Dear Glutton: Best Breakfast Tacos

Starting you on your long journey of taco discovery

Cherrywood Coffeehouse

1400 E. 38th½, 512/538-1991,
Daily, 7am-12mid
Cherrywood Coffeehouse
Cherrywood Coffeehouse (Photo by John Anderson)

Dear Glutton,

I am on a quest to find the best breakfast tacos. Would love your suggestions.

– Karl

Oh, Karl. Beautiful, naive, young Karl. You remind me of myself in more innocent times, when I, too, was new to Texas and thought that there was such a thing as the empirically Best Breakfast Taco, waiting for me to discover it. I drove myself mad in my search. Gained 10 pounds, then 20. Ruined social and romantic relationships with my obsessive debates over the comparative virtues of flour and corn tortillas (and I'm sorry guys, but I still think corn has a superior texture to flour's weird gummy-mouth feel; come at me, tortilla partisans), chorizo vs. bacon (chorizo, obviously, the bacon is rarely crispy enough, I will fight you on this), and trucks vs. sit-down restaurants (Do I even need to say it? TRUCKS).

Aside from my strong personal preference for individual tacos, I have yet to come to any global conclusions. And I suspect that such a definitive explainer is impossible. But what I can do is point you toward three possible routes of exploration, byways to incorporate into your lifelong journey of taco discovery. The rest, dear Karl, is up to you.

We start out with your classic sit-down taco. Now, there are many ways to go with this. You can kick back at Mi Madre's, where the tacos are the size of a small child's arm and the house-made cafe de olla fills the air with the aromas of cinnamon and vanilla. Their exceedingly pleasant patio is my favorite post-late-night spot in the city, the perfect place to nibble some crispy migas (with added avocado, naturally) and plan your Sunday. Or you can venture north to Tierra Linda Taqueria, located, like many of my favorite Austin restaurants, in a gas station grocery store. Their tortillas are homemade, their fillings are freshly scrambled, all for $1.75 a pop and well worth the drive from Downtown.

And then, there's the noble Austin institution of the taco truck. I've already used this column to sound off on the virtues of my Northside favorite Veracruz All Natural (one of the few places in town that offers up an adequately crisped bacon breakfast taco), but I'm equally fond of El Primo, an Eastside taco truck parked, of course, in a corner parking lot near a gas station (stop there for your coffee). Here, the egg and bean tacos provide the kind of greasy, primal satisfaction that few restaurant tacos can hope to approach. Scarf down a few doused with their homemade salsa while standing on the corner watching traffic pass and planning your next move.

Sometimes, though, you want a breakfast taco that deviates from the classic salty protein/egg/cheese triumvirate. It is for those times that the good people at Cherrywood Coffeehouse invented the Terra Taco. Stuffed with fried tofu, crispy fried potatoes, a pile of cold shredded cheese, and a hefty curl of green onion tops, there's no way this combination should work. I had to be talked into ordering it the first time around. And yet, it's such a weirdly compelling amalgam, I find myself returning to it more frequently than any of the others on this list. Go figure.

So there are some options for you. Go try them out (Maybe all in one day? HMU if you want a companion, this sounds like my ideal morning) and get back to me. Ultimately, though, this is a question I have to leave incomplete, and open to suggestions from our dear readers. What say you, readers? Do I have it all wrong? Is there truly one taco to rule them all? Please write in with suggestions!

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