The Best Tacos in the Southwest

I’ve made it to Seattle where the food is said to be amazing as amazing can be, but I would be doing the Southwest an injustice if I didn’t lament leaving behind the delicious tacos I’ve encountered there. From fried avocado tacos to pickled cactus tacos, here are a few of my favorite taco spots in the Southwest:

Taqueria in Phoenix


Roosevelt’s Row is a little known secret in Phoenix, at least to those who don’t live there. It’s the artist district of the city, where buildings are spray painted with vibrant murals and container galleries open their doors to the public on First Fridays each month. Along with great local art, this neighborhood has a few really great restaurants and bars (looking at you, Bliss ReBar).


For tacos in Roosevelt’s Row, look no further than Taqueria. The menu is full of sumptuous meat and vegetable pairings, grilled to perfection and melted together with fresh queso. I ordered the Nopales with grilled cactus and the Tinga with chipotle chicken and pickled onions. The grilled cactus was interesting, and not for me, but definitely worth a try.

Taqueria in Roosevelt's Row, Phoenix, Cactus taco, Chicken taco


Torchy’s Tacos in Austin

Torchy's Tacos Austin Texas Southwest Blog

I know I’ve already mentioned Torchy’s in my Austin Food Truck post, and if you follow the @cleavingleaveland Instagram handle, you’ve probably seen Torchy’s pop up a few times. Ummm that’s because it’s DELICIOUS and I make it a rule to visit every time I go. My favorite items are the Fried Avocado, the Dirty Sanchez, the Republican, and the Trailer Park. You can ask to make any taco trashy, which means adding in queso and some other tasty toppings.

Torchy's Tacos Austin Texas Southwest Foodie Blog

For breakfast tacos, I enjoy the Wrangler. But honestly, you need to try the entire menu and then keep going back for more. And don’t forget to ask for the secret menu!

Coreanos in Houston

Best Tacos of the Southwest

If you like tacos with a Korean flair (AKA throw some kimchi on it), then you HAVE to check out Coreanos. I encountered this food truck outside of the Day 4 Night music festival in Houston, and I think it was the only thing I ate all weekend. They make a mean burrito and some really tasty tacos, but their biggest hit is definitely the “Kimcheese fries”. I prefer the burritos to the tacos because they remind me of the kebabs I tasted in Europe—halal roasted meat with french fries thrown in, brought together by a zesty mix of spicy and cool creamy sauces.


This isn’t traditional Mexican food, or Korean food, by any means. But it is unforgettable, and your tastebuds will not be sorry.


It Ain’t Real Mexican Food If They Don’t Put an Egg On It

Maria's Mexican Restaurant Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Tamale’s at Maria’s (Egg It Up)

My first experience of the Mexican food of the Southwest did not really come in Texas. Sure, Austin has excellent food trucks and many of those food trucks serve tasty tacos, but they weren’t the kind of tacos that made me stop eating at Chipotle. That all changed when I ate at Maria’s in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

When I really mean by Mexican food is tamales. At Maria’s I ordered my first tamales in the Southwest (and my second tamales ever, if you count the time I ate them in The Mission in San Francisco). I had one green tamale, which any avid tamale eater knows as the vegetarian corn tamale with green chile sauce, and one red tamale, the beef stuffed tamale with red sauce. It came with beans and rice, smothered in cheese, and as promised – an egg on top.

Ever since this encounter, I haven’t been able to stop eating tamales. I order them for delivery in downtown Phoenix, I request them off food carts in Roosevelt’s Row, and I eat them at sit down dinners in Scottsdale. Without doubt, the best tasting ones I’ve had ordered out came with an egg on top. I don’t know what it is, but that egg really seals the deal.

Tamales in Scottsdale, Arizona
Tamales in Scottsdale, Arizona (I Already Ate the Egg)

Once, my boyfriend had a patient’s family member at the hospital who brought him 6 tamales as a Thank You gesture, and though he’s not supposed to take gifts from patients or their families, he did this time for me. BEST tamales I’ve ever had. Tamales, tamales, tamales. Did I mention that I love tamales? Here are some places that you can find bomb tasting tamales in Phoenix:

Carolina’s Mexican Food

La Canasta Mexican Foods

Mi Amigo’s Mexican Grill

Molly’s Tamales

I think that sums up this blog post. Thank you very much.

