500 Tacos: Taqueria La Escondida #3

 
 
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
 
Taqueria La Escondida #3
1333 W. Ben White Blvd. (map), 512-707-1688, www.taquerialaescondida3.com
Hours: 7am-10pm daily
 
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 01.11.15
 
Although it’s open morning and night, La Escondida feels like breakfast all day long. Credit hot black coffee laced with cinnamon, the spice of hope’s dawn before it’s crushed by reality’s afternoon. Outside, Ben White rolls noisily by. Inside, the view is hashed by bars that cover the windows floor to ceiling. Before 11 a.m., three breakfast tacos run just $2.99. Work trucks and men in long sleeves and cowboy hats post up here, with tortas like footballs and hulking bowls of caldo de res. It’s a sit-down diner with sugar-shakers and free chips and coffee that flows like ... hope? Affordable hope: three tacos with chips and salsa, coffee and table service cost just $7.46. On the other hand, afternoon can feel like the morning after at La Escondida. Lunch-time tacos included an al pastor that had stayed up too late the night before and barbacoa that was bleary, pale and dehydrated.  
 
The taco: Machacado
The morning light calls for breakfast, but not breakfast lite. Machacado is a protein power-up, with  eggs and jerky-style shreds of dried beef woven together like a basket — the kind you can safely put all your eggs in, at least until lunch. Like barbecue, a good taco shouldn’t need sauce. But twin lines of La Escondida’s green and red salsas add welcome heat, sweetness and tartness to their salty host ($1.50).
 Tortilla: Lightly grilled storebought flour.
 Salsa: A chunky tomato and onion red salsa had started to sour, but I ate a tomatillo green by the spoonful, compelled by onion and cilantro and a touch of dry spice for something like a cold soup amuse bouche. Try to keep your pinkies down.
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The 500 Tacos Project
 
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)