500 Tacos: Tacos Michoacan
An Austin taco a day for 2015 — and then some
4403 Manchaca Road in the Conoco lot, Austin (map). Hours: 7:30am-3pm Mon-Sat
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 08.31.15
A taco trailer that focuses on tacos. Such a simple idea, but it concentrates the experience. Faster ordering, cleaner cooking, room to make your own tortillas. Add to that the convenience of being at Manchaca and Ben White for a quick in and out, and this trailer with a shaded awning and red picnic tables is the right choice for breakfast tacos.
Taco A: Huevos a la Mexicana
Today I discovered salt and pepper. Hear me out. I usually trust the cook to do all the seasoning. But a giant ceramic frog full of salt packets and a cashier who punctuated the air with pepper packets as she spoke struck me as signs I should dress out these eggs with S&P. Not that they weren’t already well-dressed: Freshly scrambled eggs tossed with fresh jalapeño, tomato, onion — and in a departure for this style of taco — potatoes. But the extra shake of black and white brought them all together. ($1.50)
Taco B: Al pastor
Trailer pastor tastes more and more like an obligation than a joy as this series goes along. Stiff pork served with none of the tropical swerve that sets the best apart. Tacos Michoacan breaks the string of bad pastor with pineapple and onion cooked right into the half-crunchy pork confetti, which already has a big spice profile of its own, like a cross between achiote and a chai latte. Dressed with fresh onions and cilantro on a handmade corn tortilla. ($2)
► Tortillas: I went full-on güero today. Not just with salt and pepper “revelation,” but also by ordering my breakfast tacos on corn tortillas. Not because I don’t know any better, but because I’ll take handmade resilient corn tortillas over storebought flour any day, no matter who’s laughing behind my back.
► Basic breakfast: Do you judge a taco stand by bean and cheese tacos? Potato and egg? I do, and this place makes both of them count. The smooth, earthy beans fight with the fresh corn tortilla for who smells the best, and melted white cheese adds lush cohesion ($1.50). The eggs and potatoes deliver protein and starch in fresh, equal balance ($1.75)
► Barbacoa: Full-fat steamed cheek meat meets hot flat-top grill. The result is a balanced chew, a tempered crunch and a mild spice profile awakened by fresh onions and cilantro. ($2)
► Salsa: Tacos Michoacan makes not just a first-rate creamy jalapeño green salsa with mild heat and a blistering habanero that came with a warning from the host, but also a freshly chopped molcajete salsa with chunks of tomato and roasted peppers full of seeds, skins and robust vegetable sabor.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)