In yesterday’s Dining & Wine section of The New York Times, there was a peculiar food article, especially for Texans:
As my friend Crayton said, “There are places where you don’t eat tacos in the morning? In America?” For anyone who has ever lived in Texas (or other Mexican-friendly states), it’s hard to fathom the need to do an article on this topic. Of course tacos are routine in Austin! And San Antonio. And Houston. And especially in my hometown of Corpus Christi. God, duh, right?
Many mornings of my youth were spent inhaling scrambled eggs, bacon and refried beans wrapped up in a 1/2-inch thick hot flour tortilla. I hadn’t tried crepes, omelettes, bagels or Hollandaise sauce until well into my 20s. Because why would I? But, the sad truth: Other people eat these food items because breakfast tacos aren’t ubiquitous!
When I moved to New Mexico for college, I wondered where all the breakfast tacos were. How did people survive? I ended up eating the really bad imitation McDonald’s breakfast tacos most mornings. By the time I was a senior, though, New Mexico started to catch on: A gas station opened up a breakfast taco bar, and I remember my roommates excitedly eating their first tacos. I nodded knowingly as they scarfed down the deliciousness: Welcome to my world, amigas. However, their excitement also was a little alarming — it was my first clue that maybe I grew up blessed, breakfast-wise, and that further travels would be even more breakfast taco lacking.
How right I was — I moved to New York in my mid-20s, and omg, I suffered my first real withdrawal. I asked myself, and anyone who would listen: WTF? WHERE ARE THE G-D TAQUITOS? New York City — which likes to think of itself as the capitol of the world — doesn’t have breakfast tacos?? I did eventually overcome the cravings, but let me tell you, it sucked (though it probably did help me lose weight, but that’s another discussion for another day. Ahem…).
After five years in New York, I moved here to Mexico City, and discovered another truth: There’s a great divide between Mexican food and Tex-Mex: Breakfast tacos don’t exist in Mexico, either! While there are some close runners-up for desayuno, like chilaquiles, you’ll never find scrambled eggs delicately tucked into a piping hot flour tortilla. Si, es cierto! I wouldn’t lie to you about such a serious topic!
However, now, as I prepare to move back to New York City in just a few short weeks, I’m a little encouraged. The Austin taco article is bizarrely popular on The New York Times’s web site. I’m hoping native New Yorkers are reading the article and thinking “how have I survived so long without a taquito each morning?” And so that, when I get back, I’ll find wise investors have opened up breakfast tacos stands/taquerias and wafts of carne guisada tacos spill onto the street alongside the fresh bagels. (No, I won’t hold my breath).
One very important request for potential new breakfast taco restaurant owners in New York: Please do better research than the Times reporter. The article hailed Austin as the top market for breakfast tacos. Whatever, güey! Clearly Señor John T. Edge forgot to visit points north, east, west, and most importantly, south, or else he would have realized that while Austin surely has delicious tacos, it’s no Corpus Christi, where, not only do we have a taco stand on almost every street corner (we like to claim the highest per capita taquerias in the country, a fact that has nothing to do with our our sky-high obesity rates) , we have a very special blog dedicated to elevating the breakfast taco to its true culinary heights.
As Tacotopia notes, “Corpus Christi may not have a lot going for it – what with the collapse of the domestic oil industry, stagnant growth, backwater politics, oppressive heat. There are some things about it, however, that are truly wonderful. And one of these things is breakfast tacos.”