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Restaurants & Bars 37


scrumptiouschef | Apr 4, 2009 10:29 AM

Austin's restaurant graveyard is growing by the week. While sitting at Candy's Tacos
[from a previous post:I've been holding off any pronouncements on this,my new favorite cart 'cause I wanted to march through the chef's menu first.After having numerous and memorable tacos here during the fest,all featuring some of the hottest red salsa I've encountered in Austin, I can't hold out any more.This is one fine taco cart.Candy is the chef,counter girl and cashier so be patient.You'll wait while she presses out the tortilla and crafts the taco into being.Her chorizo is handmade and exists in the same rarefied air as Mi Ranchito on William Cannon.Her bacon is smoky tasting and comes from a well tended pig.I love the way she lightly scrambles her eggs instead of whipping them to hell and back.Candy's tortillas are stellar;plump,corny flats rich with manteca.Nothing can sway my love for Tacos el Rico but if I was going to do any slipping around on Yolanda it would be with Candy],a few days ago eating a predictably great taco I noticed V's Mini Burger's food truck sitting across the way in a weed choked lot filled with broken vehicles.

I never ate there and heard it was really bad but it did set me to thinking.

In the last few weeks I've driven by Al John's only to find it has closed and been replaced by a Mexican chicken joint.Al John's at its' height under the original owner Gino,had a few locations scattered around Austin.Its' claim to fame was a careful take on scratch baked Italian Hoagie loaves.Gino sold out and moved to Florida to live the good life[and died shortly thereafter],the new owners,a nice Asian couple introduced barbecue to the menu[!].Fortunately the loaf recipe didn't change and the food quality remained high for the last few years.I love Mexican chicken but you can't swing a cat like a lariat in this town without hitting at least one Pollo Rico or some such place.Al John's will be sorely missed.

Abarrotes Mexicanos on Tillery was my favorite source in Austin for a Mexican Blue Plate lunch.They would take a southern classic[Pork Chops,Meat Loaf,Chicken Fried Steak]and wave a Mexican Magic Wand over the plate[usually involving a good use of chiles]and voila;Mexican Plate lunch!They also had my favorite bowl of Pinto Beans in Austin.They have been replaced by Don Marcelino's Pan y Vino.Who's eaten there and how is it?

Finally,the legend of El Rinconsito has been ably documented on this site emeritus MPH broke this one down thoroughly and I still wake up with the shakes over Cira hand rolling her tortillas in a slinky brown velvet dress with stilletos.The new owner is a very nice fellow named Aldo who has little interest in the craft side of the food[tortillas from a bag from HEB].I tried his carnitas and they were good but too lean.They almost tasted like a pork loin which is destined to live in the shadow of it's superior cousin the shoulder.His knife work was way above average and I commented on this"I worked at Catering by Rosemary til I could get my own thing going"

What are some places you've noticed that've recently shuttered?

What's replacing them?

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