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Fat Guy

Days 11-15; April 13-18:

50 posts in this topic

If you get a chance, can you please tell us a little more about the breakfast tacos you had in Texas?  They sound really delicious.  Were they served in flour tortillas and wrapped up like a burrito?  Or were they in corn tortillas, taco style?  Were the eggs scrambled, potatoes cubed & fried?  Anything else in there besides salsa & sour cream?  Did you see any variations that included things like...bacon, sausage, cheese, lettuce, avacado, tomato, cilantro, onions, etc, or is it mostly eggs & potatoes?  Was this something you mainly saw in Texas Taquerias?

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Were they served in flour tortillas and wrapped up like a burrito?  Or were they in corn tortillas, taco style?

You usually have a choice of corn or flour, but flour seemed to be the default at the places I visited.

Were the eggs scrambled, potatoes cubed & fried?

The eggs and potatoes were combined into one blob. The potatoes had of course been precooked, home-fries style (small, irregularly shaped) but without much crust to speak of. So I assume they were boiled and then sauteed just a little. Then the scrambled eggs and potatoes were cooked together.

Anything else in there besides salsa & sour cream?

I don't recall sour cream, and salsa was do-it-yourself.

Did you see any variations that included things like...bacon, sausage, cheese, lettuce, avacado, tomato, cilantro, onions, etc, or is it mostly eggs & potatoes?

All of the above. In fact we ordered one with bacon, but the bacon never appeared.

Was this something you mainly saw in Texas Taquerias?

Yes, though we weren't eating Mexican in earnest anywhere else.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Were they served in flour tortillas and wrapped up like a burrito?  Or were they in corn tortillas, taco style?

You usually have a choice of corn or flour, but flour seemed to be the default at the places I visited.

A little clarification is in order here. In Texas, a taco is almost always a tortilla (corn or flour) wrapped around damned near anything. It's usually open on both ends, which can lead to salsa running down your arm. A burrito in Texas is usually a really big tortilla wrapped around the filling, but closed on both ends. A burrito is often served with a sauce on top, while a taco usually has the salsa inside.

While flour is usually the default, most taquerias offer a choice of corn or flour. A really good taqueria serves tortillas made on premises, but flour tortillas are a lot easier to make than corn, which explains the default. A true Tex-mex aficionado, however, will always opt for corn tortillas if they are hechas en casa.

Crispy tacos are available but are the choice of kids and people who don't know any better.

Anything else in there besides salsa & sour cream?

I don't recall sour cream, and salsa was do-it-yourself.

Verily, sour cream is a California thing, and an abomination.

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More than 20 years ago I worked for the Forest Service (Detroit, Oregon RD...at the time the second biggest money-maker in terms of timber sales...also scene of famous turn-of-the-century timber fraud), and a couple of co-workers were first generation Mexican-Americans. They lived down in the valley and commuted the 65 miles up to the ranger station, at least before fire season. Their wives would get up even earlier and make them fresh flour tortillas that they'd roll around soft scrambled eggs mixed with small chunks of boiled potato.

For a few weeks we shared a bunkhouse. The crockpot ran 24/7 with pinto beans, and on weekends I'd drive back to Portland and stock up on groceries I couldn't find in the little timber towns. I would make artichokes, steamer clams, and calzone for us, and Juan and Jerry would trade me from their stash of fresh tortillas, To this day, I haven't tasted a flour tortilla as good as those.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Fat-Guy,

Really enjoyed reading your report.  I'm Austinite and just discovered this site today after a story the newspaper ran.

Glad you liked the barbecue out at Smitty's in Lockhart.  The story behind Smitty's and Kruez is that when the former owner died, he left the building to his daughter and the business to his son.  Well, a couple of years ago the daughter tried to double the rent on the son and he moved out following much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the whole of Central Texas.  

I've been to both and the quality seems to be about equal.  I'm from Kansas City where we take our brisket very seriously, but I haven't found any there that can match Kreuz Market or Smitty's.

Artz Ribs on South Lamar (just south of Taco Xpress) is my favorite in-town barbecue joint, although Sam's is right up there.

The breakfast tacos around here are great.  You have to be careful when you order the chorizo though, if you aren't careful your hands will be orange all day and a lot of it is super greasy.  Every once in a while I'll get the barbacoa tacos (traditionaly, beef cheek) but it can be seriously greasy... but thoroughly enjoyable.

Great report, I'm glad to be on.

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First-time reader, first-time poster.

As a long-time Austinite, I loved your report.  It looks like you hit the high points...with one exception:  chili.  But that's another trip and another long thread...

Save your sleeve!!

