Almost 20 years after it opened its first location, Austin-based Tacodeli will open in downtown Austin for the first time. The restaurant from chef/founder Roberto Espinosa and partner Eric Wilkerson will be located at 301 Congress Ave. and is expected to open early next year.
The downtown location will be open for breakfast and lunch and serve a menu of 40 made-from-scratch tacos. This will be the sixth Austin location for Tacodeli, which originally opened in 1999.
La Posada in South Austin reminded me of my recent trip to San Antonio. It wasn’t just the homemade flour and corn tortillas, the Spanish-language musical soundtrack or the terracotta-colored banquettes. It’s direct, simple and really good.
Shredded strands of barbacoa in one taco ($2.49) cling together, bound by fat more notable for its flavor than grease, and tender strips of lengua ($2.59) are tempered by the sweetness of stewed tomatoes and green peppers. The beef fajita ($2.49) was cooked a few seconds longer than I’d prefer but was still juicy and caramelized, with lightly grilled green peppers and onions lending vegetal snap and not much heat. I recommend spooning the sweet table salsa, a soupy tomato base with flecks of serrano, onion and black pepper.
La Posada makes both flour and corn tortillas, the former gentle and buttery, the latter springy and milky like baked corn custard.
And I didn’t have to get on I-35 to enjoy them.
6800 West Gate Blvd. 512-444-2631, laposadasouth.com
It will be the fourth location for the restaurant, which has two locations in Austin and one in Houston. The East Austin location will serve the same menu as the other spots, along with craft cocktails and late-night hours on Friday and Saturday.
The Hot Luck festival co-founded by Aaron Franklin proved again in its second year that there is no food festival like it in the country. The a la carte festival spanned four days and included four evening and one daytime food events, and several chefs popped up with bites at the slew of music concerts that spread over the four days.
Franklin again swung open the doors of his Franklin Barbecue for “Hi, How Are You? “the official kick-off party for the festival he co-founded last year with Mike Thelin of Feast Portland and Mohawk owner James Moody.
Opening night focused on smoked meats, as Franklin’s staff served award-winning Franklin Barbecue inside and one popular gentleman patrolled the grounds outside passing out gigantic beef ribs. With several food stalls set up outside featuring food from Sam Jones of North Carolina and Daniel Vaughn from Texas Monthly (with an assist from Miguel Vidal of Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ) and plenty of cold beer and whiskey flowing, the first night had the feel of a tailgate party at the most famous barbecue restaurant in the country.
Friday’s Night Court event at Fair Market celebrated chefy plays on nostalgic food inspired by mall food courts of the 80s and welcomed a stunning roster of regional and national talent, such as Andy Ricker of Portland’s Pok Pok, who inspired memories of the free samples at Chinese restaurants in the mall with his khao moo daeng Chinese-Thai barbecue pork on jasmine rice. (See our full photo gallery here.) The nightcap event at Cisco’s Restaurant & Bakery captured the creative but deeply rooted spirit of the festival, as chefs prepared world class tacos for attendees in one of Austin’s most beloved culinary institutions.
If Thursday mimicked a tailgate and Friday mirrored a house party, the centerpiece Al Fuego event felt like party at your best friend’s ranch. (See our full photo gallery here.) The bucolic Wild Onion Ranch south of town welcomed chefs who cooked over open fire and did not hold back on the flavor or fun. If people were brave enough to visit all of the stations, they’re still thinking about the homemade Spam burger from Billy Durney of Hometown Bar-B-Que in Brooklyn; the beef hot dog with ikura and grilled spring onion from Renee Erickson of The Walrus and the Carpenter in Seattle; the smoked tri-tip on black sesame rice cracker from Loro; the beef tongue from Contigo; and what I like to call “The Finisher,” a doughnut drizzled with foie gras caramel from Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar in Houston, which sent attendees dizzily into the night.
By Sunday afternoon, you might expect the festival to have taken its food off the gas after three nights of fun, but the Austin Speed Shop hosted an open-air brunch called Coupe de Grille that went full throttle. (See our full photo gallery here.) Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye thrilled with the bite of the day, a migas taco served on white Sonoran flour tortilla and Houston’s Chris Shepherd of UB Preserv showed his deft touch mashing up cultures with boudin shumai. They were among about a dozen chefs who fed guests that wandered around a collection of gorgeous vintage cars and hot rods on display. Among the automobiles was a 1951 Ford F1, a classic that Franklin is having the team at Austin Speed Shop restore. Maybe it’ll be nice and shiny for the third annual festival next year, which seems like a fait accompli, as the organizers have dialed in the details that make their festival one of the most interactive, engaging, tasty, filling and unique food events you’ll find in America.
Franklin Barbecue after-hours. It’s not a scene you see often. But Franklin swings open the doors for Hi, How Are You? the official kick-off party for Hot Luck, the festival Franklin co-founded last year with Mike Thelin of Feast Portland and Mohawk owner James Moody. Here’s what went down.
