Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The 'New' State of Chilaquiles in Austin, Texas.

100 plates of chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
(FGHD editor's note: Updated March 2016 for the new AFBA City Guide. Now with 100 plates of chilaquiles!)

As a lot of you know, we've been on a epic, epicurean quest – a grand gustatory gamble with breaking the fast deep in the heart of Texas.

We've been scouring Austin for the very best chilaquiles it has to offer. We've torn apart the town, top to bottom, for more than two years sampling both highbrow and humble versions of this traditional Mexican dish. 

There are no shortage of restaurants offering up their take on what shouldn't really be more than crisp fresh-fried tortilla chips (totopos) simmered with a red or green sauce until just slightly softened, crowned with a pair of properly-cooked eggs. With such a simple preparation, you'd think it would be difficult to screw up this classic.

We weren't looking for haute cuisine a la Mexicana, we just wanted an honest, reliable, simple Sunday morning comfort-food breakfast at a joint where everyone might eventually know us (and our broken Spanish).

There were standouts, certainly, but just as often there were store-bought chips, soggy and swimming in sub-par sauces, eggs that were under-cooked, over-cooked or not even offered as an option. There were some surprises, and there were some disappointments. 

There were also some stunningly brilliant breakfasts. 

If a restaurant presented only one sauce option for chilaquiles, Julie and I would typically order the same dish. If a restaurant had both verdes (green) and rojos (red), we'd order one of each. The majority of the time, we'd order eggs over-easy. If we knew the eggs were going to be happy eggs (see $9 chilaquiles), I'd go for sunny-side-up. Beans, potatoes and accoutrements (if available) were taken into consideration, as was the coffee or aguas frescas. The overall experience was key, but really, it all came down to the chilaquiles. 

After eating 100 different plates of chilaquiles, we've done our due diligence, and now, we humbly present to you ten establishments that Julie and I both agreed have the finest chilaquiles in Austin. These are our favorites, the places we return to time and time again. 

These chilaquiles are the best of the best


El Torito  (CLOSED)
El Torito chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Anna Salinas' chilaquiles verdes, served with pinto beans, are right at the top of my list of favorites in Austin. In Italian, the perfect doneness of pasta is "al dente." I don't know if there's a word in Spanish for totopos quickly and gently simmered in sauce until they are at the knife-edge-thin line between completely-crispy and slightly-sodden, but there should be. They need to have just the right tooth. The homemade totopos in El Torito's chilaquiles dance on that razor's edge, every time we visit, and the verdes version is supremely fresh, bright and tangy.

The chilaquiles rojos, served with black beans, have a flavor profile to the salsa that seems to have been in subtle flux the last few visits – alternating between understated and mild, to nicely fiery, to having a little smoky chipotle bite. Regardless, they are still a top-tier red any day of the week. Both red and green versions are given a dusting of white cheese before being crowned by a pair of eggs. Crema is on the side.

The delicious cafe de olla has a bit of piloncillo in it, and the sandia agua fresca (when available) is a morning miracle. (Ryan)

El Michoacano Mexican Restaurant  2701 Hwy 71 E, Del Valle, TX 78617  (512) 389-3244
El Michoacano chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Don’t let the tattered orange building fool you. On the way to the airport, coming back from the airport, even if you’re 100 miles from ATX these are some of the finest chilaquiles in or out of Austin proper. I’m in love with the red my favorite in town which has a guajillo sauce so very deep and rich, with a looooong flavor that just makes me shake my head. The green isn’t tangy or bright, but well-balanced with a little more fire than the rojos. Both are dusted with finely-grated cotija and a scatter of white onion. The thick homemade corn tortillas for totopos have got to be fried in lard, because there’s a meaty flavor profile to the dish that’s far more than the sum of its parts. Delicious beans, perfect eggs, and served with a whole pickled jalapeño. Pro tip order a side of crema. Highly recommended. (Ryan)

La Casita  1519 W Anderson Ln, Austin, TX 78757  (512) 469-0105  www.lacasitatx.com
La Casita chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
There is a fine line between overcooked and undercooked potatoes when it comes to accompaniments. At most places where potatoes are included they'll arrive slightly dry and overcooked, or occasionally slightly undercooked and equally under-seasoned. These are perfectly tender potatoes that don't just hang out on the plate to look pretty, they actually act as a wonderful flavor ballast to the spicy richness of the chilaquiles and over-easy egg. There's something rather divine about these simple potato slices when you drag them through the sour cream and a bit of frijoles. Their rojos version is a little chile-based enchilada sauce-like, but thoroughly satisfying on a chilly Sunday morning. The verdes version is simply dreamy. Bonus points for serving good fresh coffee and offering, should your morning require it, real half-and-half instead of non-dairy creamer. (Julie)

If you were to judge the well-worn strip mall on Anderson Lane that houses La Casita by appearances only, you'd keep driving. The corner unit hides a vibrant decor, a friendly waitstaff and a tiny kitchen putting out perfectly-executed chilaquiles, both rojos y verdes. We visit often. (Ryan)

Curra's Grill  614 E Oltorf St, Austin, TX 78704  (512) 444-0012  www.currasgrill.com
Curra's chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

Curra's (and the now defunct Señor Buddy's) chilaquiles have been some of the best, most consistent breakfast plates we've eaten in the six years we've been in Austin. They are nearly flawless every... single... time. If you are new to chilaquiles, these will provide a high-level baseline for further exploration. (Julie) 

Paco's Tacos  1304 E 51st St, Austin, TX 78723  (512) 323-6206  www.pacosaustin.com
Paco's Tacos chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

I got caught stepping out on Julie with this one. Actually, I didn't really get caught so much as I just felt guilty for sneaking away on a weekday while she was at work and trying Paco's Tacos offering of chilaquiles by myself. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect and figured I'd be taking one for the team. Turns out, the chilaquiles with ranchero sauce were absolutely delicious, and I had to fess up and bring Julie back for breakfast that weekend. (Ryan)

This is one sweet little plate of chilaquiles. The sauce tastes to be a mix of a some kind of rojo and verde – rather along the lines of Señor Buddy's – but it has a spicy personality all its own. The portion is of delightfully-reasonable size with a single egg and no fuss. To make for a particularly well-rounded morning experience, the service is charming and the coffee hits the spot. (Julie)

El Alma Cafe  1025 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704  (512) 609-8923  www.elalmacafe.com
El Alma Cafe chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
This was our third or fourth foray into "fancy" chilaquiles. Fancy chilaquiles are usually the Sunday brunch ones that have the perfectly imperfect squiggle of crema on top, some beautiful avocado, happy eggs from happy chickens, and a nine-to-twelve-dollar price tag. More often than not, fancy chilaquiles are a disappointment. Not so at El Alma. The totopos were handmade, thick, and sauced with a salsa verde so fresh you could taste each individual ingredient playing on your tongue. There was wonderful coffee and the most attentive waitstaff of any of the restaurants we visited. (Ryan)

This is one of the few places we've seen refried black beans, and my compliments to the chef for this singular choice with the tangy fresh verde. I think it works brilliantly together with the richness of the eggs, runny and cooked to perfection. I appreciate, as well, that these aren't chilaquiles re-imagined, they are quite recognizable and straightforward in spite of the change-up of bean variety. Overall, it was a well-balanced, well-seasoned plate proving that lovely and unique does not necessitate abdicating essential chilaquiles-ness. And the coffee..? Oh, my. When we're out for chilaquiles, I'm just happy if I can get black coffee that is palatable and wakes me up. This? This was like waking up to angels singing. More than worth the price of admission. (Julie)

