Tag Archives: Austin

78704 Roundup: Breakfast Tacos Galore

Does anyone remember that Shit Austinites Say video, the one with a bunch of college kids just standing around, chanting “TACOS, TACOS, TACOS!”? Well, if there’s one true stereotype you can pin on this city, it’s that we love us some tacos. Particularly ones of the breakfast variety. From taco stands and trailers to nice restaurants, this city is a taco lovers paradise: but you needn’t stray far out of the ’04 to find a big variety of them. Below I have compiled a list of my favorite places to get breakfast tacos in 78704, and evaluated them based on my own personal preferences. This list is very subjective, and with all the tacos in this zip code I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed a few. Drop a line in the comments if your favorite down-south breakfast tacos didn’t make the cut!

Melizzo’s

IMG_0517Melizzoz takes the cake. These are THE best tacos in the city, hands down, Torchy’s be damned. I know, saying that might be blasphemous in Austin, but Torchy’s has grown a bit too big for their britches in my opinion, and their breakfast tacos are massive and very greasy. Melizzoz is slightly similar to Torchy’s in menu only: they make “designer” tacos, with interesting ingredients and cute names. But in execution, Melizzoz tacos are way fresher, and as the truck says, “made with love”. Located in a trailer on South First street, you can pick them up or enjoy your tacos outside on a colorful picnic table. Pro tip: stay for lunch and get the fried avocado taco. You will not regret it. It might be the best decision you ever made, in fact.

Benefits: Amazing tacos made with love, and a beautiful outdoor setting.

Drawbacks: Closes early on some weekdays.

El Tacorrido

-Postcard_of_El_Tacorrido-20000000004540227-500x375El Tacorrido is a great Mexican taqueria on the corner of Oltorf and South First street. It’s walk up or drive through only, so its perfect when you’re in a hurry or on the go. You can build your own breakfast taco for $2. Pro tip: you can add things that aren’t listed on the menu under “breakfast taco ingredients”, such as avocado or even chicken. Open from 7 am until midnight every day, El Tacorrido is one of the most reliable places for quick tacos in 78704. Everything is made fresh to order, and tacos are reasonably sized (small), so get a couple of them if you’re really hungry.

Benefits: Convenient, cheap, and reliable.

Drawbacks: You might want to learn a few words in Spanish if you want your order made correctly. (Is that a drawback, though?)

Taco Deli

lsTaco Deli isn’t exactly what I would call “authentic” by any measure, but they make some damn delicious tacos nonetheless. They have multiple locations around town, but my favorite is the one tucked away on Spyglass. It has a great outdoor seating area– when it’s not too crowded– and is right next to the greenbelt. The tacos are what I would call “Americanized”, or even “Austinized”, with ingredients and combinations you would never see in Mexico. Regardless, it’s absolutely delicious and their breakfast tacos are always fresh and never greasy. Definitely the healthy hippy place to get tacos. Taco Deli is also the leader in exporting breakfast tacos to local coffee shops fresh and early every morning, so even if you can’t make it over there, chances are you can grab one somewhere. I usually get them at the Irie Bean on South Lamar.

Benefits: Fresh and healthy, available everywhere.

Drawbacks: They stop serving breakfast tacos at 11 am on weekdays and 3pm on weekends, which is akin to treason in my book.

La Mexicana

6167195La Mexicana brings all the authenticity to the South Austin breakfast taco scene. A traditional Mexican Panaderia (bakery), they have way more to offer than just sugar cookies and churros. Besides being a great place to grab fresh fruit juice, La Mexicana makes some absolutely killer breakfast tacos, and very cheap. Their handmade flour tortillas are fluffy and real, which is no less than you would expect from a Mexican bakery, but it will amaze you every time you bite into one. This place gets overlooked in my opinion, and as long as its been around I still consider it somewhat of a hidden treasure.

Benefits: Open 24 hours a day!! (Also on an unrelated note, get a slice of their Tres Leches cake. You can thank me later.)

Drawbacks: Not exactly the best ambiance for dining.

Rosita’s Al Pastor

lRosita’s Al Pastor is another place that earns the title of “authentic”. I learned about this gem of a trailer from Melissa, my go-to friend for everything food related in Austin. It’s a bit outside of 78704, situated on Riverside a few blocks east of 35. It is cheap, quick, and amazingly delicious. The menu is surprisingly huge for a food truck, but they seem to manage it just fine.

Benefits: Convenient and cheap.

Drawbacks: The line can be long on weekends. Also, the outdoor seating is limited so you might want to take it to-go.

