500 Tacos: Taco N’ Madre

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Taco N’ Madre
628 E. Oltorf St. at the Valero station (map), 512-547-7996, www.taconmadreaustin.com
Hours: 7am-2pm Tue-Fri; 8am-2pm Sat-Sun; closed Mon
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 05.13.15
What’s the angle at Taco N’ Madre? That they’ll make your taco any way you like it, with breakfast anytime, just like your own Madre would? Or is it the curious way they put the apostrophe after the “N,” just like Guns N’ Roses? Both, because Mom would be proud of the tacos from this truck. And they rock.
The taco: Barbacoa
Good barbacoa is a tongue and cheek thing. Too much of the former and it can be dry and plain. Too much of the latter, and you run the risk of it being too fatty and gamey. And brisket is no substitute. Taco N’ Madre finds the right balance of tongue and cheek, for barbacoa that’s tender, full-flavored and thoroughly moist without going greasy.  ($3 on flour; $2 on corn; always get flour)
 Pastor, bistec and migas: Here’s where the Madre part kicks in: She lets you dress your tacos for the prom without making you feel guilty or charging for every little thing. Need the full dress of sauteéd onions, tomato, jalapeño and cheese in your migas? Check, and they complement a good balance of eggs and tortilla chips ($2). Go ahead, add earthy refried beans and cheese to your $3 chewy chopped steak. No extra charge. Cilantro and onions complete a $3 al pastor taco. Avocado makes it even completer. Gratis. Now if they could just back off the cumin.
 Tortillas: TNM’s handmade flour tortillas have a thin, shiny, translucent, toasted crackle that makes everything in them step up a rung on the taco ladder. No need to try the storebought corn or wheat tortillas.
 Salsa: You have your choice of a thin, hot orange sauce with marinara sweetness upfront or an even hotter, thinner jalapeño green that brings a tear to my eye — and not the joyful kind. If you’re unhappy with either, try the sampler at Curra’s Grill. The front door’s about 100 feet away.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)