Taqueria La Chapala  4201 S Congress Ave, #4, Austin, TX 78745  (512) 326-9090   www.restaurantchapala.com
Taqueria La Chapala chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Until we walked into this little South Austin taqueria, I was absolutely convinced that I did not and would not like any chilaquiles with melty cheese. A touch of crumbly queso fresco is always a delight, but every other time I've had them with melty cheese, it has been problematic. It's either an excessive gloppy mess that overwhelms the chips and sauce, or the cheese cools at a faster pace and leaves you with rubbery lumps to push around your plate. But, by some wizardry, here it works every time. The green sauce – my favorite – has a bright citrus tang and is mild (not spicy). The red is also mild and distinctly 'ranchero' in flavor, but very fresh tasting. The touch of sour cream is a value-added compliment, as is the fact that you can enjoy the coffee black. For consistently outstanding chilaquiles with melted cheese, these earn high honors. (Julie)

El Naranjo  85 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701  (512) 474-2776  
www.elnaranjo-restaurant.com
El Naranjo chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
This was a giant serving of chilaquiles. No sides, no beans or potatoes, not a chilaquiles plate, per se. The verde sauce was bright and alive, with a really nice heat to it. The alternate guajillo was more mild and subtle, but left a slow, warm feeling on the tongue. I would have liked some beans as a foil to the salsa, but these chilaquiles were leaps and bounds above the norm. Next time we'll request chilaquiles divorciados with a pair of over-easy eggs, a side of beans, and split it. (Ryan)

Taqueria La Escondida #2  10900 Hwy 290, Austin, TX 78737  (512) 288-1450
Taqueria La Escondida #2 chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
When the only thing that differentiates between the names of two restaurants is a numeral, you’d figure you’re safe betting that the menus and preparations of those menus is fairly similar. Not so. After a blasé chilaquiles breakfast at Taqueria La Escondida #3 on Ben White, we were hesitant to try Taqueria La Escondida #2's version out on highway 290. I will admit, that hesitation was a foolhardy mistake. Both red and green chilaquiles at #2 are an entirely different beast, fiery and with formidable tooth. There are perfect potatoes instead of flavorless rice, and the coffee is actually drinkable. We’ve revisited a number of times, just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and their consistency has been spot on.

Tucked into the backside of a gas station, it’s easy to miss La Escondida #2. Don’t. (Ryan)

Kerbey Lane Cafe (various locations)  4301 W William Cannon, Austin, TX 78737  (512) 899-1500  www.kerbeylanecafe.com
Kerbey Lane Cafe chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
We'd been told several times that Kerbey Lane Cafe served a great plate of chilaquiles, but every (wrong) time we'd visit and ask for them, we were denied. For some reason, they are a seasonal menu item, and we just weren't making it there in the right quarter. We could, of course, have migas but we do not eat migas. I was wary, as I am of any restaurant whose website says they have an "expresso machine," because Kerbey Lane is known for 24-hour-a-day comfort food, a half-dozen varieties of pancakes, and their cowboy queso, not for authentic Mexican breakfast.

When chilaquiles showed up again on Kerbey Lane's menu, we got texts and tweets from friends and fellow chilaquiles fiends telling us it was finally time for a go at breakfast. What we got was a chilaquiles plate with the simple preparation that we love – properly verde-sauced and simmered totopos, topped with a toss of white onion and cilantro, a pair of perfect over-easy eggs and a dollop of crema. No goopy cheese, no snazzy drizzles or garish garnish, just all the right flavors in exactly the right quantities. For an Austin institution and kitchen that pumps out such a wide variety of dishes, it's nice to see that they didn't overthink this one and fancy it up, or turn it into one more bad plate of migas. Kerbey Lane's chilaquiles deserve a spot in their regular breakfast rotation. (Ryan)

The 90 runners-up – in alphabetical order – are as follows:

Aguilera's Mexican Food  7210 Cameron Rd, Austin, TX 78752  (512) 371-8909
Aguilera's Mexican Food chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Aguilera’s Mexican Restaurant serves decent plates of chilaquiles, with the verdes having a nice, bright flavor. The red is lovely, deep and rich, but milder than the green. There’s a crumble of queso fresco on top, and a dollop of sour cream on the side. My huevos were served on the other side of the plate, while Julie’s were right on top of the chilaquiles. Not a big deal. Great beans, average coffee. (Ryan)

Alfredo's Mexican Food  15608 Spring Hill Ln, Pflugerville, TX 78660  (512) 969-5007
Alfredo's Mexican Food chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

Alfredo's does a very good fresh verdes with some heat. The red had a little more depth with chipotle, but was not as spicy. Small, but crisp totopos. The beans and potatoes were nicely-mild, but the sunny-side-up eggs were undercooked. Maybe over-easy next time. (Ryan)

From our location in South Austin, a drive up to Pflugerville for breakfast constitutes something of a commitment. While Alfredo's doesn't break our top ten, we left feeling it was worth the drive for their satisfying offering. (Julie) 

Azul Tequila  4211 S Lamar Blvd, Ste A2, Austin, TX 78704  (512) 416-9667
Azul Tequila chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Solid chilaquiles, worth revisiting since they're close to us. Normally served with chicken, not eggs. We were a little baffled when we asked to substitute over-easy eggs for the chicken, and were charged an additional $3 per plate. A well-balanced breakfast. (Ryan)

I quite enjoyed this dish. Our standard order is always with over-easy eggs, but "eggs instead of chicken" put what we think of as a pretty typical plate into the fancy-drizzle chilaquiles price point ($9+). Give them a try, though, if you're in the South Austin area. (Julie)  

Beto's Mexican Restaurant  3518 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702  (512) 386-5013
Beto's chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Beto’s has a spicy green and a similarly spicy red that seemed to have a bit of verdes in it. Nice totopos with melty cheese, but not stringy melty cheese. Great beans and potatoes, good coffee, excellent service. Definitely recommended. (Ryan)

Casa Arandinas Mexican Bar and Grill  9001 Brodie Lane, Austin, TX 78748  (512) 292-1822
Casa Arandinas chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
This was a decent, well-prepared plate of chilaquiles verdes, but not worth the $11 price tag. If I'm going to spend that much on a plate of fried tortilla scraps in sauce with a couple of eggs, it better be El Naranjo good, and this didn't even come close. (Ryan)

Casa Garcias  1901 W William Cannon Dr, Austin, TX 78745  (512) 441-9504
Casa Garcias chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Offered with either red, green or guajillo sauces, Casa Garcias chilaquiles were rustic and pretty, filling, but only average. On our second visit, it took several requests to get our eggs once the chilaquiles plate had already been delivered sin huevos(Ryan)

I was so hopeful for this place, too, since it's near our South Austin neighborhood. We didn't try the guajillo sauce, but it was the least recommended when we asked. Sadly, there was nothing outstanding about either the green or the red. (Julie)

Casa Maria  4327 S 1st St, Ste 102, Austin, TX 78745  (512) 444-8861  www.casamariarestaurant.net 
Casa Maria chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
There are no chilaquiles on the menu at Casa Maria. You have to ask for them. There’s a bright green verdes with lemony tang, and chicken is the default so if you don’t want meat, order sin pollo. Served with charro beans that are ridiculously-meat-delicious, like a soup with beans, ham, sausage, beef and hot dogs. The chilaquiles rojos are decent. Order green, and definitely get those charro beans. (Ryan)