What better way to spend a summer afternoon than with a plate of fried chicken and a cold glass of rosé? The fine folks at Mattie’s know what’s up. The pan-Southern restaurant set in a gorgeous historic home is rolling out the blankets (figuratively) for a picnic on Saturday. From 1 to 4 p.m. the restaurant will serve a plate of fried chicken and glass of C.L. Butaud’s 2017 rosé, celebrating the release of the vintage that is a blend of Grenache Noir, Piquepoul Blanc and Rolle sourced from the One Elm Vineyard in New Home, Texas. The first glass comes with the $35, after that, you’re on your own, and can buy the wine by the glass or bottle. Tickets here.
“Texans love rosé. Living in the perfect place between a white and a red wine, rosé is the perfect accompaniment for fried chicken in an outdoor setting … juicy, structured and dry with a chill balances every crispy bite,“ La Corsha Hospitality wine director Paula Rester said.
How much do you love lamb? Hot Luck is prepared to find out. The food and music festival is hosting a Kebabathon over the next four days. The promotion is a celebration of shaved roasted meat and its global influences co-sponsored by the American Lamb Board..
How does it work? You head to one of the four participating restaurants, purchase a kebab, grab a passport card and get in a stamp in it and then try and collect all four through Sunday. If you compete your passport by visiting all four stops, you get (in addition to a belly full of tasty lamb) a pair of lamb-branded socks or water bottle. Not baaaaa’d. (Sorry.)
The four participating restaurants and their menus below:
Frank, 407 Colorado St. Merguez sausage in pita with harissa labneh and red pepper sauce.
Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto Blvd. Lamb Frikadelle with Duckefett
Kebabalicious, 1311 E. 7th St. Ground spiced lamb with farm-to-table charbroiled zucchini, caramelized red onions, arugula/shredded lettuce mix, heirloom tomatoes, shredded smoked gouda, topped with tzatziki & red sauce. Wrapped up in a za’atar spiced pita.
Clay Pit, 1601 Guadalupe St. Seekh Kebab: Prepared with minced lamb, ginger and spices, grilled on skewers in Tandoor.
“Honestly, we consider kebabs, shawarmas and gyros to all be interchangeable – showcasing and educating that Doners from Europe, Kababs from India, Shawarmas from the middle east, gyros from Turkey, souvlakis from Greece are all kebabs,” Hot Luck’s Adi Anand said.
Seafood-centric Mexican restaurant Alcomar on South First Street closed permanently after service Tuesday night. The restaurant was a member of the El Chile Group, which got its start on Manor Road with El Chile in 2003.
In the decade and a half since, the restaurant group has opened several concepts (El Chilito, El Alma and Yuyo among them) and swapped restaurant locations inside the group.
El Chile opened a location on South First Street in 2013, but that location morphed into the breezy Alcomar In 2015.
In an emailed statement, management thanked its patrons and said it was actively searching for a new location.
“We worked diligently to renegotiate a new lease that would allow us to continue offering an affordable, high-quality dining experience, but staying open was simply not a viable option,” the statement read.
That frozen concoction that helps teachers hang on will soon be flowing freely.
If you think kids can’t wait for the last day of school, just imagine how teachers feel. El Arroyo can imagine it. And the Austin-owned Tex-Mex restaurant on West Fifth Street is here for the teacher.
On the last day of school (May 30), the restaurant with the famous sign and its never-ending stream of pithy comments is teaming with 512 Tequila to serve free margaritas to teachers. While there are no specific terms on the special, management says they will be following the laws of safe and legal alcohol service. One also assumes the margaritas won’t stop flowing until after the final bell actually rings. But, who knows?
So, get ready for some sick burns about bad students and some rideshare surge pricing. You’ve earned it, teachers.
I admit that over the past year when I would drive past Trippy Tacos (4205 Mancahaca Road), with its mildly psychedelic cartoon logo, I always assumed the small taco truck outside of a convenience store was operated by a South Austin hippie with dreads. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s actually run by a mother-daughter team from Guanajuato, Mexico. The moniker and logo was actually devised by the owner’s teenage son.
As the name somewhat implies, there are some gringo tacos here, but I ain’t mad at it. Anyone who has been to Torchy’s probably loves the Trailer Park (and, unless they’re mad, gets it ‘trashy’ with queso). Trippy does Torchy’s one better with its namesake taco. The Trippy Taco ($4) features a long twirl of fried chicken wrapped in crispy fried bacon and dotted with mango salsa. I’m usually not a fan of mango in my tacos, but it works well here as a sweet balance to the salty and savory components. There is a light sprinkle of shredded cheese, which gives a tough of tang without drowning the thing in queso like the one down the street.
The name and trademark taco may be newfangled, but there are more classic Mexican stylings, as well, like the steak a la Mexicana ($3.25) studded with potatoes, onions, and serranos under a shower of Jack cheese. That taco is a meal almost unto itself. Kick it up a few notches with one of five homemade salsas. On the mild end I like the tomatillo; while the creamy green salsa called the Monster will hit you right in the sinuses.
The spicy shrimp ($4) needs no salsa assist for its sting. The small shrimp are dusted with cayenne and grilled on the plancha and served with vinegary pickled onions, a generous portion of avocado and more of that mango salad. Get the shrimp on the homemade corn tortillas (the flour are a fairly measly bagged variety), which are a little tough but packed with corn flavor.
Trippy Tacos is open Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.