Austin Loves Its Food Trucks

Where’s the best place to eat in Austin? In the streets! Well, not in the streets exactly (you’ll generally find a picnic table or two), but out of a food truck!

Eating out of food trucks hasn’t been much fun in the last week as this “arctic cold” situation rolled through Texas, but definitely in the weeks before. Food trucks are all the rage in Austin, and they come in many the variety: (breakfast) tacos, kebabs, Pho, crepes, gourmet donuts, and even frozen bananas. By all means, I haven’t had the time to explore all the best ones, but here are a few of my favorites:

 1. Bananarchy

Bananarchy, bananas, frozen treats, revolutionary desserts, Austin, Texas, food trucks
Photo Credit:

I wasn’t kidding about those frozen bananas – they are seriously delicious! My first time eating Bananarchy was amidst the screaming metal bands at Fun Fun Fun Fest. Here’s the deal: you pay around $2.75-3.75 for a half banana dipped in toppings, and about a dollar more for a whole. At #FFFfest, the options were limited but still YUMMY. I had the whole banana dipped in chocolate and graham cracker. Other toppings include Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Vanilla, and Vegan Chocolate (yay!), with one or more of nuts, cookies, M&Ms, Oreos, Reeses Pieces, coconut, toffee, sprinkles, and cinnamon! I know it might sound silly to pay $4 for a banana that you could potentially freeze and dip in chocolate yourself; but face it, you’re never going to do that and these nanners are SO good, you wouldn’t regret it!

 2. Torchy’s Tacos

Torchy's Tacos, breakfast tacos, secret menu, Austin, Texas, food trucks
Photo Credit: The Avocado Apex Blog

Oh my God, tacos. Tacos, tacos, tacos from Torchy’s are friggin’ amazing! Torchy’s Tacos has a whole separate menu just for breakfast tacos. They also have a pretty wide selection of ingredients – tacos with smoked beef brisket, tacos with fried avocado, tacos with slow cooked pork, blackened salmon, seared ahi tuna, and much more. You also get an assortment of salsas and sauces with whatever you order, all of which are really tasty. Oh man, my mouth is watering just writing about these tacos right now. My favorite thing about these tacos is that while everything is dripping with yummy goodness, the tortillas at Torchy’s aren’t flimsy and don’t get soft or break apart as you eat. And that, my friends, is how tacos are done right.

P.S. I’ve heard that Torchy’s has a secret menu, which I am hoping to hack into sometime soon. I’ll update this post if it happens!

 3.  Shawarma Point

shawarma, kebabs, gyros, food trucks, shawarma point, Austin, Texas
Photo Credit:

I love Shawarma Point because ever since my semester abroad in Italy, I’ve been trying to find shawarma as delicious as this (seriously). The spiciness levels are three: No Spice, White People Spicy, and Brown People Spicy. I always opt for white people spicy and throw some french fries in it. If you care enough about shawarma that you know the difference between a doner kebab and a gyro, then this is the place for you.

4. The Vegan Yacht

Freeto Burrito, Vegan Yacht, Austin, Texas, food trucks, vegan food, foodie, good eats,
Photo Credit: May Contain Nightshades Blog

Another find from #FFFfest. This vegan food truck aims to create vegan food that all people (even non-vegans like me) can enjoy. How do they do it? By employing the one vegan Lays product into their food: Fritos. At The Vegan Yacht, you can order either the Freeto Burrito or the Freeto-Pie. I opted for the Freeto Burrito and was not disappointed. The menu has a couple of other mock chicken food items that are worth checking out. Overall, this place keeps it simple and is pretty good!

One last thing I would like to say about Austin food trucks is that they are made even better by the incredible Austin delivery service, Favor. This app will send people to pick up and deliver seriously anything you want, and they make it fun while they do it by sending you texts such as “All kinds of deliciousness coming your way!” I know there are other apps across the country that will pick up and deliver from non-delivery places, and I’ve used those apps in Burlington and Cleveland, but Favor is the best one I’ve encountered. So I just had to give them a special shout out – Thanks Favor!

Note: Please apologize for the lack of my personal photography in this post as I await the new memory card for my camera.