Changos Taqueria  3023 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705  (512) 480-8226  www.changos.com
Changos Taqueria chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

Changos offers a spicy verde sauce over a large plate of thick and very crispy chips, but it was missing some much-needed sour cream or crema to balance out the strong flavors of the sauce. (Ryan)

This is a potent plate with substantial totopos, which is far better than soggy flacid ones. I liked these and would eat them again – especially if I was looking for a kick of heat – but would definitely suggest sharing the plate and ordering sides of refried beans and sour cream.  (Julie)

Cheko's  1304 W Koenig Ln, Austin, TX 78756  (512) 407-8480  www.gotchekos.com
Cheko's chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
The $6 ranchero-sauced chilaquiles were the only option at Cheko's, and the nicely-simmered totopos remained crispy buried under the eggs. There was a small amount of melty cheese, but not enough to congeal and push around the plate. The potatoes were perfectly-cooked and the table salsa was excellent. Coffee was eh, err, okay. (Ryan)

Cover 3  2700 W Anderson Ln, Ste 202, Austin, TX 78757  (512) 374-1121  www.cover-3.com
Cover 3 chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
The brunch menu describes Cover 3 chilaquiles as “corn tortillas stewed with our roasted tomato salsa, queso blanco, pepper jack, two eggs, sliced avocado and pico, served with refried black beans.” Sounds delicious, right? I ordered eggs sunny-side-up, and they were flawlessly cooked. The totopos, though, had only a passing relationship with the roasted tomato salsa, more of a casual acquaintance than long-term relationship. The pico, with little jalapeño bits, had more heat than the salsa. Well-balanced flavors, for what they were, if you got a good bite with a little of everything. Very generous with the sliced avocado, but the refried black beans seemed to be an afterthought. Excellent coffee. If there’s a next time at Cover 3, I’m ordering the Eggs Wonderful instead. (Ryan) 

Don Dario's  8801 S IH35, Ste D, Austin, TX 78748  (512) 280-1139  www.dondarioscantina.com
Don Dario's chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Offered with red sauce, pico de gallo, "light" egg and massive amounts of cheese, we weren't sure what to expect. The waitress was confused by our request for over-easy eggs and wasn't sure they could substitute the scrambled eggs that were mixed in with the sauced totopos, so we kind of gave up and just ordered as-is. Don Dario's chilaquiles are more akin to one of the nine varieties of migas they offer than anything we'd return for. (Ryan)

What Ryan said. (Julie) 

Don Juan  2506 E Ben White Blvd., Austin, TX 78741  (512) 326-2225
Don Juan chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
The chilaquiles at Don Juan were a serviceable, filling breakfast, but I have a feeling most people go for the morning breakfast taco deals and the drive-thru. The coffee was no bueno, but the table service was as good as it gets. Super friendly. (Ryan)

Don Mario Mexican Restaurant  1700 Ranch Rd 620 N, Ste 110, Lakeway, TX 78734  (512) 266-3319  www.donmariolakeway.com
Don Mario chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
If Don Mario Mexican Restaurant were a little closer than Lakeway, we would visit more often. The chilaquiles verdes are a nice, spicy rendition, served with proper refritos, nicely-cooked eggs and potatoes. The coffee is fair-to-middlin', and the service is good. Recommended. (Ryan)

Dos Amigos  3713 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705  (512) 762-3081
Dos Amigos chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
An unassuming green food truck in the Good Luck Food Mart lot serves a nice chilaquiles rojos with totopos that are obviously fried in truck. There were a few red corn tortillas in the mix, scraps that held onto the tasty salsa roja. Eggs were nicely cooked, beans very well seasoned and nice potatoes, especially with a little bit of their green salsa. A steal at $4.99. (Ryan) 

El Arroyo (Downtown)  1624 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78703  (512) 474-1222  www.elarroyo.com 
El Arroyo chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Better than their Far West location, but it's an entirely different plate than up north. While a passable breakfast, the service at The Ditch South is just as tepid (Ryan)

El Arroyo (Far West)  7032 Wood Hollow Dr, Austin, TX 78731  (512) 345-8226  www.elarroyo.com
El Arroyo (Far West) chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

Occasionally we come across a plate where the sauce is thin to the point that either the chips get soggy or it just feels like you're eating a plate of flavored tortilla chips. The sauce should be substantial enough to be seen and experienced independently, to some degree, and as the chips soften there should remain fried tortillas with a bit of crunch to them. The sauce here had a good flavor, but it lacked substance and the plate was poorly executed, especially for the price. (Julie)

Long, thin tortilla strips (similar to Maudie's) simmered in a thin, tangy salsa. The eggs were overcooked, the dish was overpriced and the waitstaff was inattentive. (Ryan)

El Borrego de Oro  3900 S Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78704  (512) 383-0031
El Borrego de Oro chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
I don't know how we slept on this one as long as we did. It's South Austin, it's authentic, it's a little divey but not too divey, and the chilaquiles are wonderful. The deep, rich red and vibrant green sauces are innocuous enough at first, but there's a slow, building heat that creeps up into your sinuses and back down your throat, reminding you that this is not migas and Mexican martinis. The cheese is melty, not crumbly, but it's not heavy-handed enough to make for a stringy mess from plate to mouth. There's just enough porkiness to the beans, and the crema and onion sidekicks do exactly what they're supposed to do – add complimentary texture and flavor to a great plate of chilaquiles. We will be back. (Ryan)

El Chile  1809 Manor Road, Austin, TX 78722  (512) 457-9900  www.elchilecafe.com
El Chile chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Strangely sweet sauces for both the ranchero and green options. It was by all other measures a perfectly-presented plate – over-easy eggs and all – it just wasn't singing our song. (Julie)

El Faro  1779 Wells Branch Pkwy, Ste 108, Austin, TX 78728  (512) 252-3430  www.elfaroaustin.com
El Faro chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

The chilaquiles verdes at El Faro was highly tomatillo-based, tangy, but with very little heat at all. The red version was enchilada-sauce-style, and also very mild. The totopos were perfect, as were the eggs, but everything was drowned in a little too much goopy cheese, crema, onion and cilantro. The owners were incredibly nice, gracious and helpful. (Ryan)

I really had high high hopes for this sweet little place filled with a plethora of lighthouse art and decor. They seem to have a popular buffet thing going on, but the chilaquiles were just a little too much of a good thing. I think this is the first one we've seen served with seasoned rice, and the refried beans were heavily seasoned with cumin. If felt a more like dinner than breakfast. (Julie) 

El Nuevo Mexico  911 W Anderson Ln, Ste 120, Austin, TX 78757  (512) 458-5454  www.elnuevorestaurant.com
El Nuevo Mexico chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
The only thing I recall about El Nuevo Mexico's chilaquiles plate is that it was a cold, winter morning and the beans were very porky. Which means the chilaquiles were forgettable. (Ryan)

El Rincon  200 E Pecan St, Pflugerville, TX 78660  (512) 990-0250
El Rincon chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
El Rincon puts out a good, middle-of-the-road chilaquiles plate with nicely-cooked eggs. The red was deeply-flavored and rich like Las Cazuelas and the green was fresh and piquant. The beans were delicious. (Ryan)

The green sauce here had a more definable tomatillo character than most, and was quite good. For some reason the dish got soggy quickly. Real sour cream is available, but is brought to the table in small tubular squeezy packets. (Julie)

