One Day. Three Meals. All Tacos: Austin Bucket List for 2015

2015 Austin Bucket Lists

We say it all the time, but we do truly believe it: Austin is an amazing place to raise a family. With this in mind, we’re on a mission to go discover all the things which make our town special. To help get out more without getting overwhelmed, we came up with the Austin Bucket List project. Each year, we pick 10 things we’d like to do in Austin — with or without our kids. That sounds doable, doesn’t it? Then, we document our adventures here, with the idea of getting each of you inspired to do the same.

What’s an endeavor like this without a few friends along for the ride? We asked our blogger friends in Austin who’d like to join us on the Austin Bucket List project, and we were thrilled to have several takers. New to the Austin Bucket List project this year is Lisa Caldwell, who takes her tacos seriously. Very seriously. Here’s what she had to say:

I love tacos.

I really really really really love tacos.

Growing up in the northeast, tacos were hard to come by. Taco Bell didn’t sweep through town until I was in high school and even that’s a loose interpretation of what a taco should be. Our options were limited:  Chi-Chi’s or homemade Ortega; my parents were not taco fans so neither were they ever in the regular dinner rotation. Moving to Austin was a dream-come-true for a taco-lover like me, especially when I discovered the greatest food in the history of food: breakfast tacos.

My new reality was always having the option to eat tacos for any meal!

I have had tacos for three meals a day on more than one occasion since moving here. But my Bucket List challenge was unique in that my three tacos for three meals on the same day all had to be from different places and could not include my house. Sorry, honey, your ridiculously awesome bacon-egg-potato-on-Central-Market-tortillas won’t count.

I chose to complete this “challenge” on a Friday since there was a pretty good chance I would be late for work. Once I serendipitously found $20 in my coat pocket, I decided to treat my co-workers.


Since I work in South Austin, I chose El Primo for breakfast tacos. If you’re familiar with El Primo, then you know I was in for the good stuff.  It’s an unassuming food truck occupying space in front of Once Over Coffee. I’ve frequented the trailer for lunch, but this was my first trip for breakfast. My co-worker recommended the Migas-Egg-Ham and I trusted her since she has never steered me wrong taco-wise. So for $2, I had an over-stuffed, freshly-made taco with ham in every bite. Instead of using cartons of liquid eggs, the chef cracked a fresh egg for each of the tacos I ordered. That’s right, the tacos were $2 each and made-to-order.



Four hours later, I still wasn’t feeling super-hungry, but I had a mission to complete. I had every intention of going to Veracruz All Natural for lunch but work was a bit busy so I went for the old stand-by: Torchy’s Tacos. People have strong opinions about Torchy’s, but to me it never disappoints. My usual two-taco meal is a Trashy Trailer Park – fried chicken and queso – and a Chicken Fajita. Extra doses of Diablo and Chipotle sauce make this my go-to meal when I’m too tired-hungry-busy to decide on something else.



Dinner was a rough choice since I live north and already had Torchy’s for lunch. We debated the newly-opened Fork & Taco – which I highly recommend for dinner, though it’s a bit pricey for lunch – but decided to try somewhere we’ve never been. Matt’s El Rancho is one of those places every Austinite should go to so I decided to check two boxes off the Bucket List.
This was a Friday night so Matt’s was PACKED. We waited over an hour for a table. While waiting in the bar, I noticed an autographed photo signed by Bob Armstrong. A quick Google search brought up Bob Armstrong Dip before any of his political accomplishments; I decided a new goal is to have some queso named after me.

After we were seated and devoured some of the famous Bob Armstrong queso with chips that were the size of my head, I ordered the carne taco special. It was sirloin steak with grilled asadero cheese, rajas and onions on homemade corn tortillas. They had me at “grilled cheese”; the steak was really tender and homemade tortillas can’t be beat. And the tacos were so generously sized that I brought one of them home and had it for lunch on Saturday.

As far as Bucket List items go, this one was really easy to accomplish. I can even see making this a goal every quarter! Now for next year’s list, I’m going to see about having a queso named after me…

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]After growing up in Pittsburgh and bouncing around The West, Lisa Caldwell settled in Austin in 2012 with her husband and daughter with the dream of eating tacos for the majority of her meals. In her spare time, she writes at Hip-Baby Mama.[/author_info] [/author]


Lisa Caldwell
About Lisa Caldwell 16 Articles
After growing up in Pittsburgh and bouncing around The West, Lisa Caldwell settled in Austin in 2012 with her husband and daughter with the dream of eating tacos for the majority of her meals. In her spare time, she writes at Hip-Baby Mama.