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How I Learned to Like Breakfast Tacos at Veracruz All Natural in Austin, TX
Want to know how to start a fight in Austin? Just tell people that you don't like breakfast tacos. Or better yet, tell them that breakfast tacos are inherently a bad idea and see how far that gets you. Here's my problem with breakfast tacos: the well-done scrambled eggs. They seem to be the norm in most of Texas and I simply can't abide by them. Rubbery and sulfurous, they become too dense to absorb any salsa and too dry to add moisture, much needed no matter how great your fresh flour or corn tortilla is.
It's not that I haven't tried to like breakfast tacos. I've been to all the usual suspects—Tacodeli, Juan in a Million, Tamale House, and Torchy's have all come up as places "guaranteed to change my mind." The only one that came close was Torchy's, who got major points for not seriously overcooking their eggs and adding enough juicy, gooey toppings that the overall impression was one of moistness. Still, it wasn't earth-shattering or mind-blowing in the way I expect my first great breakfast taco experience to be.
So when I tweeted about my dislike for them on my way through Austin a couple weeks ago, I knew I was in for an earful.
Only thing not looking forward to in Austin: breakfast tacos. Still haven't had one that didn't make me wish I'd rather have something else.— J. Kenji López-Alt (@TheFoodLab) August 12, 2013
What I didn't expect was for @tacojournalism—the folks who literally wrote the book on breakfast tacos—to tweet back at me, suggesting that I meet them in person the next morning for what promised to be a mind-altering (or at the very least mind-expanding) experience.
Veracruz is one of Austin's many permanent-location food trucks, parked in a small dirt lot on Cesar Chavez in East Austin with a few picnic tables and some umbrellas. They've got the usual array of tacos and quesadillas (including a long-ish vegetarian menu, unusual for Texas), but the star of the show is their migas taco. Made by cooking crunched up tortilla chips on a hot comal, along with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, before pouring on some beaten eggs and folding it all together with cheese and salsa, the mixture gets piled into a fresh, homemade corn tortilla with a slice of avocado.
Tacojournalism.com made a great little video showing exactly how its made:
The result is an admittedly very carb-heavy bomb that just barely holds together, the gooey cheese and avocado providing plenty of creamy richness—enough to allay my aversion to the dreaded overcooked eggs, even!
The best part of the meal might have been the three different salsas, each hot and punchy in their own way.
So has Veracruz made a breakfast taco believer out of me? Sort of. I will admit that the very best breakfast tacos have earned my faith. They may be few and far between, but now I know that they may also be well worth the effort.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.