500 Tacos: La Familia

 
 
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
 
La Familia
3601 W. William Cannon Drive, Suite 900 (map), 512-892-1311, www.lafamiliaaustin.com
Hours: 6:30am-9pm Mon-Thu; 6:30am-10pm Fri-Sat; 8am-9pm Sun
 
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 04.02.15
 
La Familia was another stop on my “30 Tacos” tour at the Statesman in 2010, one of those “you gotta try this place” recommendations from a reader. Their carne guisada was — and is — a savory red chile braise variation on the formula of roast beef and brown gravy. But it’s time to learn something new, and five years later, school’s still in session at La Familia.
 
Taco A: Street tacos
Big things come in small packages. True with trinkets and taquitos alike. This plate of five tacos on doubled-up 3-inch corn tortillas lets you sample sweet, seared al pastor and barbacoa so tender and mild you’d mistake it for brisket if the cook didn’t verify it was roasted beef cheek. Served with feathery fried onions, charred jalapeño and beans in rich, porky liquor. (5 for $6.99)
 
 
Taco B: La Familia
Three of my favorite taqueria words: Breakfast all day. La Familia’s eponymous breakfast beast is why: eggs, serranos, sage sausage, potatoes and onions all scrambled together in a shotgun wedding of flavors, crowned with melted cheese. ($1.99)
 
Taco C: Milanesa
I enjoyed milanesa at Janitzio so much that I’ll try it everywhere now. Beefsteak pounded thin, breaded and fried, like chicken-fried steak from the borderlands. And when I say thin, I mean you can see through it like an X-ray. It knocks the breading-to-beef ratio off balance, like eating beef-tallow fries in a tortilla. Come to think of it, that doesn’t sound — or taste — too bad. ($1.99)
 
 
 Tortillas: Storebought flour and doubled-up corn. Extra points for dragging the street tacos through hot oil to soften them up.
 Salsa: A simple, mild tomato red fits the low-key personality of this family shop. With free chips after 11. A roasted tomatillo salsa puckers out with vinegar that comes on too strong.
 That carne guisada: As good as ever. Beef with roasted gravitas, enveloped in rich red sauce both sweet and smoky. ($2.49)
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The 500 Tacos Project
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)