The Taco Trail

There are dozens of mobile taco stands around town, complementing (or often in direct competition with) permanent taco joints or larger Tex-Mex restaurants. Quality varies widely from stand to stand, and every neighborhood has its favorites. Here are a select few of ours. For more on recommended local taco joints, see "Good to Go," March 10, 2006.

Taqueria El Rey Polo

West side of Pleasant Valley at Riverside, just north of the HEB. In the parking lot of a former Champion store.

King Polo serves up succulent tacos al pastor and tender chicken tacos until the wee hours. Orders come with a side of caramelized onions, which perfectly complements the smoky meat flavors. – M.M.

Especialidad Tacos Al Pastor

South side of East Riverside, in a parking lot between Parker and Royal Crest. Look for the BINGO sign.

The original late-night Riverside taco stand. The family has been perfecting its technique for more than 20 years, and it shows. The tortillas are homemade, and the barbacoa melts in your mouth. – M.M.

Taqueria La Canaria

Northeast corner of 51st and Airport, in the 1 Stop convenience store parking lot.

Remedios Rodriguez is the head chef in this canary-yellow trailer, and she's brought the flavor of Acapulco to North Central Austin. The tortillas and gorditas are handmade, and the carne guisada rivals the best in town. – M.M.

Pollo El Norteño

Corner of 51st and Broadmoor Drive, in the parking lot of the gas station.

This taco stand is holding its own against a Church's Chicken across the street. You can get an entire grilled chicken here, and it comes with a salsa that's the color of guacamole and the strength of a hundred charging bulls. – M.M.

Taqueria Don Chuy

Near the corner of Lamar and Grady, between Kramer and Rundberg.

Here's the place to get your far-north taco fix. The chicken fajita tacos are cooked to perfection and come complete with grilled red peppers and onion. If you're in the mood, they also serve a liver and onion taco. Yummy! – M.M.

Elotes Asados

East side of Lamar, just north of Rundberg, in a parking lot of a Mexican market.

This stand specializes in a popular Mexican snack – roasted corn. It conveniently comes in a cup, so you won't make a mess. They also serve shaved ice, so that makes it a meal. – M.M.

Taqueria la Flor

4901 S. First, in the Stop-N-Shop parking lot.

Best breakfast tacos ever. Everything is made fresh to order and is definitely worth the wait. Pick your own ingredients among egg, potato, bacon, nopalitos, chorizo, and pretty darned good barbacoa, etc. They also serve homemade gorditas, tortas, and other yummy snackables. – Claudia Alarcón

Taqueria Olivas

Southwest corner of South Congress and Ben White, just south of Highway 71, in the tool shop parking lot.

Great tacos al pastor. Open only in the evenings, late on weekends. – C.A.

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