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My Favorite Austin Breakfast

Scrambled egg, shredded Monterey Jack, onions, cilantro, avocado, and tortilla chips cradled in a soft tortilla 

A taco spread at Veracruz

This post originally appeared in Bill Addison’s newsletter “Notes From a Roving Critic,” a twice-monthly dispatch from Bill’s travels across the country. Browse the archives and subscribe now.

Hi from Texas, where I’ve been wandering and eating far too much over the last two weeks for an upcoming project. This drifting has done me good. I crave the state’s landscape: the scruffy mountains of West Texas, their colors veering through browns and purples as the day’s light shifts; the unpredictable dips and grades and planes of Central Texas; the flat, calming horizon of East Texas. Everywhere, the sky’s enormity reboots something fundamental in my brain. I’m moving to New York this month, and I’m bringing the sense of space with me. (Also the mild weather. It’s no accident I planned a research trip here in January and February.

Duck schnitzel over spaetzle at Otto’s

Last weekend I drove eight hours from El Paso to Austin, singing along to Sampha and Moses Sumney with all my might, and stopping in touristy Fredericksburg for an early dinner at Otto’s German Grill, where I ate beet-cured salmon with rösti, duck schnitzel (not pounded thin, but with a nicely sheer breading) over spaetzle, and homemade sausages with sauerkraut and spicy mustard.

When I woke up the next morning in Austin, my destination for breakfast was a foregone conclusion: Veracruz All Natural. There are scores of options for breakfast tacos in Austin and San Antonio (for starters), and plenty of controversial and passionate missives have been written about their origins and ownership. I’m just here to tell you about one place I love — and if you’ve been to the city and care about food, you likely know the migas tacos engineered by Veracruz co-owners Reyna and Maritza Vazquez.

Breakfast tacos at Veracruz All Natural

The sisters began serving them out of a trailer on East Cesar Chavez in 2008. A soft, weighty, homemade corn tortilla (or flour tortilla, though not homemade any longer) cradles slivers of scrambled egg, shredded Monterey Jack, onions, cilantro, a slice or two of avocado, and properly crisp tortilla chips crumbled into manageable pieces. It isn’t showy or pretty. It’s righteous morning food, and it’s the migas taco that’s achieved deserved Austin icon status.

In 2016 the sisters opened their first brick-and-mortar location, in Round Rock, Texas, just north of the city. Last September they launched their second restaurant, this one within Austin city limits in the North Burnet neighborhood. I do love the ritual of the Veracruz food truck experience: ordering at the window, squirting green and red salsas from squeeze bottles into tiny plastic cups, claiming a spot on one of the blue picnic tables alongside other breakfasters, and then hungrily unfolding the tacos’ individual foil packages.

Veracruz All Natural’s restaurant interior

That said, I’ll be dividing my time between the truck and the restaurant, because the food at the restaurant is made with even more care and precision. The tacos come open-faced, ready to be dressed and devoured. The restaurant has expanded menu options, the best of which are the picadas, masa creations that split the divide in texture between tacos and thicker sopes. The cooks shape short rims to contain sauces like avocado salsa or green mole or salsa ranchera. In Veracruz, where the Vazquez sisters grew up, families often start the day with picadas. I can’t think of abetter pair to introduce another breakfast taco tradition to a city that thrives on them.

Next stop before my Texas tour wraps up: Fort Worth. Have any suggestions for essential restaurants there? I loved the city during my time last decade as the critic for the Dallas Morning News, but I’ve grown rusty on its dining possibilities. I know that wherever I eat, I’ll be working off my meals by wandering Fort Worth’s incredible and vastly underrated museums.

Your roving critic,


P.S. — To escape to an entirely different landscape, please check out my latest review of two game-changing sushi bars in Honolulu.

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