Habaneros

2011-03-03-Habanero-Cafe-Austin-TXLast but in no way least is Habaneros Mexican Cafe on Oltorf. This is the place to go if you want to sit down and enjoy your breakfast tacos with a nice coffee or horchata. Only open for breakfast and lunch, the service is awesome and the place is always pleasantly busy. Family owned and operated for 20 years, Habaneros is consistent and delicious. They make their own toritllas as well, and for a sit-down dining experience the price is really cheap. This is definitely the place to go for brunch, or after a night downtown when you just want to sit and watch the world go by.

Benefits: Sit-down dining with food truck prices.

Drawbacks: There’s usually a wait for brunch on the weekends (worth it, though).

78704 Roundup: Dance Party with Monica

1526632_197896657077988_1791837052_nFor the 78704 Roundup, I planned to write about everything from profiles of cool south Austinites to awesome things to do in this particular zip, and I get to do both in my very first post. Say hello to Monica, the best dance+fitness instructor around. My best friend Melissa and I discovered Monica’s Zumba classes at Gold’s Gym a few years ago, and we have followed her around ever since- and we’re not the only ones! Monica turns “an hour at the gym” into pure fun. She now teaches at Lifetime Fitness as well as local dance studio Tiempo, right on South Congress. She’s also a born-and-raised local, a rare breed in this ever growing city. In addition to working a full-time job and teaching dance classes, she’s also nearly 8 months pregnant, so a big thanks to Monica for taking the time to answer a few questions about herself, and Austin. 🙂

Why is Dance so much more fun than a boring gym workout?

 The music, moves and energy you find in a Zumba class is what makes Zumba a more fun workout than your regular gym routine. The music is fast and upbeat, the moves are fun and easy to follow, and the energy is addicting and exhilarating. You also leave class with a feeling of euphoria from releasing endorphins.

What is your “day job”?

 During the normal work hours, I am an Enforcement Coordinator for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. I monitor compliance schedules and implementation of ordering provisions for formal enforcement actions until a case is resolved or closed; I conduct reviews of technical reports and determine compliance with applicable statutes, rules and orders.

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She shares my love for dachshunds, too.

Where are you favorite places to eat in south Austin?

 Arandas! My favorite authentic Mexican Food in Austin. Umi – The longhorn roll is amazing! They also have a great happy hour! Amy’s Ice Cream – Desert is my favorite meal of the day! Chuys – I love their Tex Mex! Pho Thaison – Their vermicelli bowls are amazing!

What are you favorite “hidden gems” in the city that not many others know about?

Hamilton Pool – It’s very nice and relaxing. McKinney State Falls Park – Nice hiking and good swimming spots. Thirsty Planet (this one is a little outside of Austin but worth the drive): I don’t really like beer or visiting breweries but my husband loves them. This one is my favorite to go to and I actually enjoy it there. The people who work there are friendly and inviting. The facility is small and beautifully located in the hill country. Bull Creek District Park – Nice place for hiking and swimming. Juice Spot – The best smoothies and juice I have ever had. The service is always great and the drinks are amazing! Absolutely the freshest in town!

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 Thanks for the awesome tips, Monica!

If you want to have a blast, check out Monica’s class schedule over on Facebook.

The 78704 Roundup: News, Reviews, & To-Dos for South Austin, Texas

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A friend of mine recently moved from Albuquerque, New Mexico into my garage apartment here in Austin, Texas. Excited to show my city off, I made him a list of great places he simply must visit, and things he should do, all within the awesome 78704. I quickly realized that I should expand this into a series, so that’s what I’m doing:

Welcome to The 78704 Roundup, a collection of news, reviews, and to-dos for people in and around South Austin. Even if you’re not new to the area, Austin is full of hidden gems, and there are always new (and old!) things to be discovered. Where are the best places to grab breakfast tacos? Where are the entrances to the greenbelt? When are the farmer’s markets? Where can I grab a drink without fighting the downtown crowds? And most importantly, I’m going to write features on some of the awesome people that make this zip code so unique (starting, of course, with my friends.)

There’s a bumper sticker out there that reads “78704: We’re All Here Because We’re Not All There”… I guess this series will serve to illuminate who, and where, we are 🙂

Which Austin Neighborhood Do You Live In?

Do you know the official name of the Austin neighborhood that you live in? I didn’t know mine until I made my foray into realty. As an agent I’m required to be up to date on this city I know and love so much. In my eight years of steady residence in South Austin I’ve learned all I need to know of the local parks and indie coffee shops, but official ‘hood names were not something I learned until a few weeks ago.

Here’s the map. What neighborhood do you live in?

