500 Tacos: Taqueria Rico

An Austin taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Taqueria Rico
9405 N. Interstate 35, Austin (map), 512-491-0822. Hours: 7am-11:30pm Mon-Fri; 7am-12:30 Sat; 11am-9pm Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 09.13.15
It’s the Land of Many Ricos, this little strip center off I-35 at Rundberg. There’s El Pollo Rico at one end, then Panaderia Rico, and then this little walk-up taco stand at the end closest to the freeway, Taqueria Rico. There’s little time or tolerance for indecision or questions here, even when they’re out of half the things you ask for: breakfast tacos, tripas, lengua, flour tortillas, patience.
The taco: Pollo
With a pollo al carbon stand just a few doors down at El Pollo Rico, I have chicken on my mind at Taqueria Rico. It’s not the charcoal-grilled stuff here at the taqueria, but rather the browned and simmered kind, chopped and sautéed with orange and green peppers and onions for a reasonably satisfying dry stew on a fresh corn tortilla. ($1.99)
 More tacos: I’d have told you about breakfast or lengua or tripas, but they were having none of that, so neither was I. Instead I got fatty barbacoa more funky than a James Brown horn section, tough al pastor that tasted like the winds off a weed field and beef fajitas grilled with onions and red bell pepper that was sweet and salty and altogether decent. ($1.99 each)
 Tortillas: Corn tortillas are made by hand, and they’re grainy, irregular, scalloped at the edges and freckled like toasted cornbread. But each and all, they fall apart at the folds under the barest weight of meat and salsa.
 Salsa: Just one: A turbid, chunky jalapeño and tomatillo blend with a lot of weight to bear on its little green shoulders, which it does without apology.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)