Friday, August 1, 2008

Camino Real (Pflugerville)

(Note: This is NOT the same "Camino Real" as the one in the Spicewood Springs area of Austin that we refer to as "Dave's place". It just has the same name.)

I'm struggling with whether I should even write this blog entry. I guess I will go ahead since my experience here was fine.

(The reason I almost didn't is that I found some really terrible reviews for this restaurant just now while looking for their website - they don't appear to have one - and I may never go back. I don't know. Anyway, here is a link to Google's page for Camino Real. If you poke around there you will find some of the reviews I mentioned.)

I drive by here every day on my way to work, but I just noticed a couple of days ago that they are open for breakfast and were advertising breakfast tacos.

I was the only customer for the entire 20-25 minutes I was there and they were still slow. Not a great start.

Camino Real has a fairly large breakfast menu. The tacos are all 2 items and cost $1.50, with extra items 25 cents each, so I settled for Sausage, Egg, Beans and Cheese at $2.00 each. The waitress said they were "normal" size, so I ordered 2. Total with Dr. Pepper and tip was $7.00.

When they arrived - it took 10-15 minutes! - I was a bit disappointed at first. The tacos were small to medium in size (2 tacos were still smaller than 1 from Ken's) and seemed to have more beans than anything else and hardly any cheese but I decided to dig in. The salsa was very tasty but I didn't want to put very much on because the beans were already kinda runny and I didn't want to make it too much worse.

Anyway, overall the tacos were pretty good. The tortillas were fresh and very good and the overall flavor was great. Because of the beans, the tacos were fairly messy, but they were served on a plate and not foil, so the mess was easier to deal with.

I enjoyed my breakfast but I'm not sure yet whether I'll return considering the awful reviews I read.

  • Size: small to medium
  • Goodness: very good
  • Value: meh - good but relatively expensive - and did I mention slow?
Grade: B+

Friday, March 21, 2008

Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q

Yes, kids, the quest is still alive.

Life interfered with my search for the Ultimate Breakfast Taco for a while, but I'm back on track. Today's journey took me to Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q.

Now, I have to say that although I've never been crazy about Rudy's, my wife raves about their breakfast tacos, so I vowed a while back to give it a try.

As I discovered this morning, you can get tacos at Rudy's in 2 different ways: pre-made or custom order. When you walk in, there's a large section of pre-made tacos and a dedicated checker person. These tacos seemed to be limited to 2 ingredients and I don't know what they cost. (If someone adds it to the comments, I'll mod the post...)

To custom order, you go to the normal order line and tell them what you want. The service was quick and helpful - the guy who took my order spent time explaining their process to me so I didn't feel as lost as I do when I'm there for lunch.

Let me interrupt myself here for a second to tell you that Rudy's has great Sweet Tea. Check out Dave's review.

The tacos were fairly large, which is to say bigger than the fast-food tacos I've tried and smaller than Ken's. My standard taco (sausage, potato, egg, bean and cheese) was OK and came up to $2.81 and the large tea was $1.79, for a total of $4.60. That's a full dollar more than Ken's for less food.

The taste was pretty good, although I much prefer refried beans to whole beans on a taco and the sausage was diced instead of ground. I know those are personal preferences, but hey - this is my blog. The salsa was OK, but not great.

I also felt compelled by the location to try a chopped beef taco. I had beef, egg and cheese. I didn't like it, and didn't eat much of it, so I decided not to include it in the ratings for cost or size.

Overall I'd say Rudy's made a good effort; much better than expected.

  • Size: medium to large
  • Goodness: good
  • Value: good - decent food at a decent price
Overall, I'd give Rudy's an A-, which puts them firmly in second place. Congrats!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Today I had breakfast tacos for lunch - at a place I've never been before: Tacodeli. This was after the annual Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby. Matthew took home 2 trophies this year (his last year in Cub Scouts). Congratulations, Matthew! :-)

Tacodeli was a little bit intimidating because it was so busy and the menu is fairly large. I was afraid that if I took too long I would soon be hearing "No taco for you. NEXT!" Because of that, I decided to try to order something as close as possible to my "standard" taco: sausage, potato, egg, beans and cheese.

"Black bean paste OK?" Umm, no.

"The potatoes are mashed, OK?" Sure, just don't "NEXT!" me.

It was unclear how big to expect these tacos to be. The guy taking my order said you should get "at least 2 or 3", so I ordered 3. I have no idea what this all cost because my lovely wife, Celeste, paid for lunch. (Thanks, honey!)

OK, so just in case you missed it, yes they actually put mashed potatoes on their tacos. Sounds weird and changes the texture of the taco considerably but it wasn't bad. The only problem with these tacos was their small size and almost complete lack of sausage. Still, the flavor was good and the salsa (they have several types) was very tasty.

  • Value: I'm kind of guessing since I don't know what the actual cost was, but I think this was on the expensive end of the range, so I'd have to rate the value as mediocre.

  • Size: tiny to small

  • Goodness: good, but not great.

I'll definitely try out the Tacodeli again sometime, but in my opinion it's not at the top of the list.

Grade: B

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


OK, so nobody in their right mind goes to Chick-fil-A thinking "Hmm, I think I'll have a breakfast taco." And rightly so, it turns out.

