500 Tacos: Taquerias Arandinas

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Taquerias Arandinas
700 W. William Cannon Drive (map), 512-693-0206, www.arandinas.com
Hours: 6am-midnight Mon-Sat; 7am-midnight Sun
Also at: 2110 E. Riverside Drive (map); 1011 Reinli St. (map); 9616 N. Lamar Blvd. (map); 1205 Round Rock Ave., Round Rock (map)
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 06.04.15
The Mexican state of Jalisco looms large in the Austin taqueria scene. Restaurants here bear the name of the state, its capital city of Guadalajara and for this report, a municipality in the state’s Alto Sur region called Arandas. Taquerias Arandinas has five Austin-area locations, sovereign and separate from the Taquerias Arandas chain. And with an easily accessible roster of favorites like tortas, grilled meat, enchiladas, breakfast, caldos and tacos, there’s plenty of Jalisco to go around.
Taco A: Barbacoa adobada
Fried tacos are a lunchtime reward for a morning well-lived, with fine shreds of seasoned beef folded into twin handmade corn tortillas, lightly fried to stay soft inside and pick up some toasted color and form outside. The beef in this case is less cheek-meat barbacoa and more spiced-up brisket barbecue, but there’s a good amount in each taco, making this $6 trio with grilled onions and a charred jalapeño one of Arandinas’ best values.
Taco B: Huevos a la Mexicana with beans
Simply one of the best breakfast tacos in this series. Eggs lightly scrambled with onion, tomato and jalapeño, customized with salty, earthy refried beans in a grilled flour tortilla. Warm, comforting, full of flavor, cheap. ($1.59 plus 35 cents for beans)
 Al pastor: Trompo-style pastor is just a dream here, the thing these hard, overspiced little nuggets can only dream of becoming ($1.99).
 Tortillas: Arandinas makes its own corn tortillas, leathery and strong with ultralight corn taste. Storebought flour tortillas are grilled until they behave like homemade: toasted on the outside, steamy inside.
 Salsa: The beauty of this creamy green jalapeño salsa is that it’s done without cream. Oil and peppers, primarily, whirled to the consistency of ranch dressing and almost chalky with the fine remains of the jalapeño, hot without inflicting pain. Similar to pesto for the pinkie finger crowd, only with a different finger. Red salsa is a basic, fluid chop of tomato, onion, peppers and cilantro, a first-rate chip-dipper.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)