Tip for El_Jefe and all taco eaters (soft, of course):  

Before folding your taco examine which end of the filling is closest to the edge.  Establish this end as your "biting end".

The other end will be your "holding end."  Fold about an inch of the tortilla over the holding end before folding the taco in half.  This creates a "burrito-like" end that will keep the filling from running out.

I've been doing this since I was a wee-Texan.   While in Mexico City a few years ago, my local travel companions were impressed that I ate my tacos this way.  "That's how we eat them here," they said.  I took that as a stamp of approval from the Motherland of the Taco.

Wonderful article Fat Guy.  Can't wait for the California episode.

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Glad you made it to Austin.  And discovered breakfast tacos.  The best thing about this town is the tex-mex breakfast.  It's the reason I could never live anywhere else.  But while breakfast tacos are the default, the breakfast of choice is migas.  I've never seen them up north, but they make every other breakfast obsolete.

And for the question on breakfast tacos -- the eggs are always scrambled and combined with potatoes, or bacon, or refried beans, or chorizo (variants are rare), virtually always in a flour taco.  Then you toss on a little salt and salsa or pico de gallo.  I think the potato combination is the worst of the four.

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 But while breakfast tacos are the default, the breakfast of choice is migas.  I've never seen them up north, but they make every other breakfast obsolete.

Hi, if you get a chance, could you please tell us more about the Migas, which I have not heard of before.  How do you make a migas and what goes in it?

Also many thanks to all for the add'l info on the breakfast taco, and the clever way to keep the salsa from dripping out.  What a great tip.

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Hi Fat Guy! I 've lived in Austin for 25 years. I work at Central Market: did your hosts take you there?? We have awesome produce, the best seafood case in the USA , 750 cheeses, etc. etc...I'm a Foodie: answer customer questions, help them with recipes, find stuff for them. We also have a cooking school. If you've been to IACP, you may have met the staff there.

Come back and eat at my house! By the way, Fonda San Miguel is excellent. But the food at my house is good , too, and cheaper!!

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Migas ( and my favorite is at Trudy's) is a combination mixture of: scrambled egg, cheddar cheese, corn tortillas and sliced jalapenos, all mixed up and stir-fried.....mmmm....served usually on a plate with refried beans and Spanish rice, with tortillas and salsa on the side....wash it down with a strong cup of coffee. Heaven.

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As with all great foods, there are disputes over the proper preparation of migas.  In the basic recipe, you rip tortillas into semi-small pieces and saute them in a pan with diced onions and diced jalapenos and usually diced tomatoes and a little garlic.  You have to experiment with the quantity of tortillas, enough to give bulk but not so much as to overwhelm the dish.  Then scramble eggs in with the ingredients.  They are often topped with melted cheese.  

Some people add mushrooms or chorizo.

The term comes from a spanish dish that sauteed diced bread and then scrambled eggs.  That can be pretty darn good too.

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I have to say, migas sound absolutely delicious and something I want to make very soon.  Thank you so much for the info.  One more thing.... I've seen 2 types of chorizo in our market (in Seattle).  One is rather soft and kind of crumbles & is somewhat greasy, and the other is hard and slices, which I think is maybe more of a Spanish chorizo?  Are both types used in the Texas migas & b-fast taco, or is one preferred over the other?  Also, does one see guacamole served along side?  Thanks!   PS..it's so nice to see so many Texans & other new people on eGullet.  Welcome.

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You definatley want to go with the bulk chorizo, not the hard version.  You still have to be careful with the chorizo, if  it's really greasy it will soak through the tortilla and run down your arm ... even if you fold the end in.

A lot of the taco joints around town are selling migas breakfast tacos.  Typically, migas come with a couple of wheat tortillas and you can spoon your migas into them.  So, now we have migas tacos... I'll get them but they aren't really as good.  A lot of places serve migas at every meal and I'll eat them at any time of day.

You may know that the Dallas/Fort Worth area is referred to as the Metro-Plex, a lot of people have started referring to Austin/San Antonio (only an hour apart) as the Migas-Plex because of the popularity and seemingly regional appeal of it.    

The other big breakfast dish here is menudo.... I haven't had the urge to try it yet, though... but I will some day.

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Fat Guy,

On the strength of your recommendation I tried La Michoacana today for lunch. Too bad my Spanish is so rusty! So I only got what I could reasonably identify. I ended up with their "lunch plate" consisting of a large serving of fajita, refried beans, rice, and six corn tortillas. That's the makin's for six tacos, folks. All for $5.68, the best lunch value I've had in a long time.

Next week I'll brave a trip to Acapulco Video and attempt to scam them out of some ceviche. If your New York persona is what worked against you, I'll give them my best slowww-talkin', Texas drawl. I'll report back next week...

