They say that everything is bigger in Texas. Considering the tacos that Austin Taco has brought to Fort Collins, I believe it. Bigger doesn’t always mean better, though.
Austin Taco joined the Fort Collins food truck scene in January of 2015 with the De Los Santos family coming back to Fort Collins after realizing that we were severely lacking in breakfast tacos around these parts, something that is abundant in the land of weird – Austin, Texas, where the De Los Santos family came from. Soon their funky food truck was making the rounds at breweries, festivals, and side streets serving up nothin’ but tacos.
We’re certainly no strangers to tacos here in Fort Collins. There’s no shortage of Mexican restaurants and Tex-Mex fare. You can’t swing a bag of tacos without hitting a restaurant that serves them. However, everyone has their own take on tacos, something that was brought to light during Tuesday Taco Club meetings (and something we’ll get back to soon). In our taco-eating adventures, we tasted a variety of Fort Collins variations, lending appreciation for the taco creativity available. I think you have to stretch those taco boundaries, like the stringy melty cheese that’s in them. If you don’t, you’re just another taco on a corner of a million other taco options.
Austin Taco does indeed bring the different. They are the only place that you can get breakfast tacos (that I’m aware of), which is a shockingly unique option considering that you can find breakfast burritos of every kind, in even more places than you can find tacos. They also have some intriguing options in their lunch and dinner taco line up that go beyond the boring shredded chicken with iceberg lettuce and tomatoes.
I’ve had a bunch of tacos from Austin Tacos – breakfast tacos, dinner tacos, food truck festival tacos… I’ve given them a handful of visits, more than the average review. And it’s because I tried my best to like them, but I have to be honest – I don’t.
Let’s start with the best of the best first. I love their tortillas. They are soft and thicker than standard, almost resembling a pita pocket more than a tortilla with a touch of doughiness. But make no mistake, those things are downright delicious. I’ve often dumped the taco insides out and made sure to finish the tortilla.
And that’s where the good praises end. A delicious tortilla does not a taco make.
Their breakfast tacos are better than their lunch/dinner tacos. I’ve had their signature Austin Taco with eggs, potato, topped with slices of bacon and melted cheese. I’ve also had the Gordo with potato, chorizo, egg, and topped with slices of bacon and melted cheese.
On paper, these tacos sound great. In presentation, you think you’re going to dive into breakfast taco heaven. Sadly, for me, they were disappointing. The serving sizes are HUGE. Not just huge, I’m talking HUGE. You really only need to eat one taco for a meal. And great news – they’re very reasonably priced! You get a bang for your buck, no doubt. But it’s a large mound of finely chopped, diced, and essentially granulated mixture of ingredients. You can’t exactly taste the egg on its own. Or any individual ingredient other than the bacon and cheese on top. And if you get the Gordo with the chorizo, it’s practically a mound of meat under the cheese.
This causes their tacos to have a one-dimensional flavor, similar to what you’d find with slow-cooker meals that simmer for too long. Everything is just melded together. The ingredients are overly salty, too.
The lunch and dinner tacos are the same – overly salted and one-dimensional flavor. Their ground beef tacos are the better of the bunch – ground beef, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cheese on top. The only reason why this one is better than the others is because the ingredients add texture and light flavor to contrast the gigantic pile of greasy ground beef in the taco. Ironic considering I think this combination is boring, and not very weird.
Their carnitas taco? A huge pile of carnitas and a huge pile of shredded cheese on top. That’s it.
They have a weird taco of the month, a time for them to stretch their Austin flavor craziness. I had the Buffalo Chicken taco with blue cheese and mozzarella. I added the extra mozzarella in there knowing their tendency for flat flavors. It still needed something more. In fact, it would have been awesome if they had the chicken cooked up in Frank’s sauce, cut half the meat portion size, added a blue cheese dressing or crumbles, and shredded carrot and celery on top. Now that is a well-rounded buffalo chicken taco that would have worked out better.
Austin Taco has the right idea with providing value at the price point the majority of the city is looking for. I’ve had taco-sticker shock at some other restaurants where two little street tacos are $10. You get five times as much for $5 at Austin Taco. But, like I said earlier, bigger isn’t always better. If they scaled back on some of the portion to add something fresh to balance the flatness of the flavor, they’d be adding some weird awesomeness to those delicious tortillas.
roaming Fort Collins
Kid-Friendly? You bet!
Parking Lot: Whatever parking lot they’re parked in
Healthy options: The veggie taco would cover that
Budget-Friendly? Oh yeah. $5 per taco
Recent Health Inspection: Excellent