500 Tacos: El Paisa

An Austin taco a day for 2015 — and then some
El Paisa
3600 S. Congress Ave. in La Moreliana’s lot, Austin (map). Hours: 7pm-2am daily
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 08.29.15
In the land of the midnight taco, sometimes you have to dance. Taquerias, they dance with trailers, and the dance goes like this: A convenience store or a grocer runs a taqueria counter during the day, then a taco trailer in the parking lot takes over for the night shift. Such is the case at La Moreliana #1, where the taqueria operates from 7 in the morning until El Paisa kicks on its neon lights for the night shift at 7 p.m.
The taco: Alambre
El Paisa doesn’t make its own tortillas, but these thin, greasy flour tortillas are a different kind of storebought, almost transparent to begin with, a situation that grows clearer with each minute they’re exposed to the equally greasy beef, grilled peppers and melted queso. A hot mess of lean and fat and oil and sear, a foldable stir-fry. ($2)
 Campechanos and beef fajita: The beauty of the hybrid campechanos is that you can pair any two meats and call them traveling companions. Suadero and chorizo sounds promising, but what’s supposed to be suadero is indistinguishable from the tougher bistec/fajita of the other tacos, and the chorizo is the kind you’ll be thinking about the next day, and for the wrong reasons. The fajita taco has it even worse, all sinew and no sizzle, without the top dress of the fancier alambre to save it. ($2 each, with avocado and melted queso blanco)
 Tripas: Don’t know what I expected from $2 worth of small intestine, but if you’re reading this, I’m still chewing it. An Everlasting Gobstopper of Offal. ($2 with cheese and avocado)
 Tortillas: Flour and small, doubled-up yellow corn tortillas from a bag. A greasy, greasy bag.
 Salsa: Even the chile de arbol gets in the oil business, but it brings a little heat with it. Apply the clean green tomatillo liberally. The acid will make the oil stains easier to wash out.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)