Monday, November 16

Juarez Mexican Bakery - Round Rock, TX

A few weeks ago, we all decided to try out tacos in Round Rock, TX. I thought good Mexican food was practically nonexistent in the Rock but I was wrong. I found one good place - Juarez Mexican Bakery. A not so close second was Speedy Tacos, at least from my flavor flaves. Check out the video on Juarez Mexican Bakery for my review.

For both taco joints, check out the reviews by Undercover Mexican Girl...

The Round Rock Excursion

Juarez Bakery & Restaurant

You’d think for being a native of Los Angeles, I would easily embrace driving 24 miles north on a major interstate highway. But I loathe driving, particularly on freeways. Fortunately, The Commish volunteered his Civic Honda as the Taco Journalist Mobile.

We arrived 15 minutes late to meet with Ian Morales of Austin Vida, for the video shoot that would make us famous. Due to unforeseen circumstance, our Round Rock expert was unable to meet with us. What were we to do? Between the four of us, I think our combined lifetime visits to Round Rock were not more than a dozen. Alas, we figured it out.

10:15 AM was rush hour at Juarez – we had no time to lollygag in line – make up your mind quick, and order quick! The line moves faster than you’d expect. Barely awake on a Sunday, I wasn’t ready for anything too experimental, so I settled for my standard eggless breakfast taco: bacon, potato, and cheese. (One morning, years ago, this combination occurred to me during a hangover, when the smell and thought of eggs seemed nauseating.) This taco is all about indulgence. If you want to be truly sinful, leave out the potatoes.

Now, breakfast on the weekends is something I like to take my time with, and as a first timer to Juarez, I did feel rushed and unable to properly make my decision. Given a little more time, I would have ordered a second taco, a cup of coffee, or even a pastry. Lucky for me, Mando ordered a pan dulce that was simply pan francés (French bread) slathered thick with rich, creamy butter and a generous layer of sugar. This he shared with the rest of us, and even though one of my aberrations is regularly turning down sweets – this just might be my downfall. Much to my mother’s dismay, my father taught me at a very early age this delicious concoction of bread, butter, and sugar. And now I discovered it comes ready-made, in a more spectacular form! I also had a bite of Justin’s concha. Both sweet breads were soft, warm, and fresh.

The salsa is not easy to come by – no squeeze bottles on the table and not included on the side in mini-containers with lids. The salsa, which to my delight was plentiful with cilantro, was in little ramekin bowls on the far left of the counter. The pressure to order quickly, along with the inconspicuous salsa, made me think you have to be a regular here to get the most out of the experience. The tacos were made very quickly and served wrapped in foil allowing for the cheese to melt nicely, but you don’t seem to get a choice between corn and flour. Call me crazy, but occasionally, I do like my breakfast tacos in the ancient maíz tortilla.

The potatoes were fried just rust right – crunchy on the outside and mushy on the inside – with the proper coating of herbs and seasoning. There were two dense, but not fatty, strips of bacon, and a suitable amount of shredded cheese. The experience itself was a bit impersonal, but if this place were in South Austin, I’d definitely go back.

4.0 stars – Undercover Mexican Girl

Speedy Tacos & More

For a place called “Speedy,” I was very amused by their subtle decorative humor – I counted at least half a dozen clocks in their establishment, ranging from classroom-style wall clocks to antique grandfather clocks. The heavy yellow overtones in the décor took me back to the 1970s. I almost felt I was at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor when the music turned to a rag-time piano version of Glenn Miller’s In the Mood, but when the curious musical intro evolved into a Tejano song, I realized I was still at a Mexican American taqueria.

For comparison’s sake, I ordered a bacon-potato-cheese breakfast taco, and being closer to the noon-time hour, I decided also on a beef fajita taco. The tortillas – flour, of course – (corn seems to be more prevalent in South Austin) were quite delicious. Thick, puffy, and homemade.

The taco fillings, however, were not as impressive. I always frown upon a higher-to-other-fillings potato ratio, and while I can often appreciate simplicity, these potatoes were on the blander side. Also, there was only one strip of bacon that didn’t extend the entire diameter of the tortilla. This is important, you see, because otherwise, about 1/5 of your bacon-potato-cheese taco ends up being simply a potato-cheese taco.

I was visibly impressed by the thick cuts of beef fajita, but they were almost too thick for the palate. A bit too Tex-Mex for my tastes. For my tacos, I prefer smaller chopped meat. The grilled onions, too, were cut into hearty strips, and were quite juicy, which I enjoyed. While the taco didn’t excite me on a first try, it was tasty as a leftover the next day.

On a final note, I’m never too sure when a taco place also serves “more” (hamburgers, fried catfish, etc.). I’m a firm believer a restaurant should pick a niche and become an authority. Then again, I do appreciate post-modern hybridism. I’d have to try their “more” items before I could truly judge.

3.0 stars – Undercover Mexican Girl

Juarez Mexican Bakery - 4 Stars
1701 S. Mays Street P
Round Rock, TX 78664

Speedy Tacos & More - 3 Stars
2000 N. Mays Street #300
Round Rock, TX 78664


Daniel V. said...

Were these the only two places you actually visited or were there others that just weren't worthy of comment?

Anonymous said...

What does someone from L.A. know about Tacos? Bacon, potato and cheese?

Cornbiter Deluxe said...

I'm from the Rio Grande Valley aka deepest south Texas, and I eat Bacon potato and cheese tacos all the time. Delicious!

austin homes said...

I've been up to Juarez's and I'd say it's pretty solid!

Ian Morales said...

Agh man, it was cool to say I was sick. That benadryl will knock you out man. I have to be careful about that. No worries folks, we made it up to them. you'll see it soon!

Anonymous said...

If you make it back to the Rock, give Vasquez a try. Take the 79 exit, left on Sam Bass, on the right just before the train tracks. Beef fajita and al pastor are the best in the area.