I was able to enjoy a good Tex Mex dinner at Matt's Famous El Rancho on what just happened to be the restaurant's 62 birthday. My sister and I enjoyed the nice outdoor patio and very prompt service. We loved bright fuchsia Prickly Pear Cactus Margarita. The old fashioned tacos I ordered had a great slightly crispy texture from the grill. The brisket was a bit dry though, the ground beef version was much better.
As for the notorious Austin food trailers, I visited The Fat Cactus and Juice Austin, both parked off "SoCo" (or South Congress St.) The Fat Cactus features Navajo fry breads, which are fantastic on their on own, and even better when used as a taco shell. Most cultures seem to have their own version of fried dough and I can't think of any I haven't liked... I tried a fat cactus fry bread taco filled with chipotle chicken, cheese, beans, lettuce, tomato and salsa verde. It was was essentially a chalupa on crack. Amazing! The Juice Austin truck wasn't cheap, but the juice was so tasty it re-inspired me to try juicing...yeah we'll see how long that lasts. I ordered the in incredibly refreshing pear, cucumber and mint juice. I tried to reproduce it with my juicer today, but sadly not the same.
My last night in Texas we found a compromise between the David Qui food truck East Side Kings that I was dying to go to and whatever burger joint my sister's man had in mind.We hit up the Magnolia Cafe SoCo after watching the bats fly since it was a name I recognized and we knew it would still be open (It' 24 hours) as confirmed by the sign declaring "Sorry We're Open