500 Tacos: Magnolia Cafe

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Magnolia Cafe
2304 Lake Austin Blvd. (map), 512-478-8645, www.themagnoliacafe.com. Hours: Open 24 hours a day
Also at: 1920 S. Congress Ave. (map), 512-445-0000
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 04.14.15
Looking for tacos at 5 in the morning doesn’t mean you have to settle for 5 a.m. tacos. Magnolia Cafe brings a respectable game 24 hours a day, with a side of the counterculture vibe Austin had before we all got here and ruined it.
The taco: Love Migas
At Magnolia, “love” means inviting butter and garlic to a migas party already bumping with red onions and thick, sautéed chunks of bell pepper and tomato, with bits of uncooked corn tortilla and a thick blanket of white cheese. They don’t sell a migas taco by itself, just the plate. The taco job’s up to you, layering tortillas with black beans, migas and salsa. The garlic will jump up and bite you, a sure remedy — or at least a replacement — for morning breath. ($7.95 with black beans and tortillas, enough for three big tacos)
 Daytime tacos, anytime: Breakfast tacos are the impulse buy at Magnolia, but there’s beef, chicken, fish and turkey tacos when the mood strikes. Let the mood strike, because Magnolia’s ground beef and shredded chicken tacos are stuffed so full of meat, black beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream you’ll need two hands. The beef is crumbly, dry and mildly spiced, but the chicken is juicy, tender and rubbed with ancho spice that gives it a low, smoky growl. Notice I didn’t mention the bean sprouts. Not to worry; they’re served on the side, where they belong. ($6.95 for one with chips and salsa or side salad, $8.95 for two)
 Tortillas: Commercial flour, wheat and yellow corn.
 Salsa: Just one, but it’s a decent blended tomato red with modest heat and a dash of chili spice. Honorary salsa honors go to Magnolia’s sweet-tart lime-cilantro vinaigrette salad dressing.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)