500 Tacos: Donut Taco Palace III

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Donut Taco Palace III
6214 N. Lamar Blvd. (map), 512-997-8113, more locations at www.donuttacopalaceinaustin.com
Hours: 6am-2pm daily
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 02.04.15
Donut Taco? A typo. Let me fix that: Do Not Taco. Doughnut shops all over Austin are banking on the alchemy of these two separate-but-equal breakfast cornerstones. Some of the doughnut-taco magic is bright and beautiful; some of it is dark and fearsome to behold. This is the second one.
The taco: Donut Taco
Remember: I didn’t call this thing a Donut Taco. Donut Taco Palace called this thing a Donut Taco. Not technically a taco at all, but breakfast wrapped in a bloated pancake of spongy dough like a shawl of grease and regret. As doughy and plain as a damp hot dog bun, it’s a doughnut with the happiness removed. And while the eggs, bacon and cheese are serviceably cooked, they can’t salvage the lost joy of breakfast at the doughnut shop. ($4)
 Tacos without doughnuts: If the Donut Taco is a trainwreck, these are the cars that derailed behind it. As a control taco, I experimented with a pre-wrapped potato and egg breakfast taco ($1.69). I don’t take food out of my mouth very often, but this tasted worse than just old. Two red flags: 1) I couldn’t peel the thing open without a fork. 2) Potatoes aren’t supposed to be bluish gray. An al pastor taco made to order didn’t do much better. The tough orange meat delivered unchewable gristle in every bite ($2.50).
 Doughnuts without tacos: Glazed, iced, filled, caked, cinnamon-ed. The gang’s all here, with colors that look faded by the sun that seems to punish this storefront all morning, bouncing off the orange paint and pressboard tables like a tanning booth. The glazed doughnut is a pale winter sunbather gone fluffy through the midsection, with a respectable dough-to-glaze ratio. From that mother glazed comes the jarring Technicolor spawn of “cherry” iced with coconut, and a whimsically icky chocolate iced doughnut, sprinkled with Fruity Pebbles for a metabolic Bam-Bam (ask your grandparents). The Palace makes a respectable blueberry cake doughnut, small but tall, like a blueberry muffin iced with Starburst.
 Tortillas: At least the five-inch commercial flour tortillas are actually made of tortillas.
 Salsa: One is hot, one is not, both are red and both love salt the way a doughnut loves glaze.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)