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Tragedy Unfolds As San Antonio Taco Obsession Falters

May 6, 2014


If you know anyone from Austin, you know they go on and on about breakfast tacos like they invented the damn things. And as they prattle on about the virtues of chorizo and egg, you roll your eyes and think to yourself, “Yeah, yeah.” Now our neighbors to the north have a weapon in the I-35 Taco Wars: a higher ranking in the Most Taco-Crazed Cities in America. This is a travesty.

San Antonio placed fifth. Even Estately, the blog that measured each city’s taco obsession, was surprised, remarking why on earth did San Antonio not place first. That honor went to Arlington of all places, home of the Dallas Cowboys and the most taco-loving people in this great nation, if you want to believe lies.

But let’s address one problem at a time. Austin placed third. And while Austin’s place on the list is only two spots above San Antonio’s, it’s enough for Austinites to think that God descended from heaven onto the Capital of Texas and started spooning carnitas into folded corn tortillas and handing them out to passersby on Congress Avenue like some sort of Mexican Prometheus. No, this cannot stand.

So how did those taco posers beat the more authentically Mexican city down the road? Estately compiled various taco-related data and ranked cities accordingly. The site looked at the percentage of restaurants in each city that served tacos and the number of Facebook users in each city that expressed interest in tacos. (Tacos, by the way, are not an interest; they are a way of life.) Finally, the site calculated each city’s taco-related Google searches, as if that actually means anything.

A look at Estately’s metrics makes one thing abundantly clear. While Austinites are thinking and talking about tacos, San Antonians are too busy eating them. Nobody here has any time to express their taco love when there is actual barbacoa to be had. Instead of advertising our passion for tacos de asada, we’d rather just put them in our mouths and quietly indulge. We’re not trying to impress anybody, after all. We were eating tacos before they were cool.

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  • Michelle Padley

    I’ve lived in SA for 4 years now. A couple months ago my friends and I attempted to embark on something we called “Tacoquest 2013″ . To assist us I made this map of Taco Places within a 1 mile radius of my house. You can see the results here. Each triangle represents a place that sells tacos. Is there anyway I can attach the map or send it to the ignorant fools who made these claims?!

  • Michelle Padley

    Couldn’t figure out how to attach the map. Will post on facebook thread.

  • Alfred

    So am I going to be the only one to point out that “restaurants that serve tacos” is an inaccurate metric seeing as so many of us get our tacos from taco stands?

  • ha ha

    based on web social networks and web searches…??? assumptions….that the web is the center of the world and all need to report their taco cravings

  • Anastacia Uriegas

    No offense to the Current — I deeply love the staff but these type of “Austin Poser” stories only perpetuate San Antonio’s sad “chip on your shoulder” reputation. Let’s move on. This is beating a dead horse. I mean the ranking isn’t even by a reputable publication. Get over it.

  • T Kegley

    “Estately”… I can’t even take this seriously. Ha! Keep Calm and Eat Tacos…

  • PSB

    Make Tacos Not War

  • don

    Good point. Estately’s article should have been titled – “the city that uses the internet to look for tacos most.” By comparison, I don’t typically google “restaurants that serve bread” nor do I have “toast” as an interest on Facebook.

  • Bad Chapters

    You don’t think Austin has taco stands or that taco stands aren’t on Yelp?

  • Alfred

    “has taco stands” ignores frequency and misses the point in the way that saying “you don’t think san antonio has restaurants?” misses the point

    yeah I’m sure SA has a few taco stands in the areas next to universities on yelp. meanwhile, you are welcome to cruise the south side and look for taco stands on yelp because as we all know this is a demographic tied inexorably to their social media presence

  • Mario Martinez

    I can point out several streets in which there are multitudes of Mexican restaurants across the street from each other and some even right next to one another. Just drive down Commerce or Culebra, Military Drive, Rigsby, Fredricksburg Rd. etc etc…. Even on the riverwalk there are a ton of them. I visit Austin frequently and I can attest for a fact that there is no way they out taco us.

  • edisdead

    You voted Taco Taco Cafe as Best Of SA. That place has the worst tacos I’ve ever had in my life. Fuck off, Current, y’all just a buncha circle-jerking scenesters.

  • flapjack89

    Austin wins easily based on quality over quantity.

  • toddal

    As a former SA resident and current Austin one the debate is simple. Both cities have great tacos…and btw Arlington is a joke. But to me the big difference is consistent quality and quantity versus price. SA gives you more and with more reliable and well distributed quality than Austin does and it does it at approx 30-50% less cost. And cost matters. Any of the top contenders in Austin are going to charge you $3.50 to $4.50 for most tacos. So if you are a serious taco eater that comes to $12 to $16 for your taco fix. What!!??

    This isn’t arguing the top 5 for each city mind you. Both cities can put five joints up and probably be almost equal because both cities make great tacos. But the proof pudding is in the next 10-15 contenders and how good and economical those are. Once that metric is taken into account SA wins hands down. It’s kinda like a music festival. It’s all well and good if the top headliners are Springsteen, Rolling Stones and Elton John but if the rest of the fest lineup is weak then that doesn’t make for a very good or good value couple of days. Oh….and the worst taco joint in SA still has better tortillas than the best one in Austin!

  • Chris S.

    I agree- there is no science behind these rankings anyway. When Im in S.A. its all about the enchilada plate for me. Tacos are a street food you grab when your pressed for time. If the tortilla was fresh made and the salsa is fresh 1-2days max then its all good! no matter where your at:)

  • Chris S.

    disagree- you have to go out of the center of Austin to find the great tacos. All $2 or less.. oh and if you put goat cheese on your taco thats just not right

  • toddal

    Two quick things. One, if you have to go out of the center of Austin then that kind of proves my point in a way. Two, what are some places that you would recommend? With Tamale House closing down yesterday I will be on the lookout for some cheap new options.

    And agreed on the goat cheese. See that’s the thing about Austin. They think that if they make it increasingly fancy or complex or expensive that that somehow translates into quality. And it most definitely doesn’t. Cool for bragging rights and pictures and articles in the New York Times though!

  • toddal

    I definitely agree with you but I do have a sticking point on price. Enchilada plates are $10 to $12 in most restaurants in Austin and margaritas generally start at $7. At those prices you are looking at $40+ for a couple to eat Mexican food. Just doesn’t seem right. But of course it’s not going to stop me from doing it!!

  • Hector Finis

    Remind me, how many Latino chefs were included in the “Rock Your Taco” competition from the Austin Food & Wine Festival? Exactly

  • Tacopants

    This is amazingly written. Austin is still #1! haha!