Celebrated in myth and lore, Austin’s Amaya’s Taco is a restaurant that lives in a strip mall, even to this day.
My first introduction, Capricorn buddy named, and I am not making this up, Bubba, really, that was his sobriquet –
“You’ll love this place, bite into a taco, the grease drips down to your elbow!”
The original location was “East of 35,” although, to me, clearly visible from highway – when stuck in Austin’s now legendary traffic. Perched in an old house, about to slide off the precipitous hillside, the place turned out the most amazing corn tortillas.
It’s more than just corn tortillas, but in a market awash with high-quality TexMex, to have a venerable product that soars above the others is remarkable.
The dish is now called “Village Tacos,” and if memory serves, it used to be just “tacos.”
The tacos are an amalgam of soft taco, Taco Bell taco, and San Antonio’s “puffy taco,” which, in reality, is more like a gordita. Amaya’s Tacos are thick, corn tortillas, folded around unknown mystery-taco-meat, then lightly fried, so the outer taco shell is sort of hard and crunchy but then, kind of soft and chewy, and redolent with the piquant aromatic blend of masa, corn meal and probably love (frequently interchangeable with lard).
It’s just good, and the amusing part to me, the north Austin location, remember when it was a ship? Then a Bicycle Club?
Roots, I got roots and they are showing.
Then, too, Amaya’s Tacos were only available on the old Austin East Side, when it was a sketchy neighborhood. Now? There’s the north location, and weird, to me, the South Park Meadows location, as well.
South Park Meadows? Remember when?
Now it’s strip mall.
But still an Austin-flavored strip center with Green Mesqite BBQ and Amaya’s Tacos, too.
The importance of Green Mesquite BBQ?
Now, two institutions next to each other, in a far south Austin strip mall –