Monday, September 14

Introducing The Undercover Mexican Girl & La Michoacana Meat Market

We were on a search and we didn't even know it! And finally, we had try-outs at La Michoacana and we finally came down to 1 winner out of 1 contestants. Yes, that's right, we found our Taco Journalista! She hails from the land of tacos, has a knack for South Austin taco trailers and everybody thinks she's a gringa (hence the name)! Taco world, get ready, here comes The Undercover Mexican Girl...

Undercover Mexican Girl

Undercover Mexican Girl spent her childhood in Aguascalientes, Los Angeles, and in her imagination. Ever since she was quite young, she was filling up notebooks full of stories and going off on adventures without her parents. At some point, she went to college (which she recommends only if you don't have to take out a loan) and earned a BA in History and a MFA in Creative Writing.

She's worked (for pay) as a violin shop manager, a film production assistant, a high school and college teacher, freelance writer and editor, and in the non-profit world doing public relations and development. She's also worked (without pay) as an actor, stop action animator, musician, decoupager, sketch artist, epicurean, and pirate.

First Review: La Michoacana Meat Market/Taqueria No. 1

What began with an e-mail inquiry to the Taco Journalists about their coverage of South Austin taco trucks ended in a merry lunch meeting at La Michoacana (minus The Commish). At first, we were stumped by the meal-ordering process. We instinctively migrated to the hot deli counter, where all the taco fillings and entrees resided in glowing warmth, but the cooks cheerfully instructed us to pay at the register and then return with our receipts for faster service.

I had fiercely hoped that their menu that day would include what I call "folded in half, fried mashed potato" tacos. These tacos were a staple in my childhood cuisine, and although I'd always thought they were my mother's unique creation to get rid of leftover mashed potatoes, they are universally known tacos. In fact, Mando explained to me that these are called "doraditos." But apparently, they only appeared briefly during my last visit to La Michoacana several months ago perhaps at the whim of one of the cooks. And the cook had referred to them as "taco dorados," or simply "tacos de papa."

Still lusting for the non-present tacos de papa, I settled for the Chile Relleno "antojito" plate, and I was thrilled that it didn't come with a side of rice and beans. Why does every Mexican and Tex-Mex dish in Austin come with rice and beans? I don't remember my parents or relatives (all from central Mexico) serving up rice and beans with every single meal. Mexicans eat other sides, too, like salads and vegetables! (Do Americans eat mac'n'cheese and french fries with every meal?) The Chile Relleno plate came with a salad of fresh iceberg lettuce and tomatoes, topped with a creamy queso fresco dressing. Queso fresco is crumbly like feta, but mild like mozzarella.

The chile relleno, as well, was stuffed with queso fresco and only queso fresco. No cheddar or fancy jack cheese, no pumpkin seeds or raisins, no blackened fish. I appreciated its simplicity, but I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't topped with a warm tomato salsa and grilled onions (as my mother made it). As adequate back-up, the salsa from the condiment squeeze bottle was tasty enough.

Eating at the counter was an exciting experience itself, with an intimate view of the cooking action, busy market shoppers, and chaos from the cash registers. Sort of nostalgic, too, the way I would imagine sitting at the corner pharmacy soda fountain. And when you're done with your meal, there's a full selection of "pan dulce" (sweet breads), all-natural Grisi soaps and shampoos, and cuts from the meat market I recommend the marinated beef fajita for the grill. (Recommendation endorsed by Mando.) So, see you at La Michoacana... "donde usted siempre gana."

4.0 Stars - Undercover Mexican Girl

La Michoacana Meat Market/Taqueria No. 1
1917 East 7th Street
Austin, TX 78702

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I really like La Michoacana. It's right in my neighb and I have been dying to check it out on my way home as they have $1 tacos from 3-7 M-F. Check out my clue-free review here!