500 Tacos: Taqueria La Chilanguita

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Taqueria La Chilanguita
408 E. Rundberg Lane in the Texaco lot (map), 512-619-3226.
Hours: 6am-2am weekdays; 6am-3am weekends
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 08.05.15
Taquerias grow like cash crops under the grow lights of North Lamar and Rundberg, but there are one-two-three-four taco stands in this one Texaco parking lot alone. And just to be sure, La Chilinguita runs yet another taco stand inside the gas station. How do they stand out in this crowded market? With a menu of sopes, tortas, pambazos, gorditas, huaraches — and for this report, tacos on handmade blue corn tortillas.
The taco: Birria
Birria is a stew commonly associated with goat or mutton, a long, slow braise meant to break down the gamey, stringy barriers to more fully enjoying those challenging meats. Imagine that tender braise and mellow red pepper spice applied to beef, and the result is meat more tender than a roast, velvety like barbacoa without the fatty funk. Laid out on a hot, grainy, hand-patted blue corn tortilla, it’s one of the most easygoing, full-flavored, memorable tacos in this series, a real value at $2.
 Smoked pork chop taco (below left): Like bacon on the bone, sheared from that bone and chopped into a tortilla. A great way to eat a tender, well-smoked pork chop. ($2)
 Pastor (below right): I watched the cook wheel a clear bin of chopped pork from the store to the trailer before I ordered, sloshing in an adobo marinade that colored the meat’s edges like an angry blush. From that pork came a mild al pastor crisp at the edges, soft in the center. ($2)
 Tortillas: Regular corn and blue corn tortillas are made by hand. Flour tortillas come from a bag.
 Salsa: Red devil: Chile de arbol. Green angel: Tomatillo verde.
 Something extra: Stainless bins at the front counter are full of a light, sweet escabeche of sliced cucumber, radish, onion and chopped habanero.
 Programming note: The trailer makes breakfast tacos from 6-11am.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)