500 Tacos: Taqueria Morelos

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Taqueria Morelos
3100 U.S. 183 S. (map), 512-386-7863. Hours: 4am-4pm Mon-Fri; 5am-2pm Sat
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 07.20.15
Even on a Saturday, Taqueria Morelos is crowded with white work trucks and men in the reflective vests of county work crews. Possibly the only people who’re up earlier than those guys are the ones who started making their tacos at 4 a.m.
The taco: Nopales and egg
At any place that opens before dawn, the smart play is to order breakfast. Cactus and eggs are good places to start, with cactus cooked right into the fresh, firm scramble to bring out its half-sour, leathery, green-bean earthiness. ($1.50)
 The family of breakfast: I love the wide application of “breakfast” combined with “tacos.” It means I can get something as colorful as seared bits of pork al pastor with the big, weedy twang of adobo ($1.75) or something as humble as beans and eggs, with refritos like salty brown hummus ($1.50). Breakfast also extends to carne guisada and picadillo here, though in their unseasoned blandness, I can’t recommend either ($1.99 each).
 Barbacoa: Good barbacoa defies breakfast or lunch labels, with rich, fatty meat that can be fuel for the day ahead or the reward for a day well-spent. Here, they leave cheek and tongue in big, steamy chunks, adding weight to the shredded fibers around it, all of it on the gamey side, cut with fresh white onions and cilantro. ($1.99)
 Tortillas: Hand-patted corn tortillas are thin and bland, and neither they nor the waxy storebought flour tortillas pick up any character on the grill.
 Salsa: A balanced red salsa fresca shimmering with cilantro, jalapeño and tomato is much better than a watery jalapeño verde as hot as battery acid without the redeeming recharge capabilities.
 Aguas frescas: Caffeine is my morning fuel, but I’ll supplement that with the sugar from a cantaloupe agua fresca freshly dipped from a big glass beehive jar for $1.99.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)