500 Tacos: Los Reyes

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Los Reyes
13776 U.S. 183 N. in the Anderson Mill Center (map), 512-257-0607, www.losreyestexas.com
Hours: 7am-10pm daily
Also at: 251 N. Bell Blvd., Cedar Park (map); 512-258-4016 
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 06.10.15
The Anderson Mill Center took it hard when the H-E-B moved out awhile back, its vast parking lots mostly empty, save for the cluster around 24 Hour Fitness. Los Reyes is a survivor of the exodus, barely, with only two tables full at the start of lunch in a room big enough to host a class reunion — or a full circuit of weight machines. With big handmade flour tortillas and full-bodied carnitas, carne guisada and barbacoa to fill them, Los Reyes makes an argument for filling more of those empty parking spots.
The taco: Carnitas
We hear so much about the benefits of adding more fiber to our diets. Let me add pork fiber to the conversation. The best carnitas will be packed with it, the fine glossy threads created by pulling the pork shoulder in ribbons and chunks and crisping them up for a mix of fat and lean and crunch. It’s the oven-borne cousin of pulled pork barbecue, and Los Reyes piles it into a fresh flour tortilla that goes above and beyond its $3 pricetag. (Breakfast is served until 11 a.m.; all the tacos in this report are considered breakfast tacos)
 Tortillas: These 8-inch handmade flour tortillas frame the taco discussion here, taking already solid fillings to a higher place with warm, toasted, bready chewiness and the strength and flexibility to withstand even the onslaught of carne guisada gravy. Corn tortillas come from the store.
 Carne guisada, barbacoa and migas: There’s enough dense, peppery roast beef in one $2.99 carne guisada taco to make a full meal, supported by a salty, reduced braise incorporating tomato and green peppers. Barbacoa here will split aficionados of the form, pleasing most the ones who like it aggressively gamey. It comes by its soft, chipped texture honestly, though, pulled from steamed beef cheek and head meat ($2.99). Migas at Los Reyes are the kind with chips and eggs and that’s it. Want pico and cheese? You have to ask. But a recent $1.99 weekday special of migas with grilled skirt steak made that simple combination a feast.
 Salsa: There’s just one, an aggressively hot, jar-style tomato-pepper-and-onion red.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)