Tag Archives: tacos

Austin: Pizza, Tacos and Sunshine

My sister, who lives in Austin, is getting married this year. And since I don’t want to be an absentee maid of honor, I will be venturing down South several times over the next few months. The first of these visits came last weekend for her engagement party. Over my 2 days there, I ate at no fewer than three Austin establishments. The first of these, Magnolia Cafe, I’ve written about before, so we’ll skip it.

On Friday night, we piled into the car and drove down to the drag to fight the UT students for parking and then for sidewalk space. We did not fight them, however, for a booth at the Mellow Mushroom (8:00p must be when the “old” people eat). We were seated right away and each ordered something different:

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Kosmic Karma: Red sauce base with feta and mozzarella cheeses, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and Roma tomatoes with a pesto swirl.

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Mellowterranean: Olive oil and garlic base with all natural grilled chicken, onions, roasted red peppers, black olives, chives, feta and mozzarella cheeses with a side of tzatziki sauce.

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Buffalo Chicken: Mozzarella cheese, grilled Buffalo chicken, caramelized onions, Applewood smoked bacon with a swirl of Buffalo sauce. Served with your choice of bleu cheese or ranch dressing.

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House Special: Red sauce base with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, ham, Applewood smoked bacon, mushrooms, black olives, Roma tomatoes, green peppers and onions. Topped with extra mozzarella.

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And Kate built her own salad… shout out to the ring!

The next day was February 2nd and my bestie and I were cruising around with the top down. I repeat: February 2nd, it was 73 degrees and sunny. Texas-1, New York-0.

We went to one of Austin’s favorite food trucks, Torchy’s Tacos on South 1st.

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“Damn Good Tacos” indeed.

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The Wrangler: eggs and potatoes topped with smoked beef brisket and jack cheese. Served with tomatillo salsa.

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Street Corn: Fresh roasted off-the-cob corn topped with ancho aioli, queso fresco, cilantro and dusted with New Mexico red chili powder.

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The Independent: Hand-battered and fried portobello mushroom strips, refried black beans, roasted corn, escabeche carrots, queso fresco, cilantro, and avocado. Drizzled with ancho aioli.

I must say, as someone who aspires to run a food truck one day, I know for sure that I would not make tacos in Austin. This is a market cornered by established joints like this that are, in fact, damn good. What kind of food would you like to see served from a truck?

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Margarita Thursday!

To honor my mother’s birthday, May 17th, I knew only one thing: our evening meal had to go well with margaritas. Whenever I was home, especially in the last few years, my mother and I would celebrate the most mundane of days by putting the word “Margarita” in front of them. If Monday was particularly boring, we’d turn it into “Margarita Monday,” you see the distinction?

And thanks to my new boyfriend, Pinterest, I found the perfect dinner for this, what we’ll deem “Margarita Thursday”: crunchy tacos made with corn tortillas. I decided to serve this with the regular guacamole as well as a spicy mango salsa I found (also on Pinterest).

I marinated the chicken in spicy chipotle salsa for one hour.

Filled with chicken, black beans, avocado and cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I bought a rotisserie chicken, I know it’s sort of cheating, but Rachel Ray does it so ppbblllttt… I used half of it here for this dish (stay tuned for what happens with the other half). I added a spicy chipotle along with some adobo sauce and some salsa to the chicken.

To cook the tacos, I filled the skillet with olive oil, and carefully assembled them in this order: chicken, black beans, avocado slices, then cheese (easy to make veggie, just leave out the chicken!) Then I carefully pressed them with a spatula so they keep their shape. They cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crunchy.

The two dips start the same: garlic, onion, cilantro, jalapeño

Avocado and tomatoes go in one, mango in the other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since these two dips start the same, save yourself some time and chop the garlic, onions, cilantro and jalapeños only once. Then you add mango to one and avocados and tomatoes to the other. The mango salsa gets the juice of one lime and the guacamole gets the juice of one lemon and voila! Two different, yet equally delicious dips for your tacos.

Damn those look gooood!

Margaritas made from scratch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made a slight variation of your classic margarita:  I mixed 1 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar to which I added the juice of 8 limes and 1 lemon. I skipped the orange liqueur because I didn’t have any, nor did I have the will to purchase any. Instead, I added the juice of one orange, silver tequila, ice and guess what? They were delicious. POP POP.

Cheers to you, Jeanie! This one’s for you.

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