El Rey  3306 Oak Springs Dr, Austin, TX 78721  (512) 524-4179
El Rey chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
El Rey had a very bright green chilaquiles, and a mild Las Palmas-flavored enchilada sauce red. I thought the green sauce and beans were great, but Julie thought them over-salted. Strong coffee. Great table salsas, both red and doña. (Ryan) 

El Secreto de la Abuela  817 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78702  (512) 389-2227
El Secreto de la Abuela chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Spicy green with melty cheese and a nicely-cooked egg. Red was enchilada sauce style, with just a tiny bit of sweetness. Good sauces overall, but the totopos were a wee bit soft. Nice beans. Coffee sucks. (Ryan)

El Sol y La Luna  600 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701  (512) 444-7770  www.elsolylalunaaustin.com
El Sol y La Luna chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
El Sol y La Luna serves breakfast all day, and their verdes was very fresh and piquant. There was a little too much melty cheese for my taste, but the overall dish had a perfect portion size with nice ratio of sauce to chips. The table salsa reminded me of Eugene, Oregon's Emerald Valley Salsa, which I wasn't expecting. (Ryan)

If chilaquiles are what you must have for breakfast, these will serve you well. But the perfect simplicity of their Plantain Breakfast with over easy-eggs are such a treat that temptation wins for even this die-hard chilaquiles-lover. (Julie)

El Taquito  1713 E Riverside Dr, Austin, TX 78741  (512) 851-8226  www.eltaquito.com
El Taquito chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Tiny square totopos, tiny square potatoes, and whole corn tortillas underneath the eggs. I wasn't quite sure what to make of El Taquito's plate, but the chilaquiles rojos were full of flavor, while the green needed a little supplement of heat from the impressively well-appointed salsa bar. Both beans and potatoes were forgettable. (Ryan)

Light and bright with a big open kitchen and large TV screens in the dining area, I got the feeling that while offering a nice variety of breakfast fare this place was generally more focused on the late-night life. (Julie)

Garrido's  (CLOSED)
Garrido's chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
I like fruit, but this plate could neither be judged on the fruit or the optional bacon. Unfortunately, this one was lacking balance in the chilaquiles department. The ratio of totopos to sauce was way off, as if they were just dressed with a little bit of sauce instead of given a quick simmer. (Julie)

The bacon was the best thing about these almost-flavorless chilaquiles. Sorry, Garrido's. (Ryan)

Gloria's Latin Cuisine  300 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701  (512) 236-1795  www.gloriascuisine.com
Gloria's Latin Cuisine chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Brunch! Square plates! Cloth napkins! Gloria’s describes their chilaquiles as “a traditional Mexican dish consisting of fried tortillas bathed in tomatillo sauce mixed with scrambled eggs and topped with cheese. Served with pinto beans and guacamole salad.” What amounted to about a half cup of totopos sauced with a nearly-flavorless verdes made this offensive for the $14 price tag. I asked to sub over-easy eggs for the scramble, and the eggs were cooked nicely. Overall, a disappointing plate. (Ryan)

The Goodnight  2700 W Anderson Ln, Austin, TX 78757  (512) 459-5000  www.thegoodnightaustin.com
The Goodnight chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Online brunch menu touts The Goodnight's chilaquiles as "Crispy corn tortillas, creamy tomatillo sauce, sour cream, pico de gallo, two eggs." Twelve bucks. Sure, we'll bite. The actual menu, in restaurant, describes The Goodnight's chilaquiles as "Crispy corn tortillas with chicken, guajillo sauce, sour cream, scrambled eggs, black bean and corn pico de gallo." We asked for our eggs over-easy, Julie's plate sin carne, and got a very pretty stack of nicely-crisp chips with a rich, mean-looking guajillo sauce. But the flavor was lacking, with no heat or bite to the salsa. The black bean and corn pico was just straight teeny-tiny minced pico, the eggs were on the side, and everything around the outside of the plate was cold. The only hot spot was in the middle of the stack, and that was only on my dish with chicken.

To their credit (and ours), we received $5 off for the plate without chicken. (Ryan) 
 


Guero's Taco Bar  1412 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704  (512) 447-7688  www.guerostacobar.com
A very saucy, tasty green with a slightly weird application of sour cream. A decent rendition, but not enough to keep us coming back for more.  (Ryan)

Guero's does a lot of things right, and these are chilaquiles, but not destination chilaquiles. (Julie)

Hecho En Mexico   6001 W William Cannon Dr, Austin, TX 78749  (512) 301-0060  www.hechoenmexico-restaurant.com
Hecho En Mexico chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Perfectly-cooked eggs, but fussing up what looked and tasted like "out of the bag" tortilla chips was simply unforgivable at this snazzy-drizzle price point. (Julie)

I really wanted to like these chilaquiles, but they were a little too precious, a little too fancified, and that unfortunately didn't add up to a delicious dish that tasted like it was "made in Mexico." Attentive service and good coffee. (Ryan)

Jalapeño's Taco Bar  1940 W William Cannon Dr, Austin, TX 78745  (512) 645-0133
Jalapeño's Taco Bar chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Very good red and green chilaquiles in our zip code that we would visit again. Well-seasoned and nicely-flavored overall. Eggs are extra, but we weren’t charged on this visit. Decent coffee.  (Ryan)

Jalisco Mexican Restaurant and Bar  6601 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78745  (512) 448-9111
Jalisco Mexican Restaurant and Bar chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

Excellent red, with a combination of chiles simmered with jalapeño, onion and tomato – a richer, deeper ranchero than we normally get. The green was similar, simmered long with lots of veg, much like a tomatillo ranchero. Nicely-cooked eggs, but the beans were so creamy they tasted like peanut butter. (Ryan)

Janitzio  (CLOSED)
Janitzio chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Janitzio was a last-minute dark horse, and although they had horrible coffee, they put together a chilaquiles verdes plate that was near-perfect. The nicely-simmered chips and fiery green salsa, the rich refritos and tender potatoes, the tablespoon of diced white onion and dollop of sour cream fit together flawlessly. If one element had been missing or just average, I don't think Janitzio would have made the cut for me. But it did, and I'll eat those chilaquiles again and again. I just won't drink the coffee. (Ryan)

Jardin Corona  13233 Pond Springs Rd, Ste 301, Austin, TX 78729  (512) 250-1061  www.jardincoronarestaurant.com
Jardin Corona chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
The chilaquiles at Jardin Corona are described as having a "special" sauce that was a combination of red and green we've seen before, with more heat than actual flavor. Tasty, but very one-note. Nicely-cooked eggs, the beans had great flavor, but the potatoes were forgettable. (Ryan)

Javi's Best of Tex Mex  7709 E Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 78744  (512) 386-8329  www.javistexmex.com
Javi's Best of Tex Mex chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

Javi’s is next to a Starbucks on the way to the airport, in a sterile, strip mall setting that would keep you driving right by if you were looking for great chilaquiles. Of all the chilaquiles east of IH35 on Ben White, and there are a few, these are destination chilaquiles, well worth the drive from our zip code. I just might miss a flight for these. The green was spicy up front, with an assertive bite, but it was the chilaquiles rojos that had us swooning. A creamy, chipotle-laced red with a heat that didn’t hit you until you were about to take the next bite was one of the best, most interesting reds we’ve had. Thinly-cut totopos retained a nice tooth all the way to the finish. Served with sour cream and raw white onions. Good, strong coffee. (Ryan) 

