Taco Ranch (finally) celebrates grand opening Sunday with free beer

The response to Taco Ranch was so overwhelming that it took the fast-casual taco concept from P. Terry’s a little time to lock down their hours, refine their recipes and throw a grand opening party. But now everything is in place. Taco Ranch will celebrate its Grand Opening Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. with free beer and t-shirts (while supplies last), coupon giveaways and other freebies.
Taco Ranch. (Contributed by Patrick Terry)
Beer? Yep, Taco Ranch is now selling Modela Especial ($3 for 16 ounces) and frozen margaritas ($4 for 12 ounces). They have also solidified their hours. The drive-thru spot near US 290 and MoPac is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.

Watch Aaron Franklin’s meat-ing of the minds with Aggies about barbecue

Texas A&M University considers itself the number one barbecue school in the world, and the university system’s chancellor, John Sharp, visited the number one barbecue restaurant in Texas  the world to talk beef.

Aaron Franklin, John Sharp and Dr. Jeff Savell. (Credit: Texas A&M University)

Sharp sat down with College Station native Aaron Franklin and A&M distinguished professor of animal science, Dr. Jeff Savell, for a discussion about the university’s Camp Brisket and A&M’s impact on the world of barbecue.

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Torchy’s Tacos opening first downtown Austin location

Update: A Torchy’s Tacos rep has confirmed that the company will open its first downtown Austin location at 110 San Antonio St. The rep said there is not a planned opening date at this time.

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Torchy’s Tacos is planning to open its first downtown Austin location, according to a post on Eater Austin. Eater points to the city’s website, which indicates that a project titled Torchy’s – North Shore has applied for permits.  The proposed Torchy’s will be located at 110 San Antonio St. Unit 120, in the Northshore Austin luxury apartment building that is also home to ATX Cocina and Le Politique. We have reached out to a rep from Torchy’s for more information.

Torchy’s, which opened in 2006 as a trailer on South First Street, closed its original location earlier this year after taking on significant investment money in 2017.

Trailer Park taco (fried chicken, green chiles, pico de gallo, lettuce, tomato, cheese), from Torchy’s Tacos. (Tina Phan AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Owners of Mellizoz Tacos truck open Cruzteca Mexican Kitchen in South Austin

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One of the early movers in Austin’s modern food truck movement has made the leap to brick-and-mortar restaurant. Cruzteca Mexican Kitchen is the new venture from Adam Winters and Jessica Galindo Winters, owners of Mellizoz Tacos truck on South First Street.

It doesn’t get much more classic Tex-Mex than the Old School at Mellizoz Tacos — ground beef topped with cheddar cheese stuffed into a fried shell.

The restaurant, located at 5207 Brodie Lane #125 in the old Stuffed Cajun Meat Market space in Sunset Valley, offers an expanded take on the popular food truck’s menu. There is an assortment of tortas (fried avocado, pulled pork and blackened tilapia among them) as well as the tacos from the truck’s menu, like the Slowrider (braised beef), Bowman (roasted chicken) and Old School (one of the best crispy beef tacos in town). The breakfast menu has 9 different tacos (I recommend the Pacheco, eggs and braised beef) and traditional breakfast plates like chilaquiles. Beer and margaritas are also planned. (See the full menu here.)

Mellizoz still operates on South First Street. The taco truck got its start as Izzoz, under the direction of Jessica’s brother, John Galindo.

Cruzteca is open 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

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Ramen Tatsu-Ya introduces special crawfish ramen

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The owners of Ramen Tatsu-Ya have shown they know how to mash up Central Texas and Japan with their Kemuri Tatsu-Ya smokehouse; now they are showing off their mixing skills by twisting Southeast Texas and Japan together with a crawfish ramen.

Crawmen at Ramen Tatsu-Ya. (Credit: Ramen Tatsu-Ya)

The Crawmen features a seafood-tonkotsu broth, crawfish, andouille sausage and crawfish wontons, ajitama, cayenne and smoked paprika. The special will be available at all Ramen Tatsu-Ya locations until the end of crawfish season (May/June).

