Keeping Austin weird with tacos.
Although I've reviewed two chains so far1, as a rule I avoid eating at chains when I can. When it comes to eating out, I prefer authenticity and adventure. I don't mind the risk of a bad experience as much as the risk of no experience beyond the mundane and predictable.
So of course when I read John Kelso's piece on Friday Aug 11 about the Taco XPress Demolition Party, I knew where we would have lunch that day. I dragged The Woman out there in 99F weather for the experience. Due to a communication breakdown, we ended up with pollo guisado and cheese enchiladas. They were great. The inside was packed so we went outside and ate on the dirt patio on rough wooden tables under the blast of an industrial-strength fan. I looked at the stage and thought, "Next time we do tacos and live music."
On Sunday, Aug 13, they had the demolition party. [Check out the News 8 story/video and this photo gallery of the event.] Taco Xpress started in a trailer in 1997 and has become a South Austin icon. The links tell the history better, so I'll leave that to them.
On Friday, Sep 1 we went back. The new place is about 4 times bigger than the old one and tons more parking. Still, it was hard to find a parking spot. The artifacts have been transferred and I assume more have been added. It's tough to maintain a true funky-old-joint vibe in a new building, but they've done a good job of it.
We got the tacos this time. I got the spicy chicken; The Woman got the regular chicken. I recommend you stick with the spicy. The regular don't cut it. It was the first weekend with live music in the new place. Outside Leanne Atherton was dishing out a decent version of Me and Bobby McGee, but we had an entourage of munchkins, so SpyMan and I just hung on the fringes of the outdoor area, full of picnic tables on gravel. It was obvious that Taco Xpress has many devoted regulars. Looked like a good place to sample a few brews and soak up the down-home tunes. But you'll have to get there early if you want to sit down.