Jefes Mexican Restaurant  6300 N Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78752  (512) 459-0034  www.jefesmex.com
Jefes Mexican Restaurant chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Jefes is closed on Sundays, so it took us a while to make our way up north to try out their breakfast. Looking at the menu, there are no chilaquiles to be found, but I'd heard someone describe the dish as being served with lettuce on top, so I knew I probably just had to ask. Sure enough, the proprietor nodded and brought us a pair of chilaquiles verdes plates that were well worth the drive. The green sauce was tangy and fresh – with a faint hint of sweet that tasted like lemon – and paired well with thick totopos crisp on the outside and chewy toward the centers. The lettuce, which I'd never seen before on chilaquiles, added a nice texture and cool foil to the bright, hot-sauced chips. Excellent beans and potatoes, and everything in the well-appointed salsa bar was fresh and well-made. These are now one of my favorite "north-end" chilaquiles. (Ryan)

La Catedral del Marisco #2  2711 E Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78702  (512) 476-7878
La Catedral del Marisco #2 chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Excellent green, fresh with queso fresco and a single egg. Perfect potatoes, just lightly crispy and creamy interior. Good beans, coffee was just okay. The chilaquiles rojos were deeply rich and tasted like pasilla peppers? Enchilada sauce-style with a bay leaf hidden under my totopos. (Ryan) 

La Catrina  (CLOSED) 
La Catrina chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
If La Catrina were closer to us, I'd eat their chilaquiles all the time. Pflugerville's a bit of a drive, but this was worth it. The verdes was well-sauced with a spicy, bright salsa that was obviously very fresh. The totopos stayed crisp throughout, despite mas sauciness. Excellent beans and potatoes. (Ryan)

I wasn't quite as impressed as Ryan, but I suspect that was due in large part to my utter distraction with the unusual combination of new age music and Dia de los Muertos decor we encountered on our visit. I do clearly remember the table sauces being very delicious. We'll be back. (Julie)

La Cocina de Consuelo  4516 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756  (512) 524-4740  www.consueloskitchen.com
La Cocina de Consuelo chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
This popular, crowded spot on Burnet is well worth the wait in line on a Sunday morning. The chilaquiles were nicely-portioned with a perfectly-cooked egg. Overall, a bit bland compared to some of our favorites, but probably a very good example of comida typica. Recommended. (Ryan)

Las Cazuelas  1701 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702  (512) 479-7911
Las Cazuelas chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Generous portions for your food dollar and certainly tasty, though with its rich sauce it can be a bit of a palate-overwhelming plate. The potatoes are a little underdone for my preference. The complementary chips and salsa will spoil you, though. (Julie) 

The first time we visited Las Cazuelas I was stunned that we could get two orders of chilaquiles and a pair of coffees for less than 10 bucks. I felt like we were ripping them off. The portion size is a little smaller than the gigantic platter it used to be, but the price hasn't changed. It's not the best chilaquiles in town, but at $3.95*, it's still a steal. (Ryan) *Price is no longer $3.95, it is now $5.99

La Familia  3601 W William Cannon Dr, Ste 900, Austin, TX 78745  (512) 892-1311
La Familia chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
The chilaquiles with ranchero sauce at La Familia were mild, with giant chunks of tomato, garlic and onion. The verde version was solid. Both were topped with cheddar and jack cheese. This is a decent plate of chilaquiles in our zip code. (Ryan)

La Fruta Feliz  3124 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78723  (512) 473-0037
La Fruta Feliz chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
I remember exactly how I was feeling the first morning we stopped in at La Fruta Feliz. I was supremely hungover, but hopeful. I'd heard great things about the chivo, but was more excited for the chilaquiles. This was one of those cases though, as we were the only gringos in the joint, the cook decided to have a little fun at what he thought might be our expense. Slipping some habanero into the verde sauce burned every last cobweb out of my cluttered cabeza, which was exactly what I needed. When the cashier took my money at the register, he queried "Were they hot enough for you?" The cook to his left was grinning wide as the Rio Grande. I narrowed my eyes a bit and gave him half a smile. "It was perfecto." Subsequent orders of chilaquiles have still been delicious, but apparently sin habanero and not nearly as spicy as that first glorious visit. (Ryan)

Always unfussy, these chilaquiles – red or green – are terrific (though green is our go-to). Delightful, too, that the service here includes a bowl of chopped onions and fresh cilantro in addition to their hot sauce offerings. I'm not suggesting you should mess with a good thing, but having options here is cool. If coffee is not your cup of tea, this is the place to order an agua fresca. They have a wide selection – the sandia (watermelon) and fresa (strawberry) are particular favorites of ours. (Julie)

La Michoacana Meat Market  1917 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702  (512) 473-8487
La Michoacana Meat Market chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
If you ever thought about learning a little Spanish, the most important words and phrases to know are related directly to the ordering of breakfast. Trust me. La Michoacana Meat Markets are scattered throughout Austin, and you can get a mean plate of chilaquiles for next to nothing. (Ryan)

These are some beautiful chilaquiles, but I think I was focused on an even prettier plate of sopes de desayuno that day. (Julie)

La Placita  5310 S Pleasant Valley, Austin, TX 78744  (512) 628-0277
La Placita chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
The totopos were emasculated by the sauce and covered in congealed cheese, but the beans were rich and porky and the eggs were nicely-fried. (Ryan)

Under certain circumstances, I can appreciate a slightly porky flavor in refritos. These were a bit much for me, personally. Don't get me started again about the goopy cheese. (Julie)

La Tapatia  13450 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78750  (512) 219-5000
La Tapatia chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
We’ve never had a plate of chilaquiles like this, $5 or no. The red and green sauces were both excellent, but the totopos were just cut raw tortillas mixed with the salsa. Not fried, with no tooth at all. Too bad, because everything else was really good. (Ryan) 

Licha's Cantina  1306 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702  (512) 480-5960  www.lichascantina.com
Licha's Cantina chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Licha’s Sunday brunch offers casserole-style chilaquiles verdes with verdes-soaked store-bought chips (El Milagro?) and a pair of eggs for $13. The sauce is herbal and flavorful, but not worth the price of admission. Roasted potatoes with guajillo aioli, refried black beans, plantains as sides are $4 each. (Ryan)

Los Chilaquiles  200 S Bell Blvd, Cedar Park, TX 78613  (512) 344-9389
Los Chilaquiles chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
If you name your restaurant Los Chilaquiles and your website says "No one makes chilaquiles like we do," you'd better do los chilaquiles very, very well. The dish is available with any sauce on their menu, and we tried out a tangy verdes, along with a really flavorful and nicely-spicy habanero that had both of our noses running. Served with mild beans and a little bolillo roll for sopping up any remaining sauce. If you're in the neighborhood, Los Chilaquiles is the place to go. (Ryan)

Los Huaraches  1628 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702  (512) 524-1490
Los Huaraches chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Los Huaraches has the distinction of serving us one of the best ranchero sauces we've eaten to date. Overall, a very good plate of chilaquiles, with soft potatoes in a similar sauce, well-executed eggs and lovely beans. The staff is super nice. (Ryan)

Los Jasmines Mexican Restaurant  2463 Hwy 71 E, Austin, TX 78617  (512) 389-2810
Los Jasmines Mexican Restaurant chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

