I've been craving Araceli's delicious home cooking for some time now so when a Saturday afternoon bike ride finds me within striking distance of Montopolis I motor towards 809 Vargas all lean and hungry.
The little blue cart that houses El Taco Rico has moved 80 or so feet south to the other end of the quick mart parking lot...the hang has changed a little but the smells are still spot on as I park and make my way to the order window.
I've long since worked my way through the entire menu and one offering is as good as the other....the meats being the essential component of whatever it is that strikes your fancy that day.
I'm in dire need of a Tostada and the Barbacoa is a meaty gem that always bears up to inspection so that's dish one.Sopes are a specialty of the house and the Al Pastor is one of the better versions in Austin so this is dish two.I love Quesadillas and Araceli's are spot on so this rounds off the ordering.
Reared back in a comfy plastic chair under the small tent on the asphalt is a fine way to bask in a mid-Winter afternoon.Montopolis is jumping;a couple young boys are towing a small hound by a rope down the sidewalk...A young mom is riding herd on her flock of kids across the way in the laundry mart parking lot....the occasional Oldsmobile or Buick slow rolls by blaring Big Hawk,filling the community with good sounds.
The food comes in a tumult of deliciousness.The Sope hits the table first and is right at fat.The Masa is thick and fried til crisp/chewy then ladled with Refried Beans,Fresh Cabbage,Slivers of Al Pastor,Crema,Radishes,Home-pickled Jalapenos,Ripe Tomatoes,Avocado,Crema and dusted with Cotija Cheese.It's jaw dropping good.The Tostada is next and is a copy of the Sope except for the Masa being shattering thin...the Barbacoa is the real deal and succulent.I enjoy the Quesadilla on a Harina Tortilla stuffed full of molten Mexican Cheese.
The Salsas both red and green are superb.The Green is a fiery puree of Poblano Chiles,the Red not as hot but with a deeper more smoky flavor.I pour an unseemly amount all over everything I'm eating and the flavors throw a riot in my mouth.
I'm working my way through all the Taco Carts in Austin.After a few years of ardent research my top 3 are
Tacos El Rico at 809 Vargas in the Montopolis neighborhood
Taqueria Diego a mile south of the Burleson Road intersection on the East Side of Hwy 183
El Rincosito on the Northeast corner of Manor Road and Airport Blvd