500 Tacos: Tacodeli (Spyglass)
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Tacodeli | Spyglass
1500 Spyglass Drive (map), 512-732-0303, www.tacodeli.com. Hours: 7-11am breakfast, 11am-3pm lunch Mon-Fri;
8am-3pm Sat-Sun with breakfast all day and lunch starting at 11am
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 02.10.15
Spyglass Drive is an avenue of first times for me. The first time I ever carried an unconscious human being down a flight of stairs (Halcyon is a hell of a drug). The first (and only) time I ever bought beer for somebody outside a convenience store. The first time I ever bought a used car on impulse (Volvo: Boxy But Nice). And the first time I ever had breakfast at a Tacodeli. I’ll cover all five Austin Tacodelis in this 500 Tacos series. But I’ll start with breakfast on Spyglass, just like the first time ever.
The taco: Vaquero (top)
Scrambled eggs and Monterey jack are the breakfast taco canvas. The Vaquero promises to paint that canvas with grilled corn and roasted peppers. And it does, even if it’s conservative with the paint. The poblanos and red peppers bring mellow verdant warmth, and the corn lends elements of sweetness and crunch. Taken together, they’re like sprinkles on a doughnut. I just wish there were more of them. ($2.85)
The taco: Frontera Fundido Sirloin (above right)
“Fundido” is the template Tacodeli uses for steak, chicken and portobello tacos built around a cheese “glaze,” which seals the host inside melted Monterey jack. The formula works especially well with pieces of surprisingly tender grilled sirloin, laid on a whole wheat tortilla (my choice) with sautéed strips of poblano pepper and sweet onions. It’s a picturesque taco, in part because the cosine waves of poblano are still close to their full deep-green rawness, an undercooking that steals away the pepper’s shot at expressing its full flavor bloom. ($3.75)
► Tortillas: Tacodeli doesn’t make its own tortillas, but its corn tortilla is pale and pliant like handmade, given some color on the grill and pleasantly ... corny. On the advice of a customer service rep who actually likes customers, I paid 15 cents extra for double corn tortillas on the Vaquero. That 15 cents bought better flavor and a better handle on breakfast.
► Salsa: When I wrote “30 Tacos, 30 Days” for the Statesman, I described the Four Horsemen of the Tacodeli Salsaclypse like this: Hot, Hotter, Hottest, Hottest-er. That about covers, in order, Tacodeli’s Verde, Roja, Doña and Habanero. For the tanscape of eggs and the mild pico sautée of the Vaquero, the Doña is the right sauce for the job. It adds a chartreuse microbus of color, creaminess to hold the eggs together, and enough jalapeño and garlic to fill in the gaps left by the corn and peppers.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
More Tacodeli in this series