Aaron Franklin’s burnt ends among expected stars at this week’s Mexico-themed Live Fire

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One of Austin’s best one-day food events of the year takes places on Thursday at Camp Mabry. Live Fire, which benefits the Austin Food and Wine Alliance, will feature more than two local dozen chefs preparing savory and sweet takes on meat and the flavors of Mexico. The highlights of the released menu include burnt ends from Aaron Franklin, smoked barbacoa and beef-fat refried beans from Evan LeRoy of LeRoy & Lewis, brochets from  Gabe Erales of Dai Due Taquería and tostadas de lengua de res from Alma Alcocer-Thomas from El Alma. (See the full roster of chefs and dishes below.)

Aaron Franklin will prepare burnt ends for this week’s Live Fire. (Ralp Barrera AMERICAN-SATESMAN)

The event, which also features live music and a variety of alcohol vendors, runs from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets cost $95 and can be purchased at austinfoodwinealliance.org. VIP tickets ($150) allow for early access and a mezcal and tequila cocktail experience.

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Live Fire menu:

  •       Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue – Cajeta Burnt Ends
  •       Alma Alcocer-Thomas of El Alma Restaurante and Bar – Tostadas de Lengua de Res – Arbol Salsa y Encurtido
  •       Andrew Stiver of Vista Brewing – Barbacoa with Poblanos Mole, Grilled Nopales, Pickled Spring Onion, and Cilantro
  •       Anne Ng and Jeremy Mandrell of Bakery Lorraine – Cookies – Dark Chocolate Mezcal Macarons, Mexican Wedding Cookies, and Mexican Hot Chocolate
  •       Atticus Garant and Jason Purcell of Garrison (Fairmont Austin) – Smoked Beef Shank – Almond Mole, Seasonal Banchan, and Black Bean Arepa
  •       Brent Fogerty of Cold One Pops – Chocolate Mole Fudgesicle
  •       Daniel Brooks of Licha’s Cantina – Tacos de Alambre con Tortilla de Maiz y Huitlacoche
  •       Evan LeRoy of LeRoy & Lewis – Smoked Barbacoa and Beef-Fat Refried Beans
  •       Fermín Núñez and Sam Hellman-Mass of Suerte – Tetela al Carbon Triangle Stuffed Masa, Brisket Refried Beans, and Queso Oaxaca
  •       Gabe Erales of Dai Due Taquería – Brochetas – Mushroom-Adobo Braised Lengua, Chichilo Negro, House-Made Mexican Heirloom Corn Tortillas
  •       Joaquin Cardoso and Sofia Cortina Camargo of Hotel Carlota – Oxtail Tamal, Recado Negro, Beans, Greek Yogurt, and Xni-Pec Habanero Salsa
  •       Katherine Clapner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate – Croquettes, Chocolate, and Crickets
  •       Kevin Taylor of ATX Cocina – Cecina, Chile Adobo, Hoja Santa, Mochomos, and Cebolla
  •       Laura Sawicki of Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon – Chamomile Ice Cream Sundae with Saffron Pineapple, Añejo Tequila Caramel, and Masa Crumble
  •       Louis Ciola of Salt & Time – Cecina Asada Skewers with Salsas
  •       Miguel Vidal and Modesty Vidal of Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ – Mesquite-Smoked Beef Fajita Street Tacos on Handmade Flour Tortillas
  •       Page Pressley of Emmer & Rye – Beef Short Rib Carnitas
  •       Rene Ortiz of Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon – Oaxacan Smoked Beef Ribs with Humita Blanca, Black Bean Mole, and Salsa Macha
  •       Rick Lopez of La Condesa – Tacos de Mollejas with Salsa Tomatillo, Confit Onion, and Charred Cactus
  •       Rico Torres and Diego Galicia of Mixtli – Beef Striploin Pepitos
  •       Susana Trilling and Kaelin Ulrich Trilling of Seasons of My Heart – Skirt Steak Tacos with Chichilo Mole on Smoked Eggplant
  •       Val Cantu of Californios – Wagyu Carne Asada with Black Truffle Mole
  •       Whole Foods Market Experience – Mole Spice Bags