Yellow is the new awesome.
In the continuing theme of taco-truck-obsession I have recently discovered yet another little enclave of Mexican yumminess.
I actually pass this truck all the time on my way to work. I haven’t eaten there though since powerful forces hate me and don’t want me to be happy. Recently (and lucky for me), its siren song of bright color and bubbly hand painted menu items proved too much and I found myself timidly sidestepping up to the little window to see what might be delicious.
The menu offered no real surprises. It was a basic blend of tacos, tostadas, soups and gorditas with a few specials that are mainly to be found on the weekends. I figured I needed to make up for lost time so I decided to order some of everything. (Rachel was inside a nearby gas station buying drinks so her powers of logic and moderation held no sway.)
The two nice ladies inside the box were from Veracruz and Guerrero and spoke zero English. Not a problem. I just do what I always do in situations like this. I open my mouth to confidently order away in my best restaurant Mexican and inevitably end up spouting poor Italian and garbled pidgin. I have a keenly honed talent for making an ass out of myself.
Taking pity on me, the ladies dished up some of the finest street food that I’ve had in this town for a while.
We started with an adorable tostada filled with al pastor. The generous chunks of fresh avocado and fine smear of beans were a great texture contrast to the crispy corn disks. (I loved how the tostada wore an extra one on top like a tiny hat.) The al pastor was a bit chewy but I was pleasantly surprised by the deep savoriness.
Bistec and barbacoa were our taco choices and both were quite nice. The bistec was fairly run of the mill, but the finely shredded, gelatinously unctuous barbacoa really stood out. It may have erred on the greasy side, but that was its only shortcoming as far as I’m concerned.
The gorditas took a few minutes longer because our cooks had to hand make little masa rounds and then griddle them to order. When they were finally ready, the drool-worthy smell of the freshly toasted sweet corn dough announced their arrival.
The pockets were stuffed with the same accouterments as the tostada in addition to chicharrones for me and carne guisada de puerco for the lady. These are serious foodstuffs. The heft of each promised a filling conclusion to our encounter.
While I liked the flavor of the pork skin in mine, I find that La Canaria’s chewy, uncrisped version isn’t my favorite. The guisada was moist and tender, but to be honest I just kept picking away at the delightfully fresh corn wrapper.
With all of our dishes we got little tubs of red and green salsas. The red was mild with the light bitterness of dried chiles and just a hint of sweetness. The chunkier green was my favorite, offering a bit more heat, a nice vegetabliness and good vinegar tang.
Since our visit I’ve discovered that La Canaria is really known for its soups like sope de bistec and menudo. Having almost zero experience with Mexican street soup, I feel a little schooling may be in order soon.
810 E 51st St at Airport Blvd (right next to Casey's Snowballs)
Austin, TX 78751
Ahem. We returned a few weeks later and discovered the difference a vowel can make. If you'd like to see what SOPES are, vs. SOPAS, check our updated post here!