The red was described as a ranchero on the menu, but was a rich, enchilada-sauce style. Excellent totopos, but they could have used a little more sauce. The green was mild, tasty, but also not enough sauce. Over-easy eggs were perfectly cooked, and the plate was dressed well with raw onion and crema. Good beans, good potatoes, excellent fresh red table salsa. (Ryan)

Los Jasmines Mexican Restaurant #2  6801 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78752  (512) 520-5832
Los Jasmines Mexican Restaurant #2 chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Formerly Juanita's, Los Jasmines #2 puts out an identical plate of chilaquiles as Jasmines #1 over on Hwy 71. Delicious, delicious twins. (Ryan)

Los Pinos  4919 Hudson Bend, Austin, TX 78734  (512) 266-3231
Los Pinos chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Quite a drive for us, but the verde sauce was bright and ridiculously good. If Los Pinos were closer to the 78745, we'd visit far more often. (Ryan)

Maudie's Hacienda  9911 Brodie Ln, Austin, TX 78748  (512) 280-8700
Maudie's Hacienda chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
An overly-salty, cheesy, runny-sauced debacle. One visit was one too many. (Ryan)

Since they only offer one variety of chilaquiles, I ordered something else this particular day. Thank goodness. (Julie)

Maria's Taco Xpress  2529 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704  (512) 444-0261  www.tacoxpress.com
Maria's Taco Xpress chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Sundays at Maria's are packed, with the weekly Gospel Brunch (aka Hippie Church) playing out to the masses eating their queso and Rachael Ray's "Favorite" Miga Taco. Both red and green chilaquiles were good, but not exceptional. The guacamole is a great rico touch that you don't see on most $6.99 chilaquiles plates, and the single egg was nicely-cooked. (Ryan)

Mariscos Los Jarochos  9200 N Lamar, Ste 100, Austin, TX 78753  (512) 339-3022
Mariscos Los Jarochos chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Lemony, almost sweet verdes, and a very mild, light orange rojos. Big pieces of onion in both sauces, and very nice totopos, but neither of these plates was really doing it for us. $10 plates with eggs. The coffee was decent and the table salsa was superb. I also had a very nice octopus ceviche tostada. (Ryan)

Mary's Tacos  220 E Anderson Ln, Austin, TX 78752  (512) 243-6379
Mary's Tacos chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Boring. Sloppy. Nothing else notable about these chilaquiles. On to the next… (Ryan)

Mi Cabana  4118 S IH35, Austin, TX 78745  (512) 792-9300
Mi Cabana chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

The menu described chilaquiles al gusto! so I had high hopes for this Mexican joint in a former IHOP. Then I learned that al gusto means to taste, not with great gusto! The entire interaction was in Spanish, so it helps to know enough Español to order breakfast. If you don’t, pointing at menu items works. The verdes was thick, spicy and had a good hit of cilantro with a smattering of melty cheese. Two eggs, one slightly overcooked and one just slightly under. Good beans and potatoes, but the totopos were quartered corn tortillas, which made them unwieldy on the fork and they didn’t hold up well to the sturdy sauce. The red was an acceptable ranchero with large chunks of peppers and onions. Decent coffee. (Ryan)

Mi Ranchito  1105 Farm to Market 1626, Manchaca, TX 78652  (512) 292-8107
Mi Ranchito chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
This little Mexican joint where Manchaca Road dead ends at FM1626 is an out-of-the-way, hole-in-the-wall kind of place you want to become a regular at. Everything was fresh and hot, but the chilaquiles were soggy and tasted like straight-up enchilada sauce. (Ryan)

The totopos here were super thin and just couldn't stand up to the sauce treatment. The plate looks so honestly composed, I keep thinking that with a few tweaks they have so much potential... (Julie)

Mr. Natural  2414-A S Lamar, Austin, TX 78704  (512) 916-9223
Mr. Natural chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Mr. Natural offers a decent plate of chilaquiles, but the consistency varies depending on the restaurant location and who's preparing your food that day. The first time we visited was fantastic. Every other time was hit or miss, with completely different preparation and plating. (Ryan)

You might be gambling a bit with the chilaquiles, but for a heavenly head-clearing agua fresca you can do no better than their pineapple-spinach. (Julie)

Ñoños Tacos  102 W Powell Ln, Austin, TX 78753  (512) 550-8984
Ñoños Tacos chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
While set up for to-go orders, there’s a little bar to sit at and eat your styrofoam container of chilaquiles rojos. The totopos were freshly-fried, though a little steamed from being closed up in the take out container. Nice red sauce, good beans. (Ryan)

Polvo's  2004 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704  (512) 441-5446
Polvo's chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

We visited Polvo's for breakfast after hearing some good things, but were a little put off by their chilaquiles. Everything on the plate was swimming in an unappealing light brownish-red liquid. The only thing on the plate that had any tooth to it was the black beans.  (Ryan)

Ramos Tex-Mex Restaurant #3  14611 N Mopac Expy, Ste 103, Austin, TX 78728  (512) 246-0727
Ramos Tex-Mex Restaurant chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Ramos Tex-Mex Restaurant serves breakfast all day, from 7 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday, 8 am to 9 pm Saturday, and 8 am to 3 pm on Sunday. There was no menu hint of a sauce preference, but the server said “I think they’re… green?” The verdes turned out to be very nice, with excellent totopos that stayed just crisp enough and just soft enough throughout the entire plate. Nicely-cooked eggs and delicious beans. The potatoes could have used a little crisp, though they were nicely-seasoned. Bonus points for a fantastic bean and cheese taco on homemade flour tortilla. Respect. (Ryan)

Russell's Bistro  1601 W 38th St, Austin, TX 78702  (512) 467-7877  www.russellsbistro.com
Russell's Bistro chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Store-bought chips topped with what was described as chicken enchilada sauce that was thick, as though a can of condensed cream of chicken soup was blended with a can of Ro*Tel. Green chiles, a snazzy drizzle of crema, a few slices of avocado and a ring of three over-easy eggs on top, resulted in a dish more like nachoquiles than chilaquiles. As an overall plate, if you got a perfect bite, it was a nice King Ranch chicken casserole, just not the chilaquiles we normally look for. Excellent coffee, excellent service. Julie had a great eggs benedict. Walk down the block to Kerbey Lane for a better chilaquiles plate.  (Ryan)

Salt and Time  1912 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702  (512)524-1383  www.saltandtime.com
Salt and Time chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Austin’s premiere salumeria and meat market brings exceptional quality and farmer-friendly food to challenge, entertain and ultimately expand your palate. Their brunch menu is ever-changing, and they don’t always offer chilaquiles. When they do, you will be treated to a thick, deep and rich, chile pequin-spiced rojo that leaves a lingering heat on the tongue. The totopos are thick and properly fried in suet, giving the dish a meatiness that is hard to initially place. The eggs are beautifully cooked, and the plate is finished with creme freche and thin slices of black radish. The potatoes are well-seasoned. Beware the black blood of the gods, though. Salt and Time’s “hot coffee” option, at least on our visit, was cold-brewed coffee muddled with warm water, resulting in a tepid, tea-like beverage that was neither hot, nor coffee. (Ryan)
 
 San Juanita Tacos  4406 S Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78745  (512) 443-9308  www.sanjuanitastacos.com
San Juanita Tacos chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
San Juanita offered up a spicy verde with thick totopos and very nice beans. A solid and serviceable chilaquiles plate that I would eat again. (Ryan) 

