500 Tacos: Tacodeli | Rosedale

 
 
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
 
Tacodeli | Rosedale
4200 N. Lamar Blvd. (map), 512-419-1900, www.tacodeli.com
Hours: Breakfast 7-11am and lunch 11am-3pm Mon-Fri; 8am-3pm Sat-Sun with breakfast all day and lunch starting at 11am
 
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 07.03.15
 
The beauty and the beast of Tacodeli is this: On weekdays, you can only order breakfast until 11, and you can’t order lunch until 11. A dilemma for the all-day taco aficionado. The trick is to get there at 10:30, get migas and pass 30 minutes watching people over a cup of very good Tacodeli Blend from Texas Coffee Traders. When 11 comes, it’s refueling time, and on Friday, that means ceviche’s on special. I’m covering all five Ausin Tacodelis in this series, but with Uchiko just a few doors down, the Tacodeli on North Lamar might have the toughest job on ceviche Friday.
 
Taco A: Akaushi picadillo
$4 is a lot to pay for an underprovisioned ground beef taco. But this well-sourced beef from the Texas ranch HeartBrand brings a dense balance of rich fat and firm lean meat, seasoned like a reduced beef stew. The dress is simple — just cilantro and onions — but it lets the beef do its work. Is it worth $4? If it came on a handmade tortilla with good shredded cheese, maybe, but that’s one of those ongoing sourcing debates I can’t solve with one taco.  ($3.95, plus 15 cents for double corn)
 
 
Taco A: Ceviche Yucatan
The last thing I taste in this lime-cured chop of mahi is fish. Maybe that’s a good thing, because tacos usually aren’t the place to find clean ocean flavors. No, what I taste here first is lime juice, then crisp peppers and sweet corn, then cool tomato and creamy guacamole. Then the fish, which comes across firm and clean even when it’s shredded in threads just shy of tuna salad. ($3.95, plus 15 cents for double corn; available Fri-Sat)
 
 Migas for breakfast: Breakfast People love to fuss over migas from Veracruz All-Natural. But it’s not a fair fight, really, because that one has avocado and handmade corn tortillas. The Jess Special is the closest Tacodeli comes, with thin avocado slices over scrambled eggs, pico, jack cheese and tortilla chips. On a waxy flour tortilla, it’s a pale comparison and notably less packed than its Veracruz competitor, which costs only 15 cents more. ($2.85)
 
 
 The Blue Plate: Order any two tacos, and Tacodeli will add decent Mexican rice and whipped black beans for $1.75. The lettuce and tomato garnish is a bonus when the plate includes an Akaushi picadillo taco, which needs a little red in its life.
 Horchata: Who wouldn’t want something that tastes like the milk at the bottom of your Cinnamon Toast Crunch? ($2.50)
 Tortillas: Even doubled up for an extra 15 cents, the commercial corn tortillas are barely up to the job, tearing and shredding at the slightest hint of steam, lime, tomato or any of the other hazards a taco might encounter. The bland storebought flour? It’s a carrying case at best.
 Salsa: Of Tacodeli’s four salsas, the mild, garlicky Roja is best suited for migas and picadillo alike. Leave the ceviche alone, Salsa Boy.
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The 500 Tacos Project
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
 
More Tacodeli in this series
► Spyglass  ► Westlake
 Rosedale