Dec 03 2005

My Epic Taco Odyssey

The world’s most inedible chip, stuck in real good guacamole at El Chilito

I haven’t had a spare patriarchy-blaming moment for two days. As veteran readers may recall, I am a fat-ass epicurean first and a patriarchy-blamer second. So I’ve been taking advantage of a rare nausea-free interlude in my chemorama to cram as many delicious tacos as possible into the Twisty craw.

MariasbloodyarmsI have gotten outside a taco verde at Taco Xpress (Keep Austin Weird Dept: for the inexplicably purloined papier mâché arms of which giant South Lamar papier mâché landmark Alejandro Escovedo is playing a benefit).* I have also dispatched, on an emergency Tacodeli run, both a Frontera Fundido and a Cowboy Taco (and holy crap, what a taco it is: steak, grilled corn, guacamole, other stuff–what more could a spinster aunt ask of a humble street food?).

Tacoalpastor_changoI have hoovered up one of Chango’s tacos al pastor, with tons of raw onion and cilantro.

TacopotatomariasI have gone back to Taco XPress for breakfast and gotten a potato-chorizo-cheese taco. This was after my thoughtful neighbor Laurie, keenly sensing a disruption in the Taco-Force, left a bag of Maria’s breakfast tacos on my doorstep.

Taco_elchilitoI have also sucked in a species of pulled pork taco with pink pickled onions at El Chilito, which is the East Austin taco stand spinoff of the excellent El Chile Cafe y Cantina, whither I did hie yester eve with a glad cry of "Slap a carne asada a la Tampiqueña into my feedbag, Miss Thing, and toss in a top shelf marg, and make it snappy, for life is uncertain!"

I would be remiss in my duties as a food snob if I failed to entreat with no piddlin’ urgency that anyone within a 100 mile radius of El Chile should get their entire black ass there at once. While I shoveled down the remarkably superior carne asada, my chum Stingray devoured a pair of the most physically beautiful shrimp enchiladas upon which I have ever had the pleasure to cast an eye, and pronounced them "amazing."

As for El Chilito: they’ve got the kitsch + disaffected-hipster-employee thing down, but those godawful greasy chips are an embarrassment to both their real good guacamole and, I dare say, the entire city of Austin.

RecchiutiAnyway, for dessert I owe an enormous debt to Chris Clarke, (speaking of whom, I forgot to blog against racism, dammit! Now I’m going to hell) who turned me on to these goddam Recchiuti chocolates and now I can’t stop. They are absurd boutique chocolates with loony ingredients like bergamot and cardamom and lemon verbena and jasmine and pink peppercorn, and they are a triumph. I have never tasted anything even approaching the exquisiteness of these things. The Ginger Heart, for example is described in the extensive documentation as "morsels of Australian candied ginger folded into extra-bitter chocolate ganache, finished with dark chocolate and gold leaf." This Recchiuti dude is a genius. The attendant spirit allotted to him at birth must have been something like the one allotted to Beethoven, or to the person who invented tacos. If chocolates were paintings, Recchiuti would be Van Gogh and the Sistine ceiling and Duchamp all at once, and Godiva would be Thomas Kinkade Painter of Lightâ„¢, and Toblerone would be the black crayon scribbles of a toddler who grows up to be a serial killer.

*What I mean by this poorly constructed sentence is not that Alejandro Escovedo is a giant South Lamar papier mâché landmark, but that somebody stole the arms off the huge Taco XPress taco woman without explanation, and the taco stand owner put bandages on the bloody stumps, and A.E. is playing a benefit concert to restore the arms to their original embracing akimbo-tude.


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  1. MzNicky

    Recchiuti chocolates. Got it written down. Where does one purchase these creations? Online, I hope?, as I suspect they ain’t available in my neck of the woods.

    Twisty I’m so happy for your reawakened taco-scarfing capabilities! Long may your maw be crammed with delectables.

  2. Hattie

    Let me be the first to congratulate you on your excellent taste in tacos, that wonderful fare. Even chemo cannot defeat the appetite of my favorite spinster aunt.

  3. Ms. Kate

    Hole Mole Guacamole Twisty! Spinster aunts sure can eat thoroughly unladylike quantities of less-than-dainty food!

    Good for you!

    If you got a insatiable yen for croissants, would you blame the pastry-arc-y?

  4. darkymac

    Appetite, chocolate, art, Beethoven, tacos and plenty of em?
    Then Twisty is clearly surfing on the fantabulous breathing space after the string fugue, the ostenato tuttis and the 4 trumpet raspberries at the end of the first-ish subject of the first movement of the Third Symphony of Beethoven-the-Only.


    May one congratulate the little white cells for such energetic recovery and may there be this great space between poison infusions right through to the last.

  5. Ron Sullivan

    Oh. My.

    So early for food porn, I think you’ve whipsawed my metabolism a bit. Matt the Cat just ran to the door and urgently demanded OUT. I think the aura of appetite alarmed him.

    Hmm, tacos del gato, and he’s certainly getting meaty these days…

  6. SneakySnu

    I am in awe of the sheer variety of delectable tacos available in the Austin area. There ain’t a decent Mexican joint within 400 miles of Toronto. Oh, exquisite torture! Please, no more TacoPix! Have mercy!

    Adding insult to injury, Recchiuti does not ship outside the U.S. (I just thought of a gift my bro in Mountain View might be able to get me for Xmas, though.)

