500 Tacos: Quality Seafood truck
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Quality Seafood truck
Hours: 7-10:30am Mon-Fri. Also 5:30-10:30pm Tuesdays at the Draught House.
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 02.13.15
Update: From the Quality Seafood Twitter feed: "We are sad to announce that September 5th will be our last day to serve Breakfast from our food truck at Quality Seafood Market."
Note: The truck still makes other stops. Find the schedule here.
It usually works the other way around, this whole food truck thing. First the truck, then the restaurant. But Quality Seafood, which has been around since 1938, decided 2015 was a good year to add a roadshow. And what a show it is. On weekday mornings, Charlie Wilson makes breakfast tacos with crawfish, smoked trout, shrimp and alligator sausage, plus biscuits and gorditas and bagels with Quality Seafood lox. Wilson has the chops for it, coming from the kitchens at Black Star Co-op and Uchiko. He traded life on the line for the truck life to get ready for another new adventure: He and his wife Yvonne Garcia-Wilson — who’s a manager at Red’s Porch — are expecting a baby in March.
The taco: Crawfish migas
Fish tacos would have been the easy play for Quality Seafood. They do catfish and mahi tacos in the restaurant. But translating the QSM experience to breakfast means tossing little coral-colored crawfish tails into an already solid migas mix of scrambled eggs, pico, cheese and crisp, julienned corn tortilla. Bayou meets the border. For quantity, novelty, taste and cooking, this is one of Austin’s best breakfast tacos. ($3.99)
► Tacos of the sea (and swamp): The mellow warmth of soft scrambled eggs is the ideal medium for smoked trout (below right). The heat softens the fish and releases more of its briny smokiness. Wilson also suggested adding bacon, and I wondered whether its smokehouse cure might overwhelm the more genteel fish. But it adds a welcome, earthy backbeat, supplemented by tangy manchego cheese. Another taco carried a link’s worth of sausage made with pork and alligator, along with eggs, manchego and a sautée of red and green peppers and onions. The alligator is delicious, making me think all those teeth are there just to keep us from farming them like livestock. At the Quality Seafood truck, two-item tacos are $1.99, and three items cost $2.50. But that’s three items in addition to the eggs, meaning each of these tacos costs just $2.50, and there aren’t many tacos at that price — or twice as much — that can touch these.
► Tortillas: They don’t make their own, but these flour tortillas get the same love as homemade. Crisp at the edge, dotted with color, soft where they need to be. Wilson suggested flour because “flour makes sense for breakfast, and you can fit more stuff.” Amen.
► Salsa: Somebody forgot to tell QSM that it’s a seafood place and not a taqueria, because this cumin-scented thick salsa verde, smoky taco-shop red and quacamole pico woud make any taco shop proud.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)