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A Taste of Jalisco in North Austin

This entry is part of a series, Austin Scene»

Tapatia Enchiladas

Deep in Mexico, about halfway between Acapulco and Mazatlan, lies a famous city: Guadalajara, the capital of the state of Jalisco. Populous, compact and relatively well laid-out, this city boasts proud-spirited citizens and great food. The state of Jalisco is known for famous seafood and great tacos, to name a couple of items.

People from Guadalajara often refer to themselves as el Tapatio or la Tapatia, depending on their gender; nods to a famous plaza, or square, in Guadalajara. Turns out, “Tapatia” is also one of the most popular names for Tex-Mex and Mexican eateries in the United States. Not surprising, given how illustrious Jalisco’s cuisine is.

A new Taqueria La Tapatia opened in north Austin, out Parmer a short way beyond the Dell campus. (Okay, it’s officially on Tech Ridge Boulevard, but you can see it from Parmer.) My special spousal specimen called me to pick her up from work and take her there for lunch. Me, I have a simple rule: To hear is to obey. (Where lunch is concerned, certainly.) A short jaunt down Parmer, then a quick left-and-right and we were in the parking lot. Time to eat!

We arrived shortly after the main lunch crowd was thinning out and you could tell by the looks on the three servers’ faces that it had been a grueling session. They were smiling, but you could see they’d been working hard. We grabbed a small table near the cash register and looked around like rubes at their first county carnival. The case with baked goods (this place is also a panaderia, or Mexican-style bakery as well) caught my eye and I moseyed over to take a peek. Plenty of good stuff in there for next visit! Maybe breakfast…

A large party was checking out as we looked over the menu. That collection of satisfied folk kept the staff busy for a bit, which gave us plenty of time to make our choices. PJ chose cheese quesadillas, one of her favorite light meals. She didn’t go for the regular edition, though; she wanted pico de gallo and guacamole, which comes on the Especial version. I was thinking maybe burrito when I got there, but quickly changed over to Enchiladas Supremas. That’s a plate with three enchiladas, one each cheese, chicken and beef. A nice sampler platter! Red sauce was my choice, at least this time. Maybe the green next time, for variety; wouldn’t want to get bored.

Tapatia Quesadillas

While we waited for our meals we sampled the table salsa. It’s a more liquid sauce, deeply red in color and apparently freshly made. At first you get a good tomato tang, and then the heat spreads over your tongue and soon your whole mouth is involved. Not terribly hot, though. I enjoyed it; Paula Jo, who has a more timid refined palate, liked the heat less than I did. I ate like the salsa would be illegal tomorrow nibbled and looked aorund the dining room. Simple, with about a dozen square tables for four and a few small round tables. One large round table too, for a group of 6-8. What’s nice about a place like this, you can rearrange to suit your party’s size; it was apparent there had been a couple of very large groups in for lunch, from the location of sets of tables.

Our lunch arrived piping hot. The pico de gallo was zesty, with fresh jalapeño and plenty of onions. The cheese in PJ’s quesadillas was a white, melting cheese; likely Asadero. Very tasty. (I sampled to be sure; you never can trust what those special spousal specimens say! Gotta see for yourself, I believe.) My enchiladas were nicely presented and full of flavor, each one distinct. The rice and beans were pretty normal, nothing special, not distracting. The guacamole, however, was a bit runny and not so flavorful; the weakest element of the lunch.

I wouldn’t categorize these dishes as interior Mexican; more Tex-Mex style, actually. Maybe with a hint of Jalisco. Satisfying nonetheless.

For a quick lunch outing, Taqueria La Tapatia was a good choice. Not an “ooh and ahh” meal, but quick Mexican/Tex-Mex at budget pricing. There’s not many places left in the area where you can get quesadillas for around $5, and an enchilada trio for $7. Drinks (iced tea), tax, tip and all, and we still had change from a Yuppie Food Stamp double-sawbuck. This place goes on our “try again” lunch list, and also on our breakfast list; with baked goods, breakfast tacos and more, it’s gotta be tried at least once. Convenience and price, those will draw us back occasionally…

Taqueria La Tapatia on Urbanspoon

Taqueria La Tapatia (With Panaderia), 12601 Tech Ridge Blvd., Unit 100, Austin, TX 78753. Phone 512.833.6262. Jalisco-style Mexican fare in a modern, hole-in-the-wall setting. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Great baked goods too!

Enjoy the (Jalisco Style) Heat!

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