500 Tacos: Taqueria Pato’s
An Austin taco a day for 2015 — and then some
5804 S. Congress Ave. next to the Citgo, Austin (map)
Hours: 7am-3 or 4pm Mon-Sat
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 09.16.15
There’s a night and day symbiosis at work on South Congress. For every taco trailer that opens at 6 or 7 in the evening, there’s one that opens at 6 or 7 in the morning. One opens for breakfast and closes after lunch; the other opens in time for dinner and doesn’t close until after the bar rush is over. Taqueria Pato’s holds down the sunny side of the relationship.
The taco: Migas
A breakfast taco by itself is fine. A breakfast taco built from a plate with beans and potatoes is finer still, in particular if that plate comes with handmade corn tortillas. Think of this like building a pizza, with a strong, flexible tortilla crust. Spread the beans like marinara, thin and salty. Use the potatoes sparingly, like olives, because they have the off taste of cheap grill butter. The migas count as pepperoni, sausage and everything else: hard scrambled eggs embedded with fresh jalapeños, chopped tomatoes, onion and crisp fried pieces of fresh corn tortilla. The Migas Lover’s Pizza®. ($6 plate; $2 a la carte)
► Tortillas: Flour tortillas come from a bag, but corn tortillas come straight from the cook’s hands, patted to order, tough and layered and arid as a campfire lunch.
► Pastor: Big adobo marinade flavor comes through in this chopped pork, cooked to a uniform firmness on the grill, then dressed with onions and cilantro. ($2)
► Beef fajitas: Pato’s takes real salt-and-pepper skirt steak, slices it thinly against the grain, then grills it with onions for a filling, simple teak taco. ($2)
► Carne guisada: This might more accurately be called deshebrada, with a base of shredded beef in a rich chile braise, crystallized at its flossy edges. Too dry for a decent guisada; not bad for deshebrada. ($2)
► Salsa: Only one: a grainy, free-flowing salsa verde with medium heat.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)