Just so I'm clear, I love Chick-fil-A. Love their chicken sandwich. Love their chicken nuggets. Love their Sweet Tea. Love their chicken biscuit, sausage biscuit, chicken minis.

But the breakfast taco just plain sucked.

I didn't even finish the one I bought. It was unpleasant and cold, filled almost entirely with eggs and bell peppers. I don't even want to get into the rest of the disappointment. Suffice it to say that I will never, ever get another taco at Chick-fil-A.

(That doesn't mean I will stop going there; not by a mile. I still love the place, but they should just remove breakfast tacos from their menu before someone gets hurt.)

Grade: D (just because of the Sweet Tea, otherwise: F)

Friday, November 30, 2007

A la Carrera

Well, this morning I resumed my quest to find a breakfast taco that's better than Ken's. What that really means is that I was finally able to convince my car to drive to another place. I've been to Ken's about once a week since my last post...

Anyway, today's trek was to a favorite lunch place, A la Carrera. (Sorry, I can't find an actual home page for them, but, as usual, Google comes through.) I've known for a long time that this place has breakfast but I've never tried it before.

I'll cut right to the chase: it was good, but couldn't touch Ken's.

  • Price: moderate, but more than Ken's. Taco's come in several combinations of 2 of 6 or so ingredients: sausage, bacon, chorizo, eggs, potatos and beans. They have a stand set up inside the front door with a wide variety of these pre-made so you can run in, pick up what you want and run back out. You can also sit down and order whatever you want, which is what I did. These 2-ingredient tacos run $1.35 which isn't bad, but they want $0.50 for each additional ingredient, so my almost-standard "sausage, egg, bean and cheese" was $2.35. I probably could have added potatoes for another $0.50 but I decided against it. My drink set me back $1.95, making my total bill $4.65 and since I was "served" I had to leave a tip, too.

  • Size: the taco was of average size but probably only 1/2 the size of Ken's.

  • Goodness: Overall, the taste was good, though a little bland. I was able to add plenty of A la Carrera's wonderful salsa which helped. I'd call the consistency "goopy" - both the beans and eggs were runny which made this a messy taco. Also, the sausage was basically a small patty, fried up and cut in half, forcing me to dice it up myself before eating.
I'll keep going to A la Carrera for lunch, but I'll keep searching for the Ultimate Breakfast Taco...!

Friday, November 2, 2007


Today's culinary excursion took me to Whataburger - mostly because I was in a hurry and they have a drive-through...

Let me start by saying the taco was fine. It was alright. It was perfectly acceptable. But it wasn't great.

First, your choices are very limited (for tacos; of course they have lots of other stuff, but this blog is about tacos): eggs with either sausage, bacon or potatos for $1.79, and you can add cheese for $0.35. I had the sausage and, like I mentioned, it was OK.

However, it was small - less than half the size of a Ken's taco. And the salsa was generic, mass-produced and uninspiring.

In the end I'd have to say it wasn't a very good value. I wouldn't head to Whataburger to buy the taco, but if I was eating breakfast at Whataburger the taco would be on my list of choices.

Grade: B

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ken's Tacos

OK, so I'm starting out this blog with a slight prejudice: Ken's makes the best breakfast tacos in the World.

That's right, Kids. These tacos are so good that I've been coming here for at least 13 or 14 years, maybe a bit more. A coworker named Rock (at Fisher Controls) turned me and many others on to this place and it's been my favorite breakfast ever since.

(The full name of the restaurant is actually Ken's Sub's, Taco's & More.)

So, what makes these tacos so good?

First off, everything here is made to order so it's not sitting around under a heat lamp - but they're fast enough that you aren't left waiting forever either.

Remember the old "Burger King" song "have it your way..."? At Ken's you really have them build your taco however you want. A standard "one meat" taco is $1.69 with up to 4 items (not including cheese, a $0.25 extra). You can pay more and get 2 or 3 meats if you want and a meat-less taco is only $1.49. My favorite - sausage, potato, eggs, refried beans and cheese - is $2.04. What a Bargain!

Then there's the size: these tacos are BIG. There's so much crammed in the tortilla that is nearly impossible to eat without dropping half the goodies. My old buddy Rock filed me in on a little secret way back when and now I'm going to tell the world... Ready? Order an "extra tortilla". It's only 2 bits. Then you split your fillings in half between the 2 tortillas - adding plenty of Ken's great salsa as you go - and you have 2 tacos that are a manageable size.

Ken's prices are reasonable (my "usual" taco, extra tortilla and large drink comes to $3.50), the selection is good and the ingredients are always fresh. Also, the staff is very friendly, including Ken who seems to be there about half the times that I go.

There's always got to be a problem, though. Right? Ken's problem is that there isn't enough parking during the "rush" periods. Some people end up parking at the 7-11 next door, which used to be a really bad idea because they would tow your car but I don't think it's that bad any more. Overall it's a minor issue.

(On a side note, Ken's also makes the best Philly Cheesesteak I've ever had outside of South Philadelphia.)

Ken added Sweet Tea to the drink menu sometime in the last year or so. It's not the best but it's good. Hey, give the Yankee a break - at least he's trying.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Ken's makes me happy. They have lots of other menu items, too, but I'm just kinda "stuck" on the tacos and cheesesteaks.