500 Tacos: Güero’s Taco Bar

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Güero’s Taco Bar
1412 S. Congress Ave. (map), 512-447-7688, www.guerostacobar.com
Hours: 11am-10pm Mon-Wed; 11am-11pm Thu-Fri; 8am-11pm Sat; 8am-10pm Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 03.16.15
The President of the United States of America is a helluva PR rep. In 1995, President Bill Clinton stopped at Güero’s, and the food he ate became forever thereafter marked with his brand: El Presidente. A beef taco, a chicken taco, guacamole, rice and beans and a tamale. In the days before tabletop photography, only a president wielded that kind of power. Now anybody with a smartphone can name a plate after themselves. Behold El Mike: Which is really just El Presidente. Because who am I to second-guess the Leader of the Free World?
The taco: Presidential beef
Sirloin tries to be all things to all people: juicy, steak-y, lean, frugal. It’s egalitarian, bipartisan beef. And Güero’s cuts it into representative pieces, cooked medium, of course. (I’d say “moderate,” but my Dad might be reading this.) It makes a solid American taco filling, ready for amendments: Handmade corn tortilla, pico de gallo, jalapeños. Sure, I could have elected to showcase the Presidente plate’s chicken al carbon taco, all roasty and tender with a cinnamon pantry of spices. But it’s kind of red, and we don’t talk about politics at the table. ($11.79 for the El Presidente plate; $3.75 for a beef taco by itself)
 Vice Presidente: Al pastor is the third party of the Güero’s table, the maverick who stays true to its chewy values, unafraid to dip into the pork barrel, inclined to show a little achiote attitude or wear a lapel pin supporting pineapple, cilantro and onions. ($3.95)
 Tortillas: Go ahead, wrap yourself in the corn tortilla flag. It’s made right here in Güero’s by real Güero-cans, who believe in warm, fluffy layers like the Founding Fathers intended. Or just throw your vote away on storebought flour or wheat. See if I care.
 Salsa: If the salsa bar were a polling station — one with twangy, sweet tomatillo green and bright, fresh tomato red salsas and pickled onion escabeche — I’d vote green every time.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)