Tacodeli opening first downtown Austin location

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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 Vaquero at Tacodeli Spyglass.

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.



Taco Tuesday: La Posada on West Gate

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.

A selection of tacos at La Posada in West Gate Boulevard. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

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.

Some of the best barbacoa tacos in Austin are at La Posada. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

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



Tender lengua tacos at La Posada. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Ramen Tatsu-Ya coming to East Sixth Street

We told you in March that the owners of Ramen Tatsu-Ya had taken over the lease at the old Qui/Kuneho spot at 1600 E.  Sixth St. And, today, we found out what they have in store: Another Ramen Tatsu-Ya.

#1 Original at Ramen Tatsu-Ya (Jay Janner AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

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 new location is expected to open this summer.

Photo recap: Aaron Franklin’s Hot Luck festival sets itself apart in second year

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.

Chef and Munchies star Matty Matheson has personality to spare. The Canadian has been having a blast in Austin, and his Instagram stories are must-view material this week. (Credit: Alison Narro)

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.

Chinese-Thai pork from chef Andy Ricker of Pok Pok at Night Court during Hot Luck. (Credit: Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

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.

Chef Philip Speer digs in at Al Fuego during Hot Luck. (Credit: Alison Narro)

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.

PHOTOS: Night Court | Al Fuego | Coupe de Grille

Select photos from the long weekend below:

Chef Chad Dolezal of Hightower with his Mapo(zole) Tofu at Night Court. (Scott Moore FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Chef Laura Sawicki of Launderette rocked a buttered popcorn ice cream sundae at Night Court. (Scott Moore FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Chefs Billy Durney and Ivan Orkin of New York City. (Scott Moore FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Chef Jason Stude of La Corsha Hospitality and his chicken fried steak sandwiches at Night Court. (Scott Moore FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
The new Austin-based Rambler, a Texas limestone-filtered sparkling water from Hot Luck co-founder James Moody and partners, made quite a splash at this year’s festival. (Credit: Alison Narro)
Festival attendee Jacqueline Howard of Chicago samples the flavors of Al Fuego. (Credit: Chad Wadsworth)
Fermín Nuñez of Suerte during Al Fuego. (Scott Moore FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Beer-can chickens fill a smoker at Al Fuego. (Scott Moore FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Beef tongue from Contigo at Al Fuego. (Scott Moore FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Chef Abraham Conlon of Fat Rice in Chicago goes to town on his dish at Al Fuego. (Credit: Jackie Lee Young)
Seattle Dog with ikura and charred spring onion at Al Fuego from Renne Erickson of The Walrus and the Carpenter. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Smoked tri-tip with Thai chili chimicurri on black sesame cracker from Loro at Al Fuego. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
I call this bite “The Finisher,” a doughnut glazed with foie gras caramel served by Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar in Houston. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
The Austin Speed Shop hosted Coupe de Grille Sunday. (Scott Moore FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Chef Yoshi Okai of Otoko serves beef with kale at Coupe de Grille at Austin Speed Shop. (Credit: Chad Wadsworth)
Pork pate melts from Cured in San Antonio. (Scott Moore FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
The UB Preserv team serving boudin shumai. (Scott Moore FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Sunday barbacoa taco from Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ. (Scott Moore FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Korean short rib chilaquilles from Rico Torres of Mixtli in San Antonio. (Scott Moore FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Hot rods and hot food at Coupe de Grille during Hot Luck. (Credit: Chad Wadsworth)
Best bite a Coupe de Grille — migas taco on white Sonoran wheat tortilla from Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Cold burrata from Il Brutto was a welcome treat at Sunday’s Coupe de Grille. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Aaron Franklin with his 1951 Ford F1 that the team at Austin Speed Shop is helping him rebuild. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Photos: Scenes from the opening night of Hot Luck at Franklin Barbecue

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.

Opening night is all about smoked meat. Franklin brought in Billy Durney from Brooklyn, who did a riff on his lamb banh mi from his Hometown Bar-B-Que; Daniel Vaughn, the barbecue editor (and amateur chef) at Texas Monthly; and Sam Jones (pictured), who served pulled pork sliders balanced with tangy cole slaw. (Credit: Teresa Robertson)


Chef Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie and his wife, filmmaker Anna Margaret Hollyman, didn’t hold back. (Credit: Teresa Robertson)


Chef and Munchies star Matty Matheson has personality to spare. The Canadian has been having a blast in Austin, and his Instagram stories are must-view material this week. (Credit: Alison Narro)


A Franklin Barbecue employee walked around handing out massive beef ribs and making a lot of people very happy. (Credit: Teresa Robertson)


Yeti mugs not only made for great swag but also for fantastic impromptu tables for plates of barbecue, as exhibited by festgoer Gina Jerram. (Credit: Teresa Robertson)


Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions in Portland perfectly summed up the vibe of Hot Luck. He made rattlesnake and python chili for the Hot Snakes show at Mohawk. When asked if he had ever made the dish before, he responded, “No. Are you kidding me?” (Credit: Pooneh Ghana)


Aaron Franklin is always good for some cheeky humor. The lover of dad jokes sporting a Kitty Stardust t-shirt at his festival. (Credit: Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)


Daniel Vaughn can’t just writer about smoked meat, he can also execute some tasty dishes. He and Miguel Vidal of Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ, smoked pork shoulder, sauced it and served it in a bun with jalapeno-dill relish. Another winner. What a showoff. (Credit: Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)


How good is Franklin Barbecue? KGSR and Texas Monthly’s Andy Langer slipped and busted his ass on the pavement at Franklin but was able to keep his plate aloft and unscathed. (Credit: Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)


Hot Luck co-founder James Moody (left, pictured with Lauren Stupak, chef Alex Stupak of Empellon in New York City and Matheson) on the first night of Hot Luck: “Everybody’s gonna go home smelling like smoke and whiskey, which is exactly what I wanted.”



Fried chicken and rosé picnic at Mattie’s this weekend

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.

Mattie’s at Green Pastures. Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN



Hot Luck’s Kebabathon runs from Thursday-Sunday this week in Austin

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.



El Chile Group closes its Mexican seafood restaurant in South Austin

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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.

Alcomar located at 1816 closed Tuesday. Rodolfo Gonzalez AMERICAN-STATESMAN

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.

The closing of Alcomar in South Austin comes less than two days after North Austin restaurant Bonhomie announced its closure.



El Arroyo serving free margaritas to teachers on final day of school (May 30)

That frozen concoction that helps teachers hang on will soon be flowing freely.

Austin Tex-Mex restaurant El Arroyo’s famous marquee sign, whose black letters tell a new joke to passing motorists each day, is featured in “El Arroyo’s Big Book of Signs Volume One.” This is one of the signs featured in the book.

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.


Taco Tuesday: Trippy Tacos on Manchaca Road

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.

The spicy shrimp (left) and Trippy Taco (right) from Trippy Tacos. Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN

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.