500 Tacos: Veracruz All Natural
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Veracruz All Natural
Updated November 2015: 1500 E. Sixth St. behind the Volstead (map), 512-318-1830, www.veracruztacos.com. Hours: 6pm-2am Wed-Sat; 6-11pm Sun
Other locations: 1704 E. Cesar Chavez St. (map), 8am-3pm daily; 4208 Manchaca Road at Radio Coffee (map), 7am-midnight
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 03.12.15
At this point, let’s just assume that trailers aren’t open when they say they are, and then count ourselves lucky when they are. The original Veracruz on Cesar Chavez packed up and left for SouthBites, two days before the festival started, with only a tweet buried in its timeline for notice. But if you’re chasing 500 tacos, you’ll have to follow some taillights. Which finds me here on Seventh Street, because Veracruz is worth chasing, if just for the prospect of what some people I respect say is the best migas taco in town. I haven’t had every migas tacos in town, but it’s only March. And March tastes great.
Taco A: Migas
Two things make Veracruz migas stand out. One is the egg-to-tortilla chip ratio. It stands at about 50-50, with chips that stay crunchy, even in cheese. Second is the way it dresses, with green and red pico flash and cool avocado green, finished with a wrap of handspun corn tortilla. ($3)
Taco B: Barbacoa
And you thought Veracruz was just migas. Let me help you with that. I always ask if a taqueria uses brisket or cheek meat for barbacoa. Cheek meat is the right answer, and Veracruz answers it with gusto and value, loading down a $2.25 taco with clusters of fatty, mild beef in short fibers. Fine with just cilantro and onions, it’s even better with a 75 cent upgrade of cheese, tomato and avocado.
Taco C: Chicken mole
The downfall of many a chicken mole is dry, shredded breast meat. Veracruz rises above that with juicy pieces of dark thigh in a thick, sweet mole sauce alive with chiles, cinnamon spices and queso fresco that’s not sprinkled so much as it’s snowbanked like a Boston winter. ($3)
► I’ll pass on al pastor: I like some sweet tropical twang and dusky achiote with my pork al pastor. At Veracruz, it tastes more like chili meat. ($2.25)
► Hangover helper: Juices, aguas frescas and smoothies take as much menu space as tacos here, like a chalkboard theorem proving that migas ÷ tortillas + pastor(juice)2 = morning-after relief. No. 1 on the board is Berry Good, blending orange juice with all the fancy berries for something sweet, icy cold and hydrating. ($4.25/16oz)
► Tortillas: Veracruz presses its own corn tortillas, and they’re thick enough to go single, with grill-toasted character and good maiz flavor. Storebought flour tortillas get some redeeming color on the flat-top.
► Salsa: Next-level sauces for a next-level taco trailer. Start with a roasted tomato-and-pepper red with more stems and seeds than trailer park weed. Move up one heat level to a deep orange chile de arbol that’s creamy, tangy and flinty hot. Taste everything else before the torrid green jalapeño cream sauce; it’s a destroyer.
► Hurry up and wait: I’m not a time queen, but waiting 45 minutes after ordering four tacos on a modest morning is pushing my non-barbecue patience threshold. If Veracruz was going to compress all its Cesar Chavez business to Seventh for the runup to SX, it could have staffed for it.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)