500 Tacos: Speedy Tacos & More
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Speedy Tacos & More
Hours: 6am-3pm Mon-Fri, 7am-10pm Sat, 8am-2pm Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 04.04.15
The story of Speedy Tacos is a winding one. It starts in Kyle in 1993, takes a break, then picks up again in 2004 at a trailer outside what’s now the Crockett Center, then a shop on North Lamar, then came a winning lottery ticket and a former Subway storefront in Round Rock, where Jesse “Speedy” Gonzales and his family have been selling chicken-fried steak, burgers and tacos with handmade flour tortillas for almost 11 years.
The taco: Carnitas
Pork carnitas will support an array of styles: Shredded, pulled, crispy, sloppy, dry. All of it to tame the tough pork shoulder where it usually comes from. At Speedy’s, carnitas is chopped into chunks that look and taste like bites of tender loin chop, cooked golden brown at the edges. I took a suggestion to add pico and cilantro, but it was another add-on — the cooked onion and tomato of a hot ranchero sauce — that put this taco over the top. ($1.85++)
► ++ (The Dark Art of the Upcharge): “Onions and cilantro?” is a common taqueria question. The answer, by the way, is always “Yes.” They’re almost always free, except at Speedy’s, when they cost 30 cents extra. Apiece. Tacos that started at a great $1.85 value lost some of that shine with the 60-cent upcharge.
► Tortillas: Open the foil, and Speedy’s handmade flour tortillas smell like freshly baked farm bread. Always a better choice than the doubled-up storebought white corn.
► Speedy-er: Wrapped in one of those steaming flour tortillas, Speedy’s barbacoa is a feast, a rich tangle of dense beef cheek ($1.85++). Aside from a touch of dusky orange adobo, Speedy’s pastor from the flat-top was about the same as carnitas ($1.85++). But bacon and eggs pulled from a steampan at lunch make a substandard breakfast taco, even at $1.35.
► Salsa: There’s a watery red salsa that tastes like diced tomatoes straight from the can. The garlicky green salsa is a much better option.
► On the horizon: Look for a Little Speedy’s taco trailer, coming this year.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)