Maybe Austin is the true home of the breakfast taco and maybe we’re not, but we do know one thing for sure: here in Austin, we’re literally obsessed with tacos and would probably unashamedly devour tacos for every single meal if that was responsible.
We all love tacos, to be sure, but there are a shining few among us who have taken that love beyond pure nommage. They’ve harnessed their resources and honed their tastebuds and pallets to become true taco scholars and teachers — taco experts, if you will.
And so, on this Taco Tuesday, we have compiled a list of these heroic taco greats to guide you in exploring and celebrating the praiseworthy Austin taco. Behold:
1.) Mando Rayo & Jarod Neece
Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece have combined their taco expert superpowers and allocated them toward a number of super helpful taco-related resources. First, they maintain a popular food blog called Taco Journalism, where they provide reviews of taco trucks and taquerias throughout Austin and links to relevant food news. Rayo and Neece have also published a book called Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day, which Eater Austin has called “the Tex Mex bible” and recently opened pre-orders for a brand new “guidebook, cookbook, and testimonio” called The Tacos of Texas — which has everyone salivating.
2.) Eater Austin
Besides being Austin’s key food and dining publication, Eater Austin has published no less than 1,682 online articles about tacos as of September 27, 2016. That’s a lot of love right there. Additionally, one of their writers was responsible for starting the Great and Terrible Taco War between Austin and San Antonio through his controversial story, “How Austin Became the Home of the Crucial Breakfast Taco,” so we figure that also counts for something!
3.) José R. Ralat
José R. Ralat plugs himself as a “taco writer,” though some have gone so far as to describe him as downright sagely in all of his taco wisdom. Ralat contributes articles — usually focused on tacos and taco-related topics — to Munchies (VICE‘s food publication), Texas Monthly, and Cowboys and Indians, and he runs his own food blog: The Taco Trail. Now, it’s true that Ralat did recently write that ATX’s tacos overrated and we’re more than a little sore about that, but there’s no denying that this dude knows a ton about tacos.
4.) Mayor Steve Adler
Mayor Steve Adler may not technically be a taco expert, but at the very least, he has proven himself to be a stalwart defender of Austin taco honor and for that we honor him with placement among these taco greats. Throughout his mayoral term, he declared a taco war on San Antonio and then successfully negotiated a taco summit that resulted in relative peace between our two cities. He also declared March 10, 2016 to be “Breakfast Taco Day” and delivered a rousing (and hilarious) speech praising Austin taco trucks at the 2016 Texas State Democratic Johnson Jordan Dinner. Keep at it, Steve!
5.) Roberto Espinosa & Eric Wilkerson
As far as authentic tacos go, Tacodeli is definitely among Austinites’ all-time favorite taco shops, thanks to the taco expertise of co-owners Roberto Espinosa and Eric Wilkerson. According to the Statesman, a study recently conducted by Foursquare determined (much to San Antonio’s dismay) that three of our local taquerias are among the 50 top taco joints in the U.S. — Tacodeli, Veracruz All Natural, and Torchy’s Tacos. In case you’re wondering, Foursquare users have ranked Tacodeli with a 9.5 out of 10 in their reviews and we totally agree!
6.) Reyna and Maritza Vazquez
No taco list is complete without a mention of Veracruz All Natural and we’re psyched that those aforementioned Foursquare findings back us up on that. As possibly Austin’s favorite taco truck, Reyna and Maritza Vazquez’s offerings at Veracruz are not only insanely delicious but also refreshingly authentic. Plus, folks on Foursquare rate Veracruz with 9.4 out of 10 stars, so that definitely adds credibility to the Vazquez sisters’ “taco expert” classification!
7.) Chappy & Cabeza de Taco
These two brothers, Chappy and Cabeza de Taco, maintain a taco-focused food blog called TacoTown. The photo-heavy blog provides minimalist reviews of local taco shops’ fare and brief comments pertaining to the ins and outs of Austin’s taco scene as Chappy and Cabeza de Taco “keep [their] ear[s] to the street and [their] tastebuds to the sky.” Seriously, check this out — you’ll love it!
8.) Henry Winslow
That Taco Life is a food blog — wait, scratch that… That Taco Life writer Henry Winslow insists that his project is not a food blog, but rather a quest “to seek out and uncover the ‘best’ or ‘most authentic’ tacos in Austin, Texas,” which every taco lover knows is basically a search for the very meaning of life. Only a highly qualified taco expert would describe the art of stuffing one’s face with tacos with such poignancy and elegance.
9.) The Taco Cleanse scientists
You’ve heard of juice cleanses and other types of detox dieting challenges, but we’re willing to bet that unless you’re as obsessed with tacos as us, you’ve never realized that several Austin taco scientists have developed a legitimate Taco Cleanse. And they wrote a book about it. Seriously, this is actually a thing. Check it out, for your tastebuds’ sake.
10.) Texas Monthly
The staff at Texas Monthly make it their business to stay updated on anything and everything worth knowing about in Texas, and since they’re headquartered in Austin, it follows that they know a ton about the ATX food scene — especially our most holy dish: the taco. In the past, TM has covered pretty much every taco-related topic imaginable, from the Austin vs. San Antonio Taco War to Texas crimes involving tacos. They seem to love stirring up drama by running annual “best taco” contests (we won this year’s poll… ahem) and their “Best Tacos: Austin” and “120 Tacos You Must Eat Before You Die” guides are particularly mouthwatering.
Learn what you can from the sagely wisdom of all of these Austin taco experts, young padawan learner. May the taco be with you.
Featured photo: Flickr user Krista, CC licensed