Monday, February 20, 2012

Tortilleria Rio Grande #2

Tortilleria Rio Grande #2
500 W William Cannon Dr, 326-1341

Tip of the hat to fellow food writer Rachel Feit for turning me on to Tortilleria Rio Grande Dos, located in the shopping center at the NE corner of Wm. Cannon and S. 1st, all the way at the east end (their first location is on Braker @ IH 35, NE corner, in the shopping center….sensing a pattern here). They have about 6 tables, with 6 stools at the counter, and you order at the counter from the menu on the wall.

They have samples of the salsas at the counter, and a salsa bar against the wall, holding: a tangy and tart tomatillo, the molcajete (complex, spicy roasted chile and tomato, coarsely-ground), arbol (deep red, dark, and zippy), verde (avocado and jalapeño), and cebollo-cilantro. I wish the portion cups were bigger, but they sell tubs of each in the cooler; the way to go. The totopos (chips) are done in-house and excellent. They are thick and don’t shatter, managing to split down the middle into two thin lateral crispy halves; they have a good bubble ratio, perfect for dipping. They have bags for sale…get some. Perfect starter with a Sidral Manzano (apple) soda.

Behind the counter are two Celorio Electro Cel #56 maquinas de tortillas: a hopper holds a huge wad of fresh masa (made in-house, and also for sale), portions and shapes it, sheets it, and drops it onto a conveyor comal, flips it over, and cooks the other side before it comes to the end where it is stacked by hand, and wrapped into paper bundles. Buy them still-hot, rush them home, sprinkle some salt, and slather with butter…damn good impromptu treat. They also make flour tortillas, and I’m pretty sure I also saw some from whole wheat flour.

We tried several tacos:
Barbacoa, $1.75 (weekends only)…chunky, not shredded, beefy flavor, a little dry
Pork and potato in red sauce with nopalitos, $1.50…excellent
Picadillo and potato, $1.50…okay, but not as good as others.
Poblano rajas and queso, $1.50…dynamite!

Bistec gordita (more like carne guisado than carne asado), $1.50…their gorditos are fantastic, hand-patted, cooked on the comal, and stuffed, with a thin, gossamer sheet of masa on the top completing the envelope of goodness. Next visit, it’s all gordito at taco-time.

Chicken enchiladas with tomatillo sauce $5.50. These are the best buy in Austin, with rich, moist, tender shredded chicken chunks filling three enchiladas, draped in that wonderful tangy tomatillo sauce, crowned with queso, served with creamy beans topped with cheese, and nice rice. The wide angle shot makes the dish look small…it is not.

They have menudo on the weekends, and a chile relleno with my name on it for the next visit. A sign outside said “Mole”, though we missed it if they had any. They were also out of buñuelos. We finished with a cajeta-stuffed churro $1.50, also good. TRG #2?...¡ sí, sí !!!

Mick Vann ©

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