Mi Ranchito II Never Fails to Satisfy

Guacamole, Mexican burgers, or huge bowls of caldo, it's all good here

After a recent book meeting, Art Meyer and I decided to hit up Mi Ranchito II, at the end of Manchaca Road, where it runs into FM 1626; he had a hankering for a good bowl of soup and I was hungry for a burger. Disparate demands, for sure, but perfectly met by Ranchito Dos.

This place has a fantastic salsa bar, and the array pictured here is, as labeled at the bar, from L to R: "Hot Tomatillo", "Hot Green" (emulsified with avocado, with serrano and poblano), number three top is "Medium Red", and bottom is "Hot Red" (which has an exuberant zippiness but an even better smoky quality), and of course, a chile-laden pico de gallo. Not show is "Mild Green" which is an avocado-emulsified poblano sauce, and Mild Red, which is a fresh casera style. All of the salsas are excellent.

Salsas at Mi Ranchito II (Photo by Mick Vann)

Art opted for an order of their guacamole, which we had never tried before. It comes out in a big cup, loaded with chunks of fresh avocado, diced green chiles, onion, a little tomato, and lime juice, topped with some shredded cheese. The unit in the middle sits on a huge platter, surrounded with thin, crispy totopos. We will definitely order this again.

Guacamole (Photo by Mick Vann)

I started with one of their tamales, this one stuffed with Mexican white cheese and jalapeño chiles. The masa in their tamales is light-as-air, but rich in flavor, an indication of succulent lard that has been whipped into the masa dough prior to slathering onto the corn husks. I love the tamales here, and if you ever need a fix for the holidays and are too lazy to host your own tamalada, or don't have a secret source, this is the place to go. Flavors include: pork, beef, chicken, cheese and jalapeño, bean and cheese, pineapple, and one other fruit version whose species eludes me at the moment.

Art went for their boat-sized bowl of caldo de res, beef soup with onions, garlic, carrot, squash, green beans, cabbage, and potato, all in a very rich beef broth with meltingly tender meat. It comes with a stack of hot tortillas (not house-made, but very high quality) and a cup of their excellent rice. He went for a side taco of carnitas, rich shredded pork cooked in pork fat; top notch here at Ranchito Dos.

I swooned when my Mexican Burger arrived, a nice hefty patty smoky from the grill, topped with Mexican white cheese, griddled and browned chorizo, and a griddled slice of ham. They lay on the normal fixings, but I opted for a schmear of refried beans on the bottom bun; I had to explain what a "schmear" was to the fellow working the counter. The burger comes with a big side of crispy fries (probably frozen, but high quality and done well), perfect when dipped into a mixture of the smoky hot salsa blended with a little ketchup. I had a little bun breakage to deal with, but it had a lot to contain. The burgers here are first-rate.

Mexican burger (Photo by Mick Vann)

This meal reminded me why I've described this place as a go-to restaurant. Once again, Mi Ranchito II was presented with a difficult task: satisfy the demand for a great bowl of soup and a high class burger, both at reasonable prices. And once again, they came through like the champions they are.

Mi Ranchito II

1105 FM 1626, Manchaca, 512/292-8107

Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

If you want to submit a recipe, send it to food@austinchronicle.com

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Restaurant review
Mick Makes a Return Trip to Costa del Sol
Mick Makes a Return Trip to Costa del Sol
Authentic Central American food crawl in a small strip center

Mick Vann, June 10, 2014

Sunflower: Not Sunny Anymore
Sunflower: Not Sunny Anymore
Food and service wilt in the light of day

Mick Vann, Oct. 21, 2013

More by Mick Vann
Guantanamera Cuban Cuisine
Guantanamera Cuban Cuisine
Good things come in small packages

May 8, 2015

On the Cheap: Taquito Aviles
Taquito Aviles
Getting our goat on Braker

Feb. 20, 2015


Restaurant review, Mi Ranchito II, Art Meyer, guacamole, totopos, caldo de res, Mexican burger, tamales

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle