College students are always looking for cheap, good-tasting food. To those who think it’s impossible to combine the two, I suggest you check out a couple of the numerous taco stands around Austin.
To provide some advice on the best taco stands in town, I sat down with my friend Andrew Kreighbaum, who writes about taco stands for The Daily Texan.
Austin Appetite: So how do you pick the taco stands that you write about?
Andrew Kreighbaum: I usually spin a wheel like in The Price is Right. Actually I do most of my research online or just talk to people. When people found out I was writing about tacos, a lot of people got really excited. They all have their personal favorites or have heard of places they suggest I check out.
AA: What do you look for in a good taco stand?
AK: There are several criteria. Any taco stands that I’m going to suggest to my friends have got to be cheap, No. 1. If they’re not cheap, then I’m not going to waste my time; I could just go to a brick-and-mortar establishment. There also has to be something unique about it. They have to have character in some way. That could be because of the location or a theme on the menu or a particular item they’re well-known for.
AA: So what is your favorite taco stand and why is it your favorite?
AK: It’s tough to choose just one. It’s like choosing a favorite child, really. I feel like each taco stand says something about the particular region of Austin it’s in, whether it’s the East side or Riverside Drive or South First or North Lamar. It’s tough to decide, but if someone put a gun to my head, I’d say take me to Piedras Negras. There’s a lot of emotional attachment there and that can be more powerful than an original menu item that someone had wracked their brain over. Those traditional flavors and recipes that you can come back to, it’s not that it’s something that goes out of season, it’s something that will always be there and people appreciate that.
AA: OK, you mentioned youre emotional attachment to Piedras, other than that, where can I get a great, cheap taco?
AK: You could just drive for 10 minutes on Riverside.
AA: So you’re saying you’re a fan of all of those places?
AK: Not of all those places, but if you want to get a taco for cheap. I write about tacos but I’m not going to tell people what’s right for them all the time. Some people love a good breakfast taco. That’s not my thing. I prefer a good carne guisada or maybe a crispy torta if I don’t feel like a taco. Everyone just has to find their thing, you know, that one thing they can go back to and rely on in their lives. I don’t want to be the person to tell them what that one thing is, I want to help them find it. I’m like, you know, I want to be the Virgil to their Dante.