2.49)
 Salsa: Casa Garcia's table sauce is a mild tomato red from the blender, more sweet than hot. The tomatillo verde starts thick and cool, then builds to a satisfying burn.
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The 500 Tacos Project
 
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)