Here’s Hoping New York Becomes a Tacotopia Like Texas

Behold the Whataburger taquito selection. In Texas, even burger fast food joints like Whataburger know they better serve breakfast tacos or no one will ever eat there. Because burgers are boring and bland, while breakfast tacos are god's best friend.

In yesterday’s Dining & Wine section of The New York Times, there was a peculiar food article, especially for Texans:

Tacos in the Morning? That’s the Routine in Austin

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).

Signs of positive change? (Also #2 and #7 are also welcomed by Joy)

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, güeyClearly 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.”

Breakfast tacos

Behold the best breakfast ever!!!! (Photo from Tacotopia)

14 thoughts on “Here’s Hoping New York Becomes a Tacotopia Like Texas

  1. DKN says:

    We had breakfast tacos catered to us for tax season last year through a midtown deli – they were pretty good but I bet not nearly as good as what you are used to.

  2. Ian (taco show host) O'Keefe says:

    Hey, thanks for representing. You’d picked a photo of tacos from Santa Rosa, and it got me thinking who is the best taco shop here. I went back and tabulated and as it stands now – Garibaldi’s is #1, and there’s a 3 way tie for 2nd place: San Luis, Eddie’s, & Marroquin’s. Next time you’re in town look us up, we’d love you to apply your not inconsiderable taco wisdom to our little blog.

    -Ian

    • Joy says:

      Mos def. Garibaldi’s has a great drive-thru, which is a bonus when you’re too hungover to go inside (but, um, sober enough to drive, of course…)

  3. Crayton says:

    I don’t have any experience with breakfast tacos in Corpus, unfortunately, but I must also put in an endorsement for Torres Taco Haven in San Antonio.

    And I completely concur with your observation that Mexicans don’t eat breakfast tacos, at least the way they’re done in Texas. But they do eat tacos for breakfast, if the puestos near my place are any indication.

  4. dregina says:

    That article definitely got some things wrong – like when they talked about Torchy’s, the non-traditional taco place (this is true, they are only ok in my opinion, but do a lot of unusual stuff) but then cited their *migas tacos* as an example of how outside the TexMex box they are. Wha??

  5. newspapergirl says:

    OMG, that Times story has been the talk of the newsroom and greater San Antonio. Come one NYT, what was the reporter thinking! It’s not even fathomable (is that a word) to think the best breakfast tacos are in Austin? If you’ve ever lived away from South Texas — even Taco Cabana looks heavenly. The fast food of breakfast tacos got it’s start in San Antonio. Come on! And here in SA, Taco Haven and Tito’s to name two of my favs serve delicious breakfast tacos! My fav — bean, cheese, bacon and avocado. Yum!

  6. Monica O'Keefe says:

    Your father sounds like a wise man who knows of what he speaks. Corpus Christi ain’t got a whole lot but it does have A WHOLE LOT OF TACO JOINTS and when you can feed a family of four for 20 bucks or less, those taco places are packed! You can get a breakfast taco for .95 cents in this town!

  7. Christina Herrera says:

    My first time eating a bagel wasn’t until college. You cannot get the breakfast tacos we grew up eating in Dallas, at least not in my neighborhood. CC and SA tacos are the best, IMHO.

  8. Deborah says:

    ummmmm, the Rio Grande Valley would beg to differ w/ CC’s hold on the South Texas taco… and it puffs its chest at not being mentioned;)

    cute blog! Good luck in your return to NYC!!

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