    On the other hand, a friend of mine is now a rep for a Tuscan chocolate maker named Amadei, whose chocolates were named “Best in the World” at the 2005 World Chocolate Awards in London. When I see said friend next week, I’ll try to snag a significant number of samples and send them to you. I do not need them. Mr. Snu is Italian, and we’re heading into high Panettone season over here.

  7. Amanda Marcotte

    El Chilito! I love that place! And yes, the disaffected hipster thing is both disturbing and yet draws me there so I can stand around wearing an obscure rock band’s T-shirt and looking snobby so that I can impress all the boys before dashing off into the night. “Who was that mysterious rock snob who looks exactly like every other female hipster in the city of Austin?” they say, in my imagination.

    Well, that and the really good tacos.

  8. Amanda Marcotte

    Do you ever go to Curra’s? I love that place, though you have to time it just right or you get hit with massive crowds.

  9. Chris Clarke

    This post has made me decide that 2006 contains a Chris Clarke Visits Austin episode, dammit, come hell or high water, both of which I would in fact have to drive across to get there.

    And while I’m on the subject of traveling Twistyphiles, I should mention that I work a mere five blocks from Recchiuti World HQ. Thus anyone who wants to come eat lunch with me someday can kill two birds with one stone.

    Which in turn raises the possibility of Tacos al Pajaritos.

  10. Twisty

    Curra’s! I love that place! I ate there the night before my mastectomy, as a matter of fact, on the outside chance that it would be my last meal. And, as it turned out, it nearly was, given the ineptitude of my octegenarian anaesthesiologist.

    As for the chocolate, I order it online. They ship it Next Day Air packed with cold packs. I wish I had never heard of this fucking chocolate, because it costs about $47 per piece, but then again, I don’t know how I ever lived without it. I’ve only got like 65 pieces left from my last order and I’m already startin’ to jones.

    Chris, when you get here, I will do everything in my power to taco you to within an inch of the abyss.

  11. Chris Clarke

    And how I long for the taco to stare back into me.

  12. cilla

    oh goddess you lucky, lucky, people. i dream of tacos but alas nothing doing here on old blighty!
    so pleased to here twisty is partaking of the dream tacos while she is non nauseous!! go girl!

  13. rose

    Happy, happy, joy, joy. I love you like a pig, Twisty.

  14. thingfish23

    Were there any chocolates in the box called “Crunchy Frog”?

    “Well, if we took the bones out, it wouldn’t be crunchy, would it?”

  15. peacebug

    twisty and chris – have you discovered vosges haut-chocolate?? another boutique approach to that most mighty of mighty addictions, and boy howdy are they tasty. not to mention a woman-owned/operated enterprise to boot.

    my fav is the naga bar with sweet Indian curry powder, coconut flakes, and milk chocolate.

    and chris, if you venture east to austin I’d definitely join y’all at the taco-gourgin’ event, mostly to ensure the presence of the timeless margarita.

  16. Amanda Marcotte

    *happy taco dance*

  17. Hattie

    How I envy you your crispiness. Where I live in Hawaii the humidity militates against that excellent food quality so essential to the taco. I make flabby gorditas as a substitute, not being able to bear those things that come in packages, or chips, or packaged tortillas. One thing I do have is a tree full of the best avocados in the world! Not bad with slow-cooked pork, home made salsa, & guacomole, & good cheese. Out here in the wilderness we learn to make do.

  18. The Fat Lady Sings

    Oh Twisty – You know – I should have thought of this earlier. Especially since you like chocolate. There is this wonderful company called Cowgirl Chocolate’s– the perfect marriage of chocolate and hot pepper ever conceived. My husband is addicted to them – they’re really, really good. Everything from mild – to kick your ass hot – some of their offerings kind of remind me of a spicy mole sauce; others just melt on the tongue leaving a hint of spice. Try ‘em – I think its something you will enjoy.

    I am glad to hear you are feeling better. Still sending those positive thoughts your way:)

  19. fayrene

    Oh, El Chile and El Chilito are well within my immediate taco radius. The fundido at El Chile is muy tasty, but what makes El Chilito excellent is the wonderful sides of rice and refried beans. You cannot get better, especially considering they come in a styrofoam container at the bottom of a paper bag. En mi casa, we hoard the little plastic tubs of salsa that come with Chilito tacos.

    Not long ago, I was waiting around for my Sunday morning breakfast taco at El Chilito and heard a man ask for a “steak taco, but with eggs too” and I thought – DAMN. Why didn’t I think of that?

  20. GraceD

    Frantically tagging all of the taco posts to del.icio.us for my visit to SXSW 2006.

    To dream: The Righteous Twisty to lead a Tour de Taco next March for the SXSW bloggers.

    What if?

    How about it?

  21. Indri

    Mmmmm, Recchiuti. They have a store in the Ferry Building, where I work occasionally, and where I must exhibit tremendous willpower not to blow my savings stocking up on sweets.

    I ordinarily don’t eat sweet things that are not chocolate, but I can also recommend the squishy fruit gel things. I think I’ve had passionfruit and cassis. Tiny and exquisite.

  22. Marshall

    jesus fucking christ lady, quit it already willya? You may not know this, but one of Washington DC’s great tragedies, apart from the fact that you-know-fucking-who lives here, is that our Taconomics are in the deep red.

    Mixtec is about as close as we get to a decent taco around here, which believe me ain’t nearly goddamned close enough. The margaritas are like lemony/lime kerosene, and the pastor looks like detonated Manwich. So ease back on the Hot Taco Action, you’re breaking hearts over here.

  23. Sneaksleep

    You have finally succeeded in making me want to move to Texas.

  24. belledame222

    RECHIUTTI (slobber, pant)

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