Five Tex-Mex Food Specialties That Should Go Nationwide--Or At Least to California

Categories: Mexi Meals
Torchy's Tacos, Austin's most-famous breakfast taco stand--and it's spreading...

From chili to the combo plate, fajitas to tacos al carbón, the frozen margarita machine to nachos, Texas has long dominated the national conversation on Mexican food in this country. But that's now irretrievably changed, as California and our onslaught of regional Mexican, Korean tacos, Mission burritos (via Chipotle) and other troops have overtaken Tex-Mex and left it eating Pecos dust (read the full argument--of course--in my Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America).

That's not to say Tex-Mex is completely dead. The state can still be strip-mined for its many regional specialties that have yet to penetrate the American market. Having just returned from the heart of Texas, Austin and San Antonio, I was reminded of their jewels but also of how few people outside the state have tasted them, let alone know about them. Behold five of them. And Texans: I know there are many more I didn't mention, from barbacoa to carne deshebrada (or guisada), but we can't all be like ustedes, you know?

5. Migas

The rest of the country might think migas are chilaquiles, as both are based on tortillas, eggs, and salsa--but migas are to chilaquiles as the Washington Wizards are to professional basketball. Chilaquiles are spartan--fried tortilla strips, salsa, and a side of beans and rice, with eggs usually thrown in. Migas are Baroque--that same structure, but the tortilla strips sometimes sauteed, sometimes grilled, sometimes pulverized, and always mixed and a harvest of peppers, onions, and tomatoes mixed into the egg. And the cheese--oh, lordy, the cheese. AND the queso.

4. El Paso-Style Burritos
A weenie burrito--yes, stewed hot dogs in a jalapeño salsa

I just discovered these last month, at a stand in El Paso strangely called The Real Burrit-O. While Chico's Tacos are necessary food for anyone who passes through El Paso, these are more exportable, as you don't have to explain to the country what a burrito is, as opposed to rolled tacos covered in cheese, drowned in tomato salsa. El Paso burritos are really Juarez burritos, which are beautiful, spartan things: not too big, stuffed not with beans and rice and a grilled meat but usually any number of guisados (or, turkey tail tinted crimson--fatty and brilliant). Another big reason why they're so delicious is because Texas features...

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