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Foodie52,

Here it is (from Fat Guy's long article at the beginning of this thread)

La Michoacana Carneceria

1917-1 E. Seventh

Austin, TX

(512) 473-8487

day12michoacana.jpg

I can also tell you that there's plenty of intriguing stuff there. For sure I'm going back...

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And thanks for the skinny on Smitty's. Classic stuff!

That post "the father left the building to the daughter and the business to the son and the daughter doubled the rent" made her sound like a greedy shrew.  

The father should never have done that...  a landlord and a business owner are, by definition, in an adversarial relationship.  The father had hoped to tie brother and sister together, and leave the income for both.  Instead, he saw to it that the siblings would inevitability be ripped apart.

How would YOU like it if you were involved in a very famous business that had been in your family for decades...  You own the building and brother owns the business.  The rent (in a very small town where rents are cheap), i.e. your income, stays at relative pennies for years and years, while brother gets rich.

I think the greedy one is the brother...he absolutely refused to share the wealth...  and the stupid one was the father who put brother and sister in that position.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Next week I'll brave a trip to Acapulco Video and attempt to scam them out of some ceviche. If your New York persona is what worked against you, I'll give them my best slowww-talkin', Texas drawl. I'll report back next week...

I suspect (but do not know) that the problema is most likely that Acapulco Video is not SUPPOSED to be in the food business.  That means all sorts of inconvenient requirements, such as food handlers' licenses, health inspections, hefty fees to the state, and many other difficulties, including the risk of seeing oneself humiliated on television's "Food for Thought."

If I am correct in this speculation, I doubt Fat Guy's New York accent was the culprit.  They would likely only sell food to amigos whom they know will not rat them out.

After all this publicity, however, the Texas Food Policia will probably be on their case.  I think anyone who wants to try anything other than videos from Acapulco Video had better get their nalgas over there muy pronto.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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One is rather soft and kind of crumbles & is somewhat greasy, and the other is hard and slices,

After I fry the chorizo (just like you would brown hamburger meat) and drain it, I press it hard between paper towels...  That removes most of the grease.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Thanks, Jaymes, (You might be right) but I'm still gonna check out Acapulco Video. Was in the vicinity last week (when I went to La Michoacana), and noticed ads (billboards) about food at Acapulco Video. So, who's scammin' who?

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I think the greedy one is the brother...he absolutely refused to share the wealth...  and the stupid one was the father who put brother and sister in that position.

Jaymes-

Well, I recall from the stories around the time of the split that she came across as particularly uncompromising.  But, I'd guess that neither side was terribly innocent.  I wouldn't be so bold as to call the father stupid, but hey, if you're comfortable with it....

Heck, I'm just glad that there's now an extra barbecue joint in Lockhart serving serious 'cue.

EB

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Thanks, Jaymes, (You might be right) but I'm still gonna check out Acapulco Video. Was in the vicinity last week (when I went to La Michoacana), and noticed ads (billboards) about food at Acapulco Video. So, who's scammin' who?

So, why am I doing this? Why does someone climb Mt. Everest? (Because it's there and for most people insurmountable, I suppose). So, La Michoacana represents the "Mt. Everest" of Austin food. Besides, I don't even know what ceviche is (sure, I've read countless descriptions/recipes over the internet, but I've never HAD it!). So, let me make my ascent, and success or failure, I will report back! :biggrin:

Well, Netrover, if there are BILLBOARDS advertising food at Acapulco Video, I guess that blows my theory!  I'm looking forward to your report as to whether or not you manage to score some ceviche.  I used to live in Panama, and we bought it from our favorite restaurant (Restarante de las Americas) in gallon jugs.  I make it at home, but it sure ain't as good.  Can hardly wait to hear how it goes with you.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Heck, I'm just glad that there's now an extra barbecue joint in Lockhart serving serious 'cue.

You are totally right....  I hope bro & sis can eventually see the bright side.  Lockhart is now an even greater 'Q destination than before.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Fat Guy -

Thought you might find this mildly amusing.  I decided to contact Acapulco Video by phone to try to drag out some "ceviche" information.  Thought I might get further that way than by placing my large white-girl body in front of them.

It didn't work.

They answered the phone in Spanish, I started speaking in English.  After about three words out of my mouth, they unceremoniously hung up on me.

I ain't agivin' up, though.  My daughter is 24, gorgeous, and speaks fluent Spanish.  My secret weapon.  I'm aiming her in their direction.  If any Latin-blooded men are in the place when she walks in, we'll be sucking down ceviche muy pronto.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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