Quest for the Best

When presented with that oft popular 'last meal' question I have come to a realization that anything on tortillas with salsa and fresh lime would have to fill that role. In fact, if I had to choose one thing to eat every day until that fateful end, tacos would certainly be my choice. There's just something so soul-satisfyingly perfect about the utter simplicity and deliciousness of a few ingredients happily married in a hand-held delivery device.

In that never-ending quest to find the 'Best' I took a Labor Day journey to the east side, and what I found was pure heaven. Las Cazuelas.

What this East Austin eatery might lack in the 'fanciness factor,' it makes up for in ambiance, authenticity and an amazing array of menu items. While they do offer a good deal of Tex-Mex, the real gems as Las Cazuelas are the more traditional Mexican fare. Wonderful things like Menudo, liver and onions, a tripe plate, even braised goat. As a chef (and eating with other chefs) it's things like these that make your eyes light up and your stomach grow exponentially.

Back to the tacos. Las Cazuelas has a pretty straightforward offering when it comes to tacos, anything from plain potato or nopales to more interesting choices like lengua or chicharron. After perusing my options, I opted for one chicharron and one tripe taco. My compatriot had two of the lengua tacos. The chicharron taco came with a simple dressing of onions and cilantro, and delivered in crispy unctuous fried-pork goodness. The tripe taco was simply the braised tripe served with some of it's braising companions, tomato and chile. Both were served on homemade tortillas and accompanied by lime. (I didn't get to try the lengua tacos but judging by the cleaned plate and the satisfied expression on my friend's face, I'd say they delivered as well.) One bite from each and I knew I'd be coming back to Las Cazuelas many more times to partake. The ridiculously huge Micheladas and the Tejano-filled jukebox didn't hurt. All in all a great meal with good drinks in a wonderful atmosphere. Best Tacos Ever.


ccwilson said...

You might be thinking - Tripe and Chicharron? What about your rants and raves about Vegetarianism? Well, I have developed, throughout the summer, a 'selective vegetarian' mentality. I have greatly reduced the amount of animal protein I consume, and I do my best only to eat meat sourced from sustainable farms, etc. I do, however, make certain allowances, and treats like chicharron and tripe I can't pass by.

PassivePastry said...

I am relieved that they are indeed open.
A group of friends and I went in search of good food Sunday morning.... to Juan in a Million (line too long), Joe's Bakery and Mexican food (again...too long), and Las Cazuelas (closed)....before settling on Mr. Natural, which turned out to be delicious. But I still long to try Las Cazuelas and Joes.

TexasDeb said...

Interesting point about the selective vegetarianism. People are often saying they would make different choices "in a perfect world", by which they mean "a world where animals are not killed for food"....

I can't endorse that extreme, no animals killed for food ever, as "perfect", although I definitely abhor CFA operations and the cruelty that seems an inevitable byproduct of mass production.

Bottom line I believe we are all responsible for our individual choices in whatever our circumstances are, and I appreciate you being frank about yours.