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Exciting Life Updates & Mexico Bound

It’s been quite the eventful week for me… A year ago I decided to go for a Texas Real Estate license. After overcoming a few challenges along the way, I’m proud to say I’ve finally earned one! My liberal-arts-educated mind didn’t take so easily to all the rote memorization of legalese required in the Real Estate courses. Write an essay on indigenous ontology? Sure. But memorize laws regarding agency and promulgated contract forms? Please no. But I stuck with it, completed all the classes, took a review course, and finally passed the exam last Wednesday. I got my fingerprints taken, and as soon as my  background check clears I will have an official (yet inactive) Texas Real Estate Salesperson License!

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IMG_20140130_200916The next day my girl Alisia came over to cook me a celebratory dinner… and what she made was too incredible not to blog about. After stuffing chicken breasts with prosciutto (!) and gruyer cheese, she breaded them with crushed up pork rinds and baked them. They were phenomenal; Alisia is the bomb. 🙂

On Sunday I had a nice get-together with some friends for the Super Bowl. We ate some of my guacamole and awesome pig-in-a-blankets that Melissa brought, and watched the Seahawks murder the Broncos (before switching back to the Puppy Bowl, of course!) It was a nice chance to say goodbye to some friends before heading to Mexico. And now I’m busy getting ready for that, and I couldn’t be more excited! On Wednesday I head to Houston to spend a bit of time with my parents before they take me to the airport on Friday, and then off to Merida I go! I can’t wait.

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One thing on my to-do list this week was to find a gift for my host family in Mexico. The school recommends bringing your host family a small present symbolic of where you come from. I wanted to get them something that said “Austin” and not just “Texas”, and something they might actually be able to use. Luckily I found this at a gift shop: an Austin-inspired cutting board, with the “Greetings from Austin” graffiti printed on the underside. Cute, huh?

Well that’s it for now. All I have left to do is pack, and spend some quality time with my boyfriend, dog, and parents before I leave on this adventure!

Roundtop Festival Scrapbook

This post is long overdue, but it’s too good not to share. I went to the Roundtop Antique festival in April with my mom, and we had a blast. What a cool little corner of Texan culture. The merchants and sellers that come from far and wide, the locals happy to be hosting, and all the people that get together to rifle through the junk and the treasures. These are just some of the shots I took that day, but even a million pictures couldn’t capture it all.

Protesting HB2 at the Texas Capitol

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Yesterday I proudly joined the crowd at the State Capitol to protest the bill to restrict access to abortions in Texas. It was amazing to see so many people turn out to stand with the women of Texas and see Wendy Davis speak. (I really hope she runs for governor.) After she spoke, the crowd broke out in cheers and applause and two songs were played. First was “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, which got the whole crowd dancing. Second was “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty, a personal favorite of mine, that took on a whole new meaning for me in this setting.

Even more amazing– though admittedly not as uplifting– was seeing those who turned out in favor of the draconian bill. Unsurprisingly, they seem to completely miss the point of the bill. They hate abortion– and that’s understandable. But this piece of legislation is about more than that. Its about preserving our constitutionally-given rights. Abortion is going to remain legal and available in Texas if the bill should pass. What it does is restrict access and place undue burden on those who try to seek it. The arbitrary regulations imposed by the bill will throw hurdles in the way of clinics and patients alike. If passed, it will shut down all but 5 of over 40 clinics in the state. New time limits, waiting periods, medical and travel costs will also prevent women from getting what the law entitles them to.

I would love to see the abortion rate drop in Texas, and everywhere else in America. But the best way to prevent abortion is to prevent unplanned pregnancies. A well-funded Planned Parenthood, comprehensive sex-positive education in schools, and easy access to contraceptives are the best ways to do that. 

Jewelry is the Icing on the Cake

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Back in February, I went on a frenzied Spring Cleaning/reorganizing of my entire house. I completely overhauled each and every room, nook, and cranny– my kitchen, my clothes, my bathroom, even the tool shed out back. After two weeks, only my jewelry was left looking for a home, and I was exhausted and content to take a break. Previously, I kept all necklaces and bracelets hung on nails in my bathroom. Rings, earrings, and anything else got tangled up in a drawer. I wanted it in my new closet/dressing/makeup room, and to display all of it on the wall. When it comes to me and jewelry, out of sight is definitely out of mind.

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For the necklaces, nails would still do. But I’ve been wanting to make a frame to hang earrings on display as well. I browsed through some frames at Hobby Lobby, but found them both gaudy and too expensive for my purpose. Then, in April, my Mom and I went to the awesome Texas treasure that is The Roundtop Antique Festival (it’s long overdue, but a post about it is coming soon!) There were frames aplenty, and I found this beautifully old, perfect wooden frame. And it was just $2. Add chicken wire and some staples, and you’ve got yourself an awesome jewelry frame. Clever repurposing and DIY are some of my favorite things in life.