500 Tacos: Las Lomas
An Austin taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Hours: 10am-10pm Mon-Thu; 10am-midnight Fri; 8am-1am Sat; 8am-10pm Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 11.01.15
In this triad of Mexican restaurants in the same Stassney shopping center, Las Lomas is the table-service alternative to the drive-through El Pollo Rico and the taqueria counter at the QC Meat Market. It’s not a fancy place, set into the dim recesses of a strip mall, with patchwork concrete floors, paper pennants and beer signs. But it does have handmade tortillas, free chips and salsa and early afternoon breakfast on the patio for the cooler weather ahead.
The taco: Migas and fajitas
Las Lomas serves breakfast until 3 p.m. every day, something you won’t find out from the website. And it’s worth discovering, because this plate of migas with well-cooked strips of skirt steak, sautéed onions and peppers, refried beans and breakfast potatoes cooked crisp on the outside is a solid value at $6.99. The beans hold more smoke than the meat, and the freshly fried tortilla chips pull a bully’s wedgie on the eggs, but handmade flour tortillas make up for that by letting you build a taco to balance any combination of those elements. ($6.99 with beans, potatoes and tortillas)
► Barbacoa and al pastor: Barbacoa at Las Lomas is beef cheek glazed with fat like good cured meat, with the salty, luscious flavor of bresaola ($7.99 for two with rice and beans/$2.99 a la carte). Flares of sweet tanginess set this chunky al pastor apart from everyday flat-top versions, but not far enough away ($7.99 for two with rice and beans/$2.99 a la carte).
► Crispy taco: A decent crispy beef taco is always a pleasant surprise, and this one is stuffed generously with ground beef cooked with onion, tomato and pepper, then dressed with lettuce, tomato and cheese. The shell behaves like handmade, staying firm and crisp to the very end. ($7.49 for two with rice and beans/$2.49 a la carte).
► Tortillas: Las Lomas makes its own thick, chewy flour tortillas and strong, plain corn tortillas.
► Salsa: They had run out of salsa verde, but Las Lomas does just fine with a salsa fresca that employs both white and green onions in a strong tomato base and a heat sharper than mere jalapeños would suggest.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)