Over on the Chowhound board this tiny food cart on Burnet Road gets a lot of love. Living about 75 blocks away has precluded me from visiting til this mornings course of events carries me deep into the heart of North Austin.
Burnet Road is a glorious mess.
It’s a peek back into old Austin when a good long stretch of road out of the city center typically hosted muffler repair shops, honky tonks, Dairy Queens, run down Asian massage parlors and the occasional stray miniature golf course.
Little has changed on Burnet in spite of Austin’s head long rush to the bottom in the name of modernity.
La Fogata is a tidy and tiny cart in the parking lot of a car wash on the east side of Burnet near Hwy 183. A head shop is adjacent and a karaoke bar welcomes from across the street.
I’m currently on a barbacoa mission so I order a taco and sit back for perhaps 30 seconds before the gracious owner Lupita beckons me to the window. At $1.75 the large heap of shredded beef is a good value but I have to say I’ve never had barbacoa even remotely resembling this version.
I inquire at the counter to make sure it’s not an errant lamb or goat-take on the classic, am assured it’s beef and return to my table.
It’s good. The beef is a tawny brown and the flavor much more in line with deshebrada [Mexican pot roast] than barbacoa. I really have my doubts that this is a true barbacoa but it’s no matter. I’m being well fed and that’s ultimately what counts. The meat rides a single corn tortilla which is ripe with manteca and provides a nice foil for the garlicky chile verde salsa.
As I dine a thick set Mexican gent approaches me and we begin chatting. He’s curious about the pronunciation of Burnet Road so I walk him through Austin’s take on mis-pronouncing every Mexican word we can wrap our mouths around.
We talk about Mexico and why he left to come to USA.
“It’s too dangerous there ese. Now that the Colombians are there I’m afraid I’ll get deported. I don’t want to go back, if INS catches me I’m gonna beg them to send me to Canada”
He makes the classic symbol of dragging his thumb across his throat indicating it’s curtains if he goes back to Mexico.
In spite of the grave nature of our talk the mood is lighthearted. He returns to the table with a trio of beautiful breakfast tacos liberally doused in Lupita’s homemade salsas. A monastic silence falls over us as we chew thoughtfully on our lunch, the bonding powers of deliciousness being what they are.
8513 Burnet Rd
Austin Texas 78757