This Austin Trailer Has Perfected El Paso–Style Rolled Tacos – Texas Monthly

0
16


Early one evening last summer, a friend and I showed up at El Perrito for El Paso–style taquitos ahogados. The trailer was then located outside East Austin’s Sahara Lounge, but it’s since relocated to South Congress. Operating hours had just begun. There wasn’t a line. As a matter of fact, there was no one to be found. The ramshackle brown-and-white panel setup, teetering on a sad set of wheels, could have easily been mistaken for abandoned if not for the splashing and gurgling of the fryer and flattop. “Hello. Disculpe. Perdón. Pardon me,” I called out, unsure if anyone would answer. A few minutes later, owner-cook Ivan Enriquez popped out of what looked like a segmented RV trailer next to the food trailer. He said he was only fulfilling online preorders. I hadn’t known that. But since there was no line, I asked if it wouldn’t please be possible to get one order of his fried and rolled tacos, which come bathed in tomato salsa and covered in vibrant, melted orange cheese. My no-fuss request earned me a “Yeah, yeah, my dude, just one order? I gotcha, brother.” He quickly turned to reenter the trailer. Ten minutes later, Enriquez, who wore his long black hair in a ponytail, presented a single order of the ELP Tacos, a heavy basket of three tightly rolled and fried taquitos submerged in a thin, warm salsa. A blanket of shredded cheese kept the taquitos from bobbing in the vessel. Salsa verde layered on top gave the dish a pleasant kick of green chiles blended into a tomatillo base. It was deliriously magnificent. More importantly, it was better than the inspiration, the flautas ahogadas at Sun City institution Chico’s Tacos. Or, as Enriquez and his regulars cheekily call the El Paso original, “the other guys.”

Enriquez grew up in El Paso and moved to Austin in 2017 for a job in Latino-targeted marketing. While at his corporate job, Enriquez purchased the aforementioned ramshackle trailer; in January 2019, he began to experiment with…