Santa Catarina  1310 Ranch Road 620 S, Lakeway, TX 78734  (512) 300-0946  www.santacatarinarestaurant.com
Santa Catarina chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
The chilaquiles at Santa Catarina are a thick, heavy (almost too heavy) version with a very spicy paste-like verde sauce. Good totopos, perfectly-cooked eggs. The drizzle of crema and addition of some finely-chopped onion helped cut through the rich sauce. Good coffee, and a really pretty fruit plate. (Ryan) 

Sazón  1816 S Lamar, Austin, TX 78704  (512) 326-4395  www.sazonaustin.com
Sazon chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Solid chilaquiles with the option for your choice of any menu sauces – including mole. Nicely done. (Ryan)

Señor Buddy's (CLOSED)
Señor Buddy's chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Who knew we'd find the holy grail of chilaquiles in the back of a gas station off Highway 290? This Curra's Grill (see also below) outpost was one of the first stops on this crazy quest, and they set the bar high with an impossibly-fresh plate – made before your very ojos and handed to you across the counter of the open kitchen moments after the onion and cilantro garnish hit the hot huevos. The sauce is a delicious mixture of verde and chipotle, the tortillas are cut and fried the instant you place your order, and the beans are a minor morning miracle with just a dusting of queso fresco. (Ryan)



Notice that there are no potatoes? And the absence of sour cream? You know you've got a winner when they're so good you don't even miss those little extras. Perfect every single time. (Julie)


Serrano's Tex Mex (Mopac)  5030 Hwy 290 W, Austin, TX 78735  (512) 891-7592  www.serranos.com
Serrano's chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Breakfast is served daily, but you’ll have to hit Serrano’s on a Saturday or Sunday between 9 am and 2 pm for “Weekend” breakfast, which includes chilaquiles on an expanded menu. You’ll get migas chips, the same fire-roasted green chile sauce used for enchiladas, and more dry chicken than softened chips. No cilantro or red onions as advertised. Standalone, the sauce was very nice, but the chips received a dressing, not a simmering. Julie ordered hers without chicken, but still received a plate con carne. On the second try, it’s like the kitchen didn’t know what to do with just tortilla strips and sauce. Eggs are an extra buck apiece, making for $11 chilaquiles. Good beans, good potatoes, mild coffee. Very nice service. (Ryan)

Sierra's Mexican Food  100 E Spring St, Georgetown, TX 78626  (512) 863-8644
Sierra's Mexican Food chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Sierra’s is out on the fringes. Our chilaquiles search sometimes takes us north, south, east and west of Austin proper, and this Georgetown breakfast was proper. No red sauce the day we were there, but the verdes was a nice, even-keel sauce with a light herbaceous flavor and slow, back-end heat. Nicely done red and white skin-on potatoes. Great beans, decent enough coffee. (Ryan)

Super Burrito  817 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78703  (512)443-8226  www.ilovesuperburrito.com
Super Burrito chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Disqualified because I'm not sure how these get to be called chilaquiles, but they are pretty tasty. With their store-bought chips, loose refritos and cheddar cheese, I've dubbed these "nachoquiles" – and I totally recommend them. Just don't place your order expecting anything resembling proper chilaquiles. (Julie) 

I was more drawn to/repulsed by the prospect of a giant burrito filled with carne asada, french fries, guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream. I know what I'm getting next time we go to Super Burrito, and it's not the "nachoquiles." (Ryan)

Takoba  1411 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702  (512) 628-4466  www.takobarestaurant.com
Takoba chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
The standard menu offering is rojos. It's a heavy ensemble, spicy red with mas chiles that after a few bites was begging for some sour cream or crema to balance it out. Even making it only part of the way through this plate, I still felt like I needed either a good nap or a long walk afterward. (Julie) 

A pretty, simple preparation with some potatoes and grilled onions on the side, Takoba's chilaquiles are a fiery, feisty fast-breaker with various, visible chunks of chiles in the sauce. Almost a little too hot for us on this particular visit. Worth a revisit. (Ryan)

Tamale House East  1707 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702  (512) 495-9504
Tamale House East chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Tamale House earned themselves a reputation in Austin for delicious, ridiculously cheap breakfast tacos. They are not known the world over for their chilaquiles, and there is a reason for that. (Ryan)

Notable only for the unique addition of styrofoam and floppy french fries. (Julie)

Taqueria Arandas (Stassney)  2038 W Stassney Ln, Austin, TX 78745  (512) 448-4771  www.taqueriasarandas.com
Taqueria Arandas chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Very bright, fresh and tangy green. Red was well-seasoned, but looked a little like their table salsa. This plate had loads of melty cheese, a perfectly-steamed over-easy egg, sour cream and fabulous beans. Coffee was a little weak this particular morning, but overall a very nice plate if you dig the melty cheeses. (Ryan)

Taqueria Chapala #3  6116 W Hwy 290, Austin, TX 78735  (512) 892-3871  www.restaurantchapala.com
Taqueria Chapala chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Chapala’s chilaquiles rojos used the same table salsa, but with large pieces of onion cooked in. Crowned with melty white cheese, the green sauce was punchy, with a big bright cilantro flavor and large chunks of onion. Served with sour cream and nicely-cooked over-easy eggs. Mild beans. (Ryan)

Taquerias Arandinas  700 W William Cannon Dr, Austin, TX 78745  (512) 693-0206
Taquerias Arandinas chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
You have to have a steady hand and a very high tolerance for gloppy cheese to get through a plate of these – red or green. (Julie)

Taqueria Don Chuy  948 Payton Gin Rd, Austin, TX 78758  (512) 719-3990
Taqueria Don Chuy chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Don Chuy served us a thick, chunky verdes that was nice and spicy with melty cheese. Julie had a deep, rich red that had a smoked flavor surprisingly not chipotle with queso fresco. Excellent totopos, nice beans. Potatoes and coffee were fair to middlin’. (Ryan)

Taqueria Guadalajara  9207 N Lamar, Austin, TX 78753  (512) 832-6560
Taqueria Guadalajara chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Both red and green chilaquiles had nice depth and body. The verdes version was spicier, but the red was a nice chile and tomato-based with great flavor. Perfectly-cooked eggs, mild beans. Don’t even bother with the rice. Table salsas were some of the better we’ve had, with a delicious habanero sauce that we couldn’t stop eating. Bonus points for pina agua fresca. (Ryan)

Taqueria La Escondida #3  1333 W Ben White Blvd., Austin, TX 78704  (512) 707-1688
Taqueria La Escondida #3 chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Not all Taqueria La Escondido restaurants are created equal, and the #3 version of chilaquiles pales in comparison to the #2 version out on highway 290 (see top 10 chilaquiles, above). Filling, but forgettable. (Ryan)

Taqueria Los Jaliscienses  1815 W Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 78704  (512) 445-4866
Taqueria Los Jaliscienses chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

Both red and green were sad plates, with goopy cheese and quick-fried eggs. The coffee was no bueno. (Ryan)

Taqueria Los Jaliscienses  6201 US 290, Austin, TX 78723  (512) 452-3332 
Taqueria Los Jaliscienses chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
A little better than their south location off of Ben White, but still not that satisfying a plate – unremarkable, unmemorable. (Ryan)

Tekila's  717 E Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 78704  (512) 442-8500
Tekila's chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

Tekila's had a good chilaquiles ranchero with chunks of onions and peppers. The verdes was bright and fresh, but the eggs had an off taste that stayed with me for hours. A little too much goopy cheese and overly-spiced beans. (Ryan)

