Food & Drink

Everywhere in the ATX to celebrate not-Mexican independence

Published On 04/28/2013 Published On 04/28/2013
Where to Cinco in Austin

Because you want to celebrate the hell out of that time a well-armed, 8000-strong French fleet stormed Veracruz, drove President Juárez and his government into retreat, but ultimately was defeated by a much smaller and more poorly equipped Mexican army of 4500, do it with this, the definitive guide to Cinco-ing your Mayo properly. Best Margaritas Curra's 614 E Oltorf St; South Austin; 512.444.0012 The Ariel in Austin's sea full of salt-rimmed, tequila-spiked crustaceans, Curra's frozen avocado-and-cilantro margarita is perhaps the city's most notable drink aside from Mexican Martinis and Lone Star. Read about their famous tamales in the full story Craziest Filling La Fruta Feliz 3124 Manor Rd; Central East; 512.473.0037 Tucked away off Manor Rd, La Fruta Feliz doubles as both an oasis of fresh fruit licuados (smoothies) and a top-notch taqueria boasting a slew of authentic, kinda-weird Mexican taco fillings like tripa (stomach) and lingua (tongue) -- but the kicker is the seldom-seen barbacoa de cabra, a so-savory-it's-sweet chunk of stewed goat head topped with onion and cilantro. Find out just how authentic this place is in the full story Best Hot Sauce TacoDeli 1500 Spyglass Dr; South Austin; 512.732.0303 Tales of TacoDeli's salsa supremacy have spread to every corner of the land -- from the sacred grounds of the yearly hot sauce festival to the coffee shop counters offering a stock of piping-hot breakfast tacos. Thankfully, you can get their pretty-damn-spicy green La Dona everywhere from Caffe Medici to Thunderbird, but you've gotta hit up their physical location for the real heat: a watery orange habanero, whose flavors will linger with you until you get home, whether or not you bought a jar. Get saucy at TacoDeli.com Best Guacamole La Condesa 400 W 2nd St; 2nd St District; 512.499.0300 The venerable bastion of hip, downtown interior Mexican took second place for hottest waitresses (they're, ugh, fully clothed) and was a serious contender for both nachos and margs, but they shine brightest with their avocado-based deliciousness, available in traditional, chipotle puree with toasted almond, pomegranate, and jumbo lump crab. Drool over a vid featuring that guac in the full story Best Outdoor Space Takoba 1411 E 7th St; Central East; 512.628.4466 Known as the go-to spot for soccer hooligans, mezcal fanatics, and lovers of Latin DJs (¡Caramba!), Takoba's patio is split between a bustling, date-friendly seating area nestled up against 7th St and an adult sandbox decked out with pails, shovels, plastic army men beach chairs, and a projection screen for showing the games. $15 beer buckets, right here in the full story Best Nachos Trudy's 409 W 30th St; UT/West Campus; 512.477.2935 Although there'll be enough bros to start a new fraternity (Alpha Sigma Salsa!) and bartenders who aren't old enough to sip their own drinks, campus-area mainstay Trudy's boasts some serious 'chos in the form of the Zingo -- whole spicy black beans, Jack and Cotija, mango pico, and garlic marinated shrimp. Pro tip: smother the whole thing in queso and wash it down with a Mexican Martini. Read up on their weekly specials at Trudys.com Hottest Waitresses Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill 214 E 6th St; Dirty 6th; 512.469.0001 For the most caliente wait staff in the ATX, look no further than Bikini's Bar and Grill: the “sports bar with a view” is staffed with a cast of well-endowed, swimsuit-clad women who're probably ordered by management to not get upset when you stare at them. Whereas it's no surprise the ladies are smoking, they've actually got a legit kitchen dishing out fire-roasted salsa, gooey queso, sizzling beef or chicken fajitas, blackened fish, and juicy pulled pork carnitas doused in homemade pico. Check out the "menus" on their site here (there are bikinis... LOTS of bikinis) Best Tequila Selection Vivo 2015 Manor Rd; Central East; 512.482.0300 Manor Rd's "better-than-sex" Tex-Mexers boast a hip, low-lit vibe and the best tequila selection in town laid out in an easy-to-swallow shot menu organized into age categories like the younger Blanco (Baluarte, Chinaco), up to 1yr-old Resposdo (Casa Noble, Gran Centenario Rosangel), older Anejo (Tequila Ocho, Dulce Vida), and an Ultra Premium column with everything from Herradura Seleccion Suprema to the top-of-the-line 1800 Coleccion, which is aged for several years in new French oak casks. Find out what's in "Emma's Choice" in the full story

