the spot: Cuantos Tacos 2967 Manor Road Austin TX 78722
the eats: Lengua, Buche, Cachete, Suadero, Carnitas, Longaniza, Champioñes – basically all the tacos but in that order
the bucks: $2 a taco – 4 will do you right so plan on $8 a person
the full nelson: the best “street tacos” in Austin TX
Tacos in Austin are different.
When I moved to Austin in the summer of 2015 from LA, my first late night tipsy thought was “where the cheap street tacos at?” Sure you have spots like Las Trancas and if you start looking up north or down south, you start to find the spots where “La Gente” be at. You know, where everyone orders in Spanish. But street tacos are not what Austin is known for, especially for those who dwell outside of Austin’s city limits. For better and for worse, it’s the breakfast tacos of Torchy’s and Taco Deli, the diner style Tex Mex barbacoa at Mi Madres and the loose interpretations of tacos you find at Tyson’s Tacos, like the Pork Belly with Mandarin orange, that define Austin’s taco scene. And as for the oh so celebrated taco truck turned brick and mortar, Veracruz All Natural? While they hit the right notes of an Abuela making tacos for you when come you home after school, they most certainly miss the mark when it comes to getting late night street tacos on the cheap.
Then I discovered Cuantos Tacos and the Austin taco scene changed.
And it was on accident.
the spot: La Casa del Playa Tikinxic South End Bahia, Isla Mujeres Quintana Roo Mexico
the eats: enormous plates of shrimp ceviche, Pescado Veracruzano, Pescado Tikinxic, even my kids pasta was off the chain!
the bucks: $10 a head, the Tikinxic is $15 a plate, that’s also a kilo of fish
the full nelson: this is the kind of place that makes me want to move to Mexico
Maybe it’s the almost two thousand miles that separates me from Cancún, but looking at these mouth watering pics from my meal at La Casa del Playa Tikinxic, well, it makes my mouth water. And probably yours too, if you possess even the slightest appetite for fresh seafood.
the spot: El Norteño Pollos Asados 4925 Craigwood Drive Austin TX 78725
the eats: tacos, carnitas by the pound, chicken and ribs grilled over hardwood charcoal
the bucks: $2 a taco, carnitas $10/lb, whole chicken $17, ribs $18 a rack
the full nelson: a real deal cheap taco truck that smokes up chicken and ribs + carnitas by the pound
El Norteño Pollos Asados is the kind of Cheap Eats find you want to keep to yourself but you just can’t because good food always tastes better when you brag about it. At $2 a taco, you have a legit Cheap Eats find in Austin where far too many tacos are nestling around the $3-$4 mark. Though sized like street tacos, you will find 4 tacos will cover your craving. My instincts told me to graze away at a few of the meaty offerings but one taco stood out by a mile . . .
the spot: Tacos El Gordo 3049 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
the eats: Cabeza, Al Pastor, Buche, Suadero
the bucks: $2.40 – $2.60 per taco
the full nelson: celebrated San Diego taco joint serving up Baja California/Tijuana style street tacos in Las Vegas
Vegas baby, Vegas.
One expects to come to Las Vegas and drop some coin. The usual M.O. for Sin City taking your money is of course, gambling, though strip clubs and steakhouses seem to fit well with playing $500 hands of Texas Hold ‘Em. In the last 20 years Las Vegas has become a foodie destination with world class chefs and their Michelin stars dotting the strip. Hell, I went to a Starbucks and dropped $17 on a coffee, a yogurt, a banana and a bottle of water. But just off the strip is a well celebrated taqueria that is slinging some Bang for your Taco Buck . . .