“You are going to LOVE living in this neighborhood.” Slightly biased coming from the listing agent for our apartment, as he’s handing over the keys on that very first move-in evening. But then he continued, “I live a few blocks away and there is this GREAT taco place right around the corner.” Tacos? Hmmmm…now you’re talking.
And it turned out the listing agent was right – the tacos at El Chilito on Manor Road taste great with a great price. This one room shop, staffed by an “only in Austin” combo of Latino chefs and hipster cashiers, reminds me of a 1950s ice cream shop – walk-up ordering and pick-up windows, umbrella’d outside seating, and a section of covered patio seating for Austin’s “winter.” Each foil-wrapped taco is small enough to fit in one hand, so that the other hand can hold a glass-bottled Mexican Coke (no corn syrup – yay!). But two tacos later, both JP and I are usually full – and at under $3 each, that’s one cheap meal!
I can’t eat red meat, so I tend to stick with their Tinga de Pollo or Pollo Asado tacos…with guacamole (but of course!). Their chicken is so well-spiced that even my carnivorous JP usually has one chicken and one red meat taco, like their Carne Guisada taco. My all-time favorite is the shrimp taco that makes it occasionally on their list of daily specials. Being originally from the Seattle area, I tend to be a seafood snob and, let’s face it, seafood does not grow in Austin. But these shrimp tacos are the perfect blend of Seattle-quality seafood with Texas-Mexican flavor.
If we’re really hungry, we’ll also take home some of their freshly made chips and queso. It has a little bit of a spicy kick, but with chunks of fresh peppers and onions in the dip – I know that kick comes honestly. And lucky us, we’re within walking distance of this Austin gem.