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This is the Austin breakfast taco that can win over Angelenos

A black food truck on a city street has 'Hot Tacos' in pink neon on its side.
Hot Tacos is an L.A. rebranding of Veracruz All Natural, a modern Austin, Texas, institution started by sisters and co-owners Reyna and Maritza Vazquez in 2008.
(Bill Addison / Los Angeles Times)

The migas breakfast taco from the Hot Taco truck parked in front of the Line hotel in Koreatown will arrive in your hands beautifully packaged.

Its first layer of wrapping is paper printed with a neon pink logo — an etching of a folded taco stuffed to the brim and set along the zigzagging lines of an EKG. Underneath you will find a crinkled package of aluminum foil; unfold it and the taco unfurls, at once neatly constructed and deliciously chaotic. Lobes of scrambled egg knock against tortilla chips, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, black beans, pico de gallo and a thin, crucial crescent of avocado.

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The staffer who took your order will point out three available salsas: a mild one with roasted tomatoes and jalapeño, a creamy verde, and a silky red-orange version made with chile de árbol that is warned to be “extra spicy,” but I never find to be overly scorching. I end up splattering each of them over the migas for the collective gentle heat and flavor oomph.

Los Angeles is, and will likely forever be, a breakfast burrito town. (I ate a lot of them earlier this year.) Breakfast tacos are foremost the domain of Texas. Though Angelenos have embraced the morning taco most fervently at Texas native Briana Valdez’s five locations of HomeState, if you’re willing to open your mind to another possibility, the wonderful migas tacos at Hot Tacos come with a deep pedigree.

The migas tacos the Vazquezes and their team serve in Koreatown definitely rival their Austin counterparts.
(Bill Addison / Los Angeles Times)
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The enterprise is an L.A. rebranding of Veracruz All Natural, a modern Austin institution started by sisters and co-owners Reyna and Maritza Vazquez in 2008. Texans will never run out of impassioned words over origins, ownership and superiority debates when it comes to breakfast tacos, but most everyone I know who’s started their day with a migas taco from Veracruz All Natural agree it has a place in the lexicon.

During my years wandering the country for Eater, every time I passed through Austin, I shared breakfast tacos, elbows on a picnic table, with a local friend at Veracruz’s original east Austin location. Since those years, the Vazquez sisters were forced to move from that lot. (In September, my colleague Fidel Martinez, a native of Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, wrote a story discussing Veracruz All Natural and the ongoing gentrification in east Austin.) The business has been expanding around Austin for the last decade, including a takeout window at Austin’s Line Hotel; parking the Hot Tacos truck in a corner of the hotel’s Koreatown property, with rows of palm trees and the Oasis Church’s Romanesque grandeur as a scene-setting backdrop, was an organic extension of the partnership.

About the migas: corn or flour tortilla? Beet juice dyes the corn tortillas an on-brand soft pink, but unless you aren’t eating wheat, you should ask for a flour tortilla, which are homemade and appealingly tensile to best cradle all the ingredients. The black beans are an L.A. addition that I can take or leave. And though I respect the vegetarian nature of the original Austin version, Hot Taco includes options for chorizo or bacon, and they enhance things meaningfully. Chorizo adds sauciness and helps melt the cheese; strips of bacon bring in the critical breakfast crispness.

I hesitate to use the word “improvement,” but the migas tacos the Vazquezes and their team serve in Koreatown definitely rival their Austin counterparts.

The truck operates from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and while the migas are the clear draw, the rest of the menu leans to lunch, with tacos and quesadillas filled with citrusy cochinita pibil, grilled chicken or steak and “al pastor cauliflower” with a bit of crunch and laced with pineapple.

Go now. The duration of Hot Taco’s Koreatown run (which began in October) is nebulous and potentially ends in January. The owners have said they are looking to establish a more permanent location now, but nothing is yet definite. While it’s within certain reach, the migas taco alone deserves a morning detour.

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The 101 is coming!

The 2021 edition of The Times’ annual 101 Best Restaurants in L.A., presented by City National Bank, goes live at 8:30 p.m. PST on Dec. 7. The beautiful print version will be included with subscribers’ papers the following Sunday; print editions will also be on sale via The Times’ online store later this month.

The 101 Best Restaurants presentation event, scheduled to take place on Dec. 7 at City Market Social House, has sold out.

Ben Mims comes through with his annual holiday cookie extravaganza. What do oat and hazelnut chess bars with raspberry-lime jam, candied gingerbread macarons, spiked orange and chocolate biscuits, cherry-walnut Mexican milk fudge, and salty black-and-white chocolate crinkles have in common? They’re either vegan or gluten-free, and they’re all spectacular.

Stephanie Breijo reports on Stellar Pizza, a food truck founded by ex-SpaceX engineers that will have robotic arms dressing and baking pizzas, and the week’s other news of openings.

Bonus mention: Ruth Reichl, food-writing legend and former Food editor and restaurant critic for The Times, launched a newsletter for December. It has holiday gift suggestions but also includes enlightening stories from her way-back archives, copies of old menus (remember Trumps helmed by chef Michael Roberts?) and recipes. She’s calling it La Briffe — “an affectionate old French term for food,” she writes — and it’s great.

 Ben Mims' 2021 holiday cookies
A spread of Ben Mims’ 2021 holiday cookies.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)


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