Austin City Taco Co.

Every now and again, I make a sacrifice to demonstrate why I reign as OMG of the DFW, Second of My Name (was named after my Grandma Ollie), Slayer of Breakfast Tacos — and Mother of Panthera Onca Parvus (Mouse and Crazy).

Couple of weeks ago, I was scheduled to interview Juan Rodriguez, Austin City Taco Co. culinary director. Due to scheduling conflicts on my part, I ended up just popping into the Fort Worth taco joint on my own to see what all the hubbub was about (sorry we missed ya, Juan).

Let me be clear. I wasn’t there to try anything outside of the breakfast taco genre. Everyone’s already written a ton about their Austin-influenced combinations. What I was interested in was their non-traditional takes on the breakfast taco.

Would they eff up the basics, like chorizo and egg? Would my beloved potato and egg arrive as mashed potatoes and a squiggly line of black beans? Had I risen at the crack of dawn and driven 45 minutes from home only to return disappointed and in need of crafting my own breakfast tacos??? I would soon find out.

They tell you exactly who they are — an homage to Austin and their taco scene — which is sort of why I was a little worried when it came time to the tasting bit — because we all know how I feel about Austin’s breakfast taco game.

Gotta say, I loved the vibe. Plus, their assistant manager Drew and the morning crew at Austin City Taco Co. delivered the best-improvised tour of the joint. Even from my short interactions, I could tell they were huge fans of the product and the brand — which is always a good sign.

Their breakfast taco menu is short and sweet — thank God. Migas (which I’ve never understood but enjoy), Bacon and Egg, Chorizo and Egg, Potato and Egg, and the Midnight Craving, a kitchen-sink approach to the breakfast taco.

The Midnight Craving sort of reminded me of the “everything,” “hurricane,” or “suicide tacos” that I grew up with in South Texas — but fancier. Ain’t no one serving up “bacon jam” back home. However, I admit this was a glorious and winning combo of eggs, brisket, potatoes, queso fresco, bacon jam, buttermilk ranch, all nestled inside of a fresh, scratch-made flour tortilla.

The Migas taco arrived in a half blue corn and half flour tortilla set up, and it was pretty darn delicious.

The pop of lime from the fresh salsa paired with the creamy avocado perched perfectly above the mountain of migas was downright delightful. Not to mention, that half blue corn tortilla was the shiznit.

And, that Chorizo and Egg??? Well, they let the chorizo speak for itself, and it said, “Te quiero mucho, amorcito mío.” (issa good thing)

I think, though, my favorite part of the visit was getting a couple of slices of bacon just because. We didn’t order the Bacon and Egg, but Drew insisted we needed to check out the bacon.

Heavenly.

People, they candy their bacon lightly with brown sugar. Heavenly.

Look, I’m a stickler for traditional breakfast tacos, but the thing is, these guys aren’t pretending to be your local taqueria. If you didn’t like their tacos, then pay more attention.

Drew kept talking up the fact that all they want to do is serve good food. They’re upfront about the fact they’re not in it to set trends or serve up traditional anything — they simply wish to deliver hot, fresh quality flavors like “the cravings you want right now,” and that’s exactly what they served up.

So, while I still prefer the more traditional breakfast taco of San Antonio and South Texas, there’s no reason to hate on Austin City Taco Co. They’re not claiming to be anything but delicious — and I can attest that they are exactly that. Go get you some. It was definitely worth the drive.

LET’S KEEP IT REAL: First and foremost, I do everything for the love of food. Most of what I write about is because I love it! If I don’t love it, I tell you about that, too. From time to time, I may receive monetary or product compensation for mentioning products, offering recommendations, providing endorsements, or including links to products or services when I blog. While that may be the case for some posts, it is not the case for all. When it’s sponsored, you’ll see #sponsored in the social media post announcement. When I’m just sharing the love, I won’t use that particular tag or hashtag. What you need to know is that I only give shout outs when I actually use the product or love it so much it deserves a shout out, sponsored or not.

Simple Grilling on a Sunny Day

Today was the first day in a week where the sun was shining and there were no clouds in sight. What better way to take advantage of the break from all the rain than with some simple grilling?!

Today was the first day in a week where the sun was shining and there were no clouds in sight. What better way to take advantage of the break from all the rain than with some simple grilling?!

Ma has been asking me to repeat this stuffed baby bell pepper recipe since I made it a few months back, and instead of broiling the peppers like I did last time, I put a new spin on it by placing everything on the grill. It’s quick and easy with minimal prep time.

Grilled and Stuffed Sweet Baby Bells
2 Chicken Breasts (boneless preferred)
1 Garlic Clove
1/2 Onion
2 tsp Knorr Caldo de Tomate OR Knorr Caldo de Pollo (bouillon)
1 Bag of Sweet Baby Bell Peppers
1 4oz Soft Goat Cheese
8 oz Shredded Cheddar Cheese (1/2 of a 16oz block)
Zest/Juice of a Lime
Paprika
Cumin
Pepper
Garlic Powder
Salt

Place chicken breasts in a pot, cover with water, and add garlic, onion, and bouillon. Bring to a boil, reduce and let simmer until chicken is cooked through, approximately 20 minutes for boneless chicken, longer for bone-in.

