500 Tacos: La Canaria

 
 
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
 
La Canaria
5101 Airport Blvd. (map). Hours: 7am-10pm daily
 
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 02.25.15
 
If your neighborhood taco trailer happens to be at Airport and 51st, then your neighborhood includes some of Austin’s best chefs. And the one who came to the La Canaria window after me ordered 18 tacos. I must be in the right place.
 
The taco: Carne guisada de puerco en salsa roja
Beef and gravy is one way to get your carne guisada. Pork slow-roasted with tomatoes and chiles is another. This is the second one, simmered with potatoes and onions for a taste like spicy stew with its juices reduced and reabsorbed. ($2)
 
 
 Pro tip from an actual pro: On his way out, the neighborhood chef suggested I try La Canaria’s picadillo, something out of my normal rotation because ground beef is so often the norteño safety taco. But La Canaria’s picadillo is a rainbow coalition of peas, carrots, onions, corn and potatoes. The moral: Always listen to your neighborhood chef. ($2)
 3 more tacos: At 2 bucks a shot, La Canaria invites experimentation. The al pastor ran too dry and crumbled for my taste, and a breakfast taco with eggs and beans didn’t get enough character from the latter. The sleepy, bland barbacoa didn’t do justice to its unusually high fat content.
 Tortillas: La Canaria makes its own corn tortillas to order. They’re as firm as a warm handshake.
 Salsa: Three solid expressions of taqueria standards: creamy jalapeño green, tomatillo salsa verde and spiky chile de arbol red.
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The 500 Tacos Project
 
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)