500 Tacos: El Super Taco
An Austin taco a day for 2015 — and then some
El Super Taco
2005 E. Oltorf St. in the D/H Car Wash lot, Austin (map), 512-203-4932
Hours: 7:30pm-1am Sun-Thu; 7:30pm-4am Fri-Sat
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 09.11.15
At this carwash taco trailer, I’m thinking of Lord Byron. As one does. “She walks in beauty like the night,” to be specific. Because this trailer, a rusting and road-stained hulk of a thing in the daylight when it’s closed, changes when the sun goes down and the “open” sign comes on. The cosmetic flaws fade into shades of dusk, leaving only the light from the kitchen window, where a choreographed group of women cooks down great mounds of pastor and bistec on the flat-top. Bathed in that fluorescent glow, an employee walks the line of working men, married couples and a lone güeralita on a fixed-gear bike, writing orders on a pad. And somehow in the racket and haloed glare, it’s beautiful.
Taco A: Deshebrada
It’s hard to visualize the subtlety that goes into braised and shredded beef happening in the cacophony of a busy late-night trailer. But here it is, like a 12-hour brisket pulled and soaked in a reduced stew of sweet tomatoes and chiles. One of the best bargains in this series at $1.50.
► The beauty of the $1.50 taco: There have been other $1.50 tacos in this series, at places like Las Trancas and Takeria DF. But they’ve been the tiny street tacos of Mexico City, on 3-inch corn tortillas. El Super Taco supersizes the equation, with full-on pastor, deshebrada, steak, pollo, barbacoa, ham and chorizo tacos for $1.50.
Taco B: Gringa de pastor
How do you make a regular taco super? Add melted white cheese, fill it with pastor, fold it over, toast it like a quesadilla and call it a gringa. The cheese holds the gnarled orange pork and grilled onions together and bounces off the sweet twang of cooked chunks of pineapple. The toasted crackle of the flour tortilla makes this a grilled cheese like a half-moon over Mexico City. ($1.75)
► Campechanos: Maybe it’s the Byron thing happening again, with the night and the noise, but this greasy, chewy, chile-spiced union of chorizo and bistec tastes like a good choice for a change. ($2)
► Tortillas: Corn and flour tortillas both come from a bag, but the flour tortillas are toasted to a welcome speckled brown on the grill.
► Salsa: Three half-hotel pans of escabeche line the counter, one with pickled pink onions and radish, one with onion and habanero and another with whole jalapeños, sliced onions and nickel-sized carrots. Free for the taking, and more abundant than a lot of salsa bars at fancier places. Squeeze bottles on the picnic tables hold a desperately rusty chile de arbol and a salty, mild cream-style jalapeño verde.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)