Right now, I'm supposed to be packing and cleaning and doing whatever the final quazillion things are that need to be done before we leave town tomorrow.
Yes, tomorrow morning we're picking up a rental car, shoehorning ourselves, our cats, and most of a Thanksgiving meal for 12 into it, and driving to Lake Pontchartrain's North Shore. But that's AT LEAST twelve hours from now, and I really wanted to tell you guys about this amazing Jalisco-style Mexican restaurant we found, so screw it.
Taqueria Chapala is on east Cesar Chavez, in a part of town fairly bursting with Mexican food. We found it during the East Austin Studio Tour last weekend.
I thought I knew Mexican food, but apparently I know squat about food from Jalisco.
Husbear ordered one of the specialties on their brightly-colored menu - the tacos de carne adobada, or stewed chile-marinated pork.
They come three to an order. A healthy (in size, not in lack of grease) portion of tender shredded braised pork comes wrapped in two tortillas. It seems that the tacos are thrown on the griddle for a second after being prepared, since the outside tortilla is nice and crispy while the inside one stays soft. I think this is the effect Taco Bell is miserably failing to achieve with their Cheesy GorditaBean Fatass Cruncharita.
And they're served just how Husbear likes them - with a large array of condiments. Two kinds of onions, grilled and raw, a fried jalapeno, cilantro, and lime. The pork is stewed with sweet spices like clove and cinnamon, which go oh so well with the bite of the raw onion and the punch of tart lime.
For $5.75, this is a seriously hearty and delicious meal.
I went with one of the weekend-only specials, posole. You know, I don't think I've had posole before? It's a fairly simple meal in a bowl.
The broth is sweet-hot, with similar spicing as the pork in the tacos, though less aggressive. Nice kernels of hominy and pieces of braised pork give it some texture.
Apparently, it's supposed to come with some shredded cabbage and lime wedges, which our apologetic waitress deposited on our table after several minutes. Sure! I dumped the cabbage in the bowl and squeezed in some lime, which is probably exactly what you're not supposed to do.
Not only did our lunch come with the ubiquitous chips and salsa, we also got another basket of starch when our order was delivered. The tortillas were soft and had great corn flavor, and I actually preferred the giant chips to the smaller ones that came with the salsa.
This was a seriously good lunch, but they are open for dinner, too. I'll definitely be back - they have lengua on the menu, which I haven't had since Italy!
Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you'll be celebrating.
Taqueria Chapala, 2101 E. Cesar Chavez, 512.320.0308