I thought the verde sauce was pretty tasty, but the balance of the dish overall didn't win me over enough to recommend it or warrant a return visit. (Julie)

Tex-Mex Joe's  7600 N Lamar, Ste F, Austin, TX 78752  (512) 371-3625  www.tex-mex-joes-n-lamar.com
Tex-Mex Joe's chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
The tomatillo sauce at Tex-Mex Joe's is fresh and vibrant, but a little one-note with no noticeable heat. There are also chilaquiles with guajillo sauce described on the menu, but this sauce was unfortunately not available on our visit. The almost spare-looking plate might have been respectable for the $6.99 price tag, but adding two eggs made it a penny shy of nine bucks. Good coffee and nice service, not so great value. (Ryan)

Tortilleria Krystal 1033 E Howard Ln, Unit C, Austin, TX 78753  (512) 252-7750
Tortilleria Krystal chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Excellent tortillas undermined by too little sauce and too much cheese. Eggs "over easy" did not translate well, and what I received was dry and scrambled within an inch of its life. I now know to order "huevos estrellados tiernes." (Ryan)

Trudy's South Star  901 Little Texas Ln, Austin, TX 78745  (512) 326-9899
Trudy's South Star chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

Probably more well-known for their migas and Mexican martinis than anything else, the chilaquiles were underwhelming. The sauce is described as a spicy, roasted tomato jalapeño version, but was mild and bland to the point of boring. Thickly-cheesy. (Ryan)

Tyson's Tacos  4905 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751  (512) 451-3326
Tyson's Tacos chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
We'd heard great things about Tyson's Tacos, a little stand off Airport Boulevard, and were excited to see chilaquiles on the Sunday brunch menu. While every taco we tried was fresh and flavorful, the chilaquiles looked like someone in the kitchen poured the butt-end of a bag of broken tortilla chips on a plate, unceremoniously dumped all the leftover salsa bowls from previous customers on top of the chip shards and shoved it under a broiler. A sad, disappointing plate. Stick to the tacos and you'll be just fine. (Ryan)

Vallarta Mexican Restaurant  6628 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78745  (512) 462-2515
Vallarta Mexican Restaurant chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
A few doors down from our favorite El Torito, we felt like we were cheating on Anna Salinas when we stopped in for chilaquiles. Both red and green are very good. The red was nuanced, and full of flavor, while the green was exceptionally bright and fresh… almost bracingly so. Queso fresco topped the dish, perfectly-cooked eggs, nice beans and the potatoes were good. Coffee was forgettable. (Ryan)

Vazquez Restaurant  915 E Braker Ln, Austin, TX 78753  (512) 837-2753
Vazquez Restaurant chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling

A nice, traditional rendition of chilaquiles at Vazquez Restaurant with no fuss, no muss, just the basics. The sauce was spicy enough that a little crema would have been a nice foil. (Ryan)

This was another verde-added ranchero-style sauce with a serious kick. I love spicy, but after a point it starts to weigh on you. Excellent beans. (Julie)

Veracruz All Natural #1  1704 E Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78702  (512) 981-1760  www.veracruztacos.com
Veracruz All Natural chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
(Note: Veracruz All Natural is no longer serving chilaquiles or Sunday brunch menu until their brick-and-mortar restaurant opens... sadness, I know, but stay tuned.)

Just when I thought Julie and I had closed the book on chilaquiles in Austin, Reyna Vasquez – owner of Veracruz All Natural – dropped a first-class, stunningly-good breakfast beso on us.

We had already tried a few times to get ahold of these rarified chilaquiles. The first Sunday we stopped by, the trailer was closed for repairs. I called the following week to find that the special brunch menu was served only on the first Sunday of each month – essentially making these the most elusive of all chilaquiles in Austin, offered only 12 times a year.

I had a feeling they were going to be pretty good, but I had no idea just how good. At one point, Julie took a perfectly-proportioned bite and simply started laughing. She had no words, only a giddy roll of the eyes and a slight swoon. My reaction was incredulous silence, stunned disbelief, and an immediate clearing of my calendar for all following first Sundays of the month.

Both rojos y verdes are offered, plated (yes, actual plates out of a trailer) with your choice of charro, black, or refried black beans, and fried plantains. The chilaquiles verdes were as ideal as they get – fresh totopos with perfect tooth under a sauce so natural, bright and right, with just the slightest heat. Under the over-easy eggs were a few slivers of raw white onion and a dusting of hard-grated cheese. The red version was more mild and subtle, a little delicate, but refined and ridicously-satisfying. There were none of the overly-heavy, thickly-spiced, tomato-chile flavors we'd seen on so many plates of chilaquiles rojos before. Refried black beans (flawlessly seasoned) and sweet, crispy-edged, creamy-interior fried plantains finished the plate. 

Texas Coffee Roasters provided the café and the sandia agua fresca was amazing. (Ryan)

Vivo Austin  6406 N IH35, Ste 2343, Austin, TX 78752  (512) 407-8302  www.vivoaustin.com
Vivo Austin chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Vivo’s chilaquiles are verdes only, and that green is a very acidic, limey beast that is herbaceous and almost a little heavy. Much like a Mexican pesto, which would have been best friends with some crema and onion to balance things out. The beans were great, the potatoes were nicely-fried but underseasoned. Homemade corn tortillas were great, and the guajillo table salsa with roasty black flecks in it was stellar. Recommended.  (Ryan)  

Zocalo Cafe  1110 W Lynn St, Austin, TX 78703  (512) 472-8226
Zocalo Cafe chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Ignore the colorful bell pepper and potato ensemble and you've got a pretty tasty, if slightly unconventional, chilaquiles "stack" served over whole black beans. (Julie)

Bonus chilaquiles:

Señor Moose Cafe  5242 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107  (206) 704-5568
Señor Moose Cafe chilaquiles. © Ryan Schierling
Chilaquiles, for us, originated here, at a tidy, tiny little joint in a historically Scandanavian neighborhood in Seattle. They didn't even begin as a Mexican restaurant. It took nine months of the owner missing comida tipica, before Moose Cafe became Señor Moose Cafe, serving cooking straight out of central plateau Mexico's fondas and backroom kitchens. Their chilaquiles are rock solid, and a benchmark that has informed and shaped our opinions of every plate of chilaquiles after. If you're ever in Seattle, stop at the Moose. You will not be disappointed. 


8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Chilaquiles: the final breakfast frontier. These are the voyages of FoieGrasHotDog. Its three-year mission: to explore strange new Mexican restaurants, to seek out new totopos and salsas, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

      Frank, I have to be honest and tell you that in no way am I tired of this dish. I could eat it every morning. Thank you for some great recommendations! One of these days we'll have to meet up for breakfast.

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  2. That would be great-sounds like we're in the same neighborhood! DM via Twitter some weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know it! We'll hit you up soon.

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  3. I'm so impressed with this and am definitely going to keep it handy for reference! I went a few months ago and the chilaquiles I ordered definitely looked like this (though not my photo): https://www.instagram.com/p/u6Cn6vuaKX/ Really tasty, too. So maybe (hopefully) they've improved it since you guys last went?

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    Replies
    1. Oops, meant to say that I went to Tamale House East.

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    2. No more floppy French fries! We'll have to try out Tamale House East again. It looks like they've switched it up... for the better.

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  4. Thank god I found this blog, Chilaquiles have been my go to Texas Breakfast for a while. Definetly going to check a couple of these places out. I'll shoot you a shoutout when I share my adventures on Yobored.

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