500 Tacos: Taqueria Mina
An Austin taco a day for 2015 — and then some
3004 W. Slaughter Lane in the LaserWash lot, Austin (map), 512-317-2914
Hours: 7am-2pm Mon-Sat
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 12.07.15
From the cafeteria table in front of the Taqueria Mina trailer, I can see another trailer on the corner (Taco Bella’s), and I can see one of those flappy air-tube guys, forever hippie-grooving in hopes people will spot the carwash behind him. But I’d like to think the dancer, my friend, is blowing in the wind for breakfast tacos. Because we can go a day without a carwash. But a breakfast taco is another thing.
The taco: Chorizo, potatoes and cheese
How is a breakfast taco like Chuck Norris? He doesn’t wear a watch, because he decides what time it is. Also, tacos can’t tell time. But this yearlong series has taught me that a breakfast taco doesn’t need the sunrise. It doesn’t even need eggs. Chorizo, for example, will work with anybody, anytime: beans, potatoes, cheese, bacon, whatever. A real team player. Its daredevil red spice, its ground-up joiner mentality and its greasy cohesion make it a natural for potatoes like these, cut into dice-sized pieces with their skins on, cooked on the flat-top until they’re half-and-half crispy and soft. Finish it with a toss of freshly shredded queso blanco. ($2 plus 50 cents for cheese)
► Deshebrada: Tender pulled beef gets a light tomato braise for a gentler alternative to barbacoa. ($2)
► Pastor and chicharrones: Pork gets two very different but respectable treatments here, the first with a modest adobo marinade over tender roasted bits of pork. The second showcases dense pork rinds in a hot green chile braise. ($2 each)
► Tortillas: Mina’s makes thin, modest corn tortillas by hand and toasts stiff storebought flour tortillas on the grill.
► Salsa: A watery chile de arbol red sauce contributes nothing but punishing heat, while a thick jalapeño puree brings a half-sweet twang before the fire sets in.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)