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1. Curra's Grill 614 E Oltorf St, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

Curra's Grill slings Mexican fare like burritos and ceviche across Travis Heights alonside the most sought-after tamales around. Avocado lovers can put down the tortilla chips shoveled into their guac and shift their attention to the mother of all margs, the avocado margarita, the art of which this place not only created, but perfected, as well. Although they take the cake as the most popular menu item, the impressive offering of specialty margs leave no tequila or mezcal to be desired.

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2. La Fruta Feliz 3124 Manor Road, Austin, TX 78723 (Central East)

Epitomizing a hole-in-a-wall, LFF is a well-hidden, little-known Mexican spot tucked away on Manor Road. This top-notch taqueria boasts some of the most authentic, and potentially surprising, taco fillings, from tongue and stomach, to the must-try barbaco de cabra (goat head meat). If you want to do Mexican right, this is the only place worth going to.

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3. Tacodeli 1500B Spyglass Dr, Austin, TX 78746 (West Austin)

Many Mexican joints have tackled the breakfast burrito, but few have committed themselves wholeheartedly to the endeavor, so much so that they close at 3p. Tacodeli makes that commitment. And the results are glorious.

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4. La Condesa 400 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701 (2nd St District)

La Condesa is the place to go if you're looking for traditional Mexican flavor with modern Austin flair. The menu, offering up handfuls of tortas, taquitos, combos, and a few other staples, is shorter than most, but there's an obvious preference for quality over quantity at this Downtown restaurant. Tacos strewn with red pickled onion, cilantro, and guacamole make the ideal warm-up round before hitting the bar, where tequila and mezcal reign supreme in customizable flights.

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5. Takoba 1411 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702 (Central East)

The owners of Takoba know what they're doing with Mexican food -- they grew up in a rural area in central Mexico before relocating to Austin. They're dedicated to fresh, local ingredients and the menu reflects this philosophy, offering a great selection of standard favorites like quesadillas and more authentic, lesser-known dishes like a traditional Mexican pork stew. Best of all may be the outdoor patio-cum-sandbox that's filled with multicolored lounge chairs.

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6. Trudy's 409 W 30th St, Austin, TX 78705 (Utwest Campus)

There are five Trudy's locations throughout Austin, but this one in the Central part of town is the proud original. Opened in 1977, Trudy's has gone on to become an Austin tradition and with its practically-on-campus location, this spot is sure to be lively as you wolf down one of their signature burritos. We recommend the Ciro's Special Burrito, which is stuffed with chicken fajitas, mushrooms, cilantro, onions, spinach, tomatoes, and peppers and then topped with chile con queso and avocado. We'll give you a minute to stop your mouth watering.

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7. Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill 214 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

Go ahead, pretend you're there for the chicken fajita tacos, pulled pork sandwich, or the super-hot thermonuclear wings all you want, but we're on to you. And there's no shame in enjoying the, er, sights at Bikinis. Come for the view, and stay for more of the view while you chow down on some pretty great burgers and watch sports.This is what America is all about -- it's in the Constitution (don't bother looking this up).

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8. Vivo 2015 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722

With seemingly every other restaurant offering its own take on the cuisine, being the best Tex-Mex spot around is no easy task, and is even harder in the capital of the Lone Star State. Despite the pressure, Vivo is definitely in contention for the prize with its hip atmosphere, a sprawling Tequila section of the menu (including a top-of-the-line 1800 Colección for a cool $165), and fried corn tortilla tacos. Because everything is bigger -- and fried - in Texas.

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