Slideshow: SE Staff Picks: What's Your Favorite Taco Filling?

Breakfast tacos
Breakfast tacos
I don't have a singular favorite taco, but I do have a favorite taco category: BREAKFAST. Tacos stuffed with combinations of scrambled eggs, chorizo, cheese, tomato, onion, potato, bacon, beans, and more. Uuunnngngnnngngggmmmmm [the sound of a satisfied drool-turned-mm]. The thing is, I rarely eat breakfast, and I rarely eat tacos, yet I can't resist the combination. And even rarer than me eating breakfast or tacos is eating...a breakfast taco. Sadly, I've only eaten them them during my 24-hour food hunt in Austin last fall. If I lived in Austin I'm sure I'd be eating them every week. (At home in New York City, I'm all about beef tongue/lengua tacos. If I see tongue as a choice, I always get it; if it's not a choice, I'd rather not eat a taco.) —Robyn Lee

My good friend, food writer Robb Walsh, introduced me to Laredo Taqueria, his favorite breakfast taco place in Houston. As soon as I walked in, I understood why. A woman at the front of the buffet line was making fresh flour tortillas that would serve as the foundation to what turned out to be my favorite breakfast tacos ever. When your breakfast starts with warm, flaky tortillas this good, the fillings become almost an afterthought. (That may be the first time I've called crispy meat bits an afterthought.) Fatty, spicy chorizo and potato, pork, barbacoa—each was as good as the last. —Ed Levine

Breakfast tacos from Juan in a Million in Austin. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Lamb Head
Lamb Head
It's hard to pick my favorite taco ever, because there are just so many styles. I'd probably pick the incredible tacos de lengua from Rosticeria Cancun in East Boston's Maverick square, but I recently found out they stopped serving'em. Not to pat my own back, but it's tough to beat homemade carnitas when they're perfectly crisp and juicy, particularly when they're tucked into homemade tortillas.

If I had to pick one from a restaurant, it'd probably be the excellent lamb head tacos at Aqui es Texcoco in Chula Vista, CA, just north of the Tijuana border. They come with lamb broth, fresh yellow corn tortillas, salsa, onions, and cilantro. The meat is crazy juicy and tender, and you don't really care that you're basically eating them in a parking lot. —J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Fish Tacos
Fish Tacos
When I moved east from SoCal and mentioned "fish tacos," people usually responded with a baffled, grossed-out-looking face. "Fish...in a tortilla?" They were probably picturing Gorton's frozen fish sticks wrapped in a storebought tortilla, which is not accurate. I grew up eating grilled or battered and fried fish (a fresh white fish like mahi mahi or tilapia) topped with cabbage shreds, and fresh pico de gallo on the double layer of still-steamy corn tortillas. Sometimes it also gets a dollop of guacamole or the sour-cream-based dressing made with chipotle, lime, and cilantro. The best ones I've had were in Baja California, Mexico, but there are plenty of tasty ones all over San Diego and Orange County. —Erin Zimmer

I love any kind of fish tacos, more specifically the combo of fish and pickled items and crunchy taco shells. Most memorable are the escabeche tacos from Lani Kai, a Hawaiian-inspired restaurant in Manhattan. They're filled with red snapper, cabbage salad and sweet and sour pineapple salsa, served in wonton taco shells. They have all the elements of a good bar snack: filling and flavorful but not too heavy. It doesn't hurt that they go perfectly with Lani Kai's amazing cocktails. —Leandra Palermo

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Carnitas
Carnitas
Growing up, ground beef in a hard corn shell was the pinnacle of taco-dom—that is until I had a little south-of-the-border encounter with a warm, soft corn tortilla filled with almost shredded chunks of pork marked by a burnt-ends style of crispness to the tips. Carnitas are a brilliant Mexican marriage of American pulled pork and pork confit in that, when made well (read: braised in vat of lard), they are fall apart tender with carmelized and crispy bits. Porky, rich, tender, and crisp, they make for the finest taco filling around. —Meredith Smith

Get the recipe. [Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Fried Avocado
Fried Avocado
My trip to Austin was filled with incredible tacos—can I just declare that whole three-day span "my favorite taco"?—but the one that really stuck in my mind was the fried avocado taco from Izzoz Tacos. Fried avocado was still something of a novelty to me, but now, I love it, when there's a thin crisp shell around avocado chunks that are already buttery-ripe, but get even softer and creamier when fried. Here, they're hugged by a pliant flour tortilla along with fresh, peppery arugula, chopped tomatoes, and cotija cheese. —Carey Jones

[Photograph: Carey Jones]

Barbacoa
Barbacoa
It's not the best taco ever, but for a regular fix, I go with the barbacoa from Tacos Morelos in the East Village. Moist and flavorful and cheap. —Maggie Hoffman

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]