The day started a little slower than Saturday as the whole family came along. We got the kids loaded up in the bike trailer and headed down to Tacodeli for our first tacos of the day.
20. Tacodeli: Steak & Eggs - good, but not as good as the Cowboy or the Al pastor which aren't served until 11:00.
As we rode up the hills between there and Town Lake, I started to realize that this might not be the best way to start the day. Not having done a lot of riding over the past few months, I was feeling pretty worked from the day before. And the kids with their gear and trailer weighed about 80 pounds.
29. Magnolia Cafe
But it was almost balanced by the fun of having them along. They really appreciated the crazy Austin Art house that inspired much of this challenge idea. We let them out to run around and look at all the cool sculptures
31. Keep Austin Weird Art House
Everything was going well - until Carly had her first meltdown that is...
30. Pemberton Castle
There we were in one of the ritziest neighborhoods in Austin. We had just left Pemberton Castle (the picture gives you some idea of the type of neighborhood), when Pug announced that he had to pee.
"Can you wait until we get to the next taco shack?"
So we pulled over and got him out of the five point harness system. He jumped out and ran for the nearest bush. He couldn't make it and so dropped trousers in the middle of the manicured lawn. We hoped that the residents of the mansion might have thought he was a new fountain that they had forgotten they had recently purchased. But then the wailing began. For the next thirty minutes, Carly let us know that she did not support the Birthday Challenge and wanted to go to the playscape.
31. Bottle Tree
Then started the frustrating search for breakfast tacos. At our first stop, Magnolia cafe, they informed us that they did not serve tacos to go on the weekend. Clearly we couldn't afford the delays of sitting down, so we just snapped a picture and then moved on. Next stop, the original Taco Shack. Does it make any sense to you that a place that has become so famous for breakfast tacos that it could open 5 more locations in Austin alone should decide to be closed on Sundays?
Just to make sure it wasn't only a phenomenon applying to the original location, we rode to another one nearby and found it to be closed too. So we tried the People's Pharmacy which had a sign proudly announcing that they served organic breakfast tacos. Of course, that didn't apply to Sunday mornings either.
So we got creative and found two alternate locations on Burnet that provided nice tacos:
21. Cafe Consuela: Barbacoa - VERY greasy. Even the lime had a tough time cutting it. But we were starving.
22. Pacha: Egg Cheese and Spinach with tomatillo sauce. What a great and unexpected find
Then it was off to Mount Bonnell. This is where my legs were completely done in. One short hill was so steep, I almost couldn't keep peddling with the trailer dragging me back. But we made it, and Pug got to come out and hike up to the top to enjoy the view with me.
32. Mt Bonnell
The ride down to Laguna Gloria was quick and refreshing. We stopped for a quick photo at the Museum and caught the peacocks next door at Mayfield Park.
33. Laguna Gloria (Austin Museum of Art)
Then it was back to Town Lake to drop off the kids and get serious about eating tacos. Unfortunately it was after 1:00 by the time we set off again. On our way to South Lamar, we took in a couple of the classic examples of Austin art along the lake:
34. Voodoo Pew on Town Lake
35. Stevie Ray Vaughn Statue at Town Lake
The first taco of the afternoon was the best of the day. I highly recommend Sazon for the interesting menu, the quality of the food, and the vibe of the place. The last time I had been in the building it had been a tex mex place called La Feria. They regularly had Mariachi singers. But the day we stopped in, we were greeted to a woman playing harp - no, not the harmonica, a 5 foot tall harp. Very nice...
23. Sazon: Al Pastor with Pina - you have to try it!
As we headed south on Lamar, we took in several tacos and some of the classic establishments which epitomize Austin culture
36. Saxon Pub
37. Horseshoe Lounge
24. Maria's Taco Xpress: Migas taco - one of the top three breakfast tacos in South Austin
25. Matt's El Rancho: Brisket taco - I have been meaning to try Matt's since I landed in Austin 13 years ago. It did not disappoint. What a fun alternative to the standard Mexican fare.
26. Changos: Fish taco - Very nice change of pace on day two.
38. Broken Spoke (THE Austin country dance hall)
After leaving the Broken Spoke, we headed across Ben White and had to pretty much play things by ear. ALL of the taco trailers (and a good number of the restaurants) I had planned to visit were closed. So we took advantage of the fact that this area of town has become the new Little Mexico - ever since, as Eric pointed out, everyone got priced out of 78704.
But before we found our first taco, we found the best Austin art of the challenge. You have to see this place to believe it. It is in the backyard of a nondescript cottage.
39. Cathedral of Junk:
27. Casa Maria: Carne Guisada - the gravy was a little pale for my taste, but it was the best , think tortilla I had on the whole challenge
28. Meat Market Taqueria: Lengua - My first experience with Tongue and it was fantastic. I also appreciated that I did not have the option of speaking English and I go the taco at a cafeteria in a supermarket. The culture shift was sudden and excellent.
29. Taqueria Vallarta Jalisco: Avocado - needed a break from the meat, but there were many choice alternatives on the menu. Again no English. I will be back...
At this point, we were as far south as we ever got. Having run out of the planned taco trailers, we headed North east. I stopped into one corner mini-market that advertised a taqueria. Once inside, I realized that it doubled as an insurance sales, convenience store, butcher, and a taqueria. The smell was powerfully disgusting. The vats of taco filling looked like they had been sitting there for days. Suddenly, my minimal remaining appetite was gone. The sun was also starting to set and Eric and I had not come prepared for an urban night ride. So we took the most direct route home.
But once again, Eric inspired me and wouldn't let me pass by two of the taco places right along East Riverside.
30. Taqueria El Regio: Tripa - My first tripe taco and it was fantastic
31. Janitizio: Carne Asada - The best Carne Asada I have had in Austin.
The rest of the ride home was a blur of exhaustion and belly distension. I have rarely been so happy to roll up my driveway. The beer and hot tub have never been so good.