While chicken is cooking, start to heat up the grill and then split each baby bell pepper lengthwise and remove the seeds, creating a pocket to fill.

Once the chicken is done, remove from pot and set aside in a large bowl to cool. Shred the chicken using two forks, separating all the meat and removing any bones (if using bone-in chicken).

Add to the cooled, shredded chicken, the goat cheese, shredded cheddar, and zest and juice of one lime. Season the mixture to your taste using paprika, cumin, pepper, and garlic power – mostly equal parts. Mix thoroughly and then salt to taste.IMG_1725

Take the seasoned chicken and cheese mixture and gently fill each sweet baby bell pepper side generously but without mounding the top. Be sure to get into every corner of the pepper to avoid empty pockets.

Depending on your grill, gently place the stuffed baby bells onto the grill, being careful they don’t fall through. Smaller grill lines can be used to help support the baby IMG_1738bells by lining them up parallel to the grill lines without falling through. Use your judgement, and if your grill is too wide, use foil on the grill to avoid any peppers from falling through.

Once all on the grill, close the lid and let heat through, approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Check at least once half way through to ensure the grill isn’t too hot. You can also stuff large peppers, but they must stay on the grill for at least 20 minutes to cook through at medium-high temperature.

Get you a glass of some refreshing sangria, a cold beer, or a tall glass of lemonade, sit back and enjoy popping in those cheesy, sweet bites of deliciousness while you soak up some sun. I know that’s exactly what I did today and loved every second of it!

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Get Mash’d, Hold the Spuds

I’m alive! It’s been too long; I know. So, here’s what gives: I have zero excuses, and I simply ate/cooked a great deal, took pictures, took videos, posted to social media and totally ignored you. I’m an honest engine – what can I say? It’s the truth. I’m also good at dusting off, moving forward and trusting you can do the same; so, let’s virtually shake hands, make up and get Mash’d!

Mash'd - DFW - Food - Moonshine - Life

Four words: Fried Chicken and Ribs.

I’ve known about this place for a while and thought it was about time I went in to see what all the hub-bub was about.

Mash’d features American fare with a twist, infusing a library of house-made moonshines into a variety of unique offerings across the menu. Their bar and beverage menu is killer. Every drink we ordered stealthily delivered a mighty wallop with every smooth and graceful tasty sip. They incorporate infused moonshine into just about everything, and it works. Watermelon-infused moonshine, blueberry-infused moonshine, vanilla bean house-infused moonshine – good Lord, these people have caramel moonshine for those special occasions where you need a little more sugar with your alcohol! It’s brilliant!Guacamole - DFW - Food - Mash'd

Their moonshine magic also works its way into their mussels and bbq sauce. Mmmmm, bbq sauce. Their Bootleg Ribs are no less than spectacular. I’ve eaten a lot of ribs. These moonshining masters know what they’re doing with these babies. They’re fall-off, lip-smacking, finger-kissing, hum-while-you’re-chewing spectacular. And, it’s not like bbq-place ribs. Totally different animal. (well, not different animal but you know what I mean) These are more like “slow-roasted, basted in moonshine bbq and finished on the grill individually” sort of amazing. The flavors are sweet and spicy, tangy and salty, smoky and rich but not smokehouse sort of ribs. And, they’re served with a fresh and crisp coleslaw and “MASH’D tators” that need a little MASH’D makeover.

Those potatoes were the ONLY thing on the menu we tasted that were sub-par in comparison to the bar the other dishes had set. The appeal was that they were named as if they were some sort of special treat, and when they reached the table, they were just plain ol’ slightly garlic and cheese enhanced potatoes plopped on by a scoop that someone at Luby’s may have lost. They were just out of place, man. Totally out of place with everything else they had going on. So, if you get any dishes with the spuds, sans the Shepherd’s Pie, sub them out with coleslaw. Believe me, you’ll be happier for it and not feel like you just saw your childhood hero pick up a $20 bill someone else dropped and put it in his own pocket. Those tators were just wrong for the brand this place has clearly workedShepherd's Pie - Mash'd - DFW hard to build. All it would take is a little lemon zest – just sayin’.

But, let’s move on because that little side dish incident shouldn’t deter you from enjoying every other damn thing on the menu. And, let me say that the use of the potatoes on the Shepherd’s Pie is fabulous. They slather spiced meat and veggies on a pastry crust and top it all off with Parmesan-loaded mashed potatoes, a huge punch of flavor in a creamy bite.

Another killer dish was The Chicken. They serve up hot, crispy, juicy marinated fried chicken atop a soft bun with fresh, cold coleslaw and pickles. Chick-Fa-Who? Chick-Fa-What? This sandwich is just what the doctor ordered – she may not be AMA certified, but trust me – she wants you to eat this.

Overall, a killer vibe, outstanding service and badass food that will require some serious naptime after consumption.

 

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