Those of you who don’t live in south Texas or the southwest in general are really missing out on some good Mexican food. More specifically, good Tex-Mex. There’s nothing quite like breakfast tacos on an early Saturday morning. My favorite being barbacoa with an icy cold Big Red. And yes, this is a going to be about guns. I’m getting there . . .
After decades of research, I figure there’s three things to look out for when seeking out a good Tex-Mex place. First, be on the lookout for menus and staff that operate in Spanish. Second, look at the clientele. If the other patrons on primarily Hispanic, you’re for sure getting there. But third – and the real point of this – is that you need to be in a dodgy part of town. You’ll know you’ve hit the spot when you have to order in Spanish, and if you are a white guy like me, you stick out like a sore thumb. Bars on the window are always a good, too.
My favorite dodgy place is a little spot called Ken’s Tacos Subs & More. Ken’s is fairly close to my office so I can run out, get a great lunch, and decompress for an hour outside of the office. It’s also pretty cheap. But it’s definitely in one of the worst zip codes in Austin. Which leads to a bit of a problem for the responsible carrier. On the one hand, avoid stupid people doing stupid things in stupid places. But on the other hand, carne guisada.
Ken’s lets me have my guisada and eat it too. As you can see above, there’s a table in a pocket corner that lets me hang back and watch the comings and goings at Ken’s while I dig in. I figure that in the middle of the day, an armed robbery is the most likely crime and the cash is in the drawer, which is behind the counter. I’m confident in stating that all but the most experienced hold-up men are going to get tunnel vision. Get in, get the cash, and get out are going to be the name of the game.
And my pocket table lets me hang back, enjoy the meal, and in the event that that the worst happens, I’ll be able to watch it unfold and still have an avenue of escape, and a flanking position in case drawing and firing is the best course of action. Am I paranoid? Maybe. But I prefer to think that failing to plan is planning to fail.
Ken’s would be a pretty solid place to get a plate of rice and beans even if the seating were different. And I’d likely go regularly if that were the case. But Ken’s is my favorite workday lunch spot because the seating arrangement allows me keep an eye on the happenings with plenty of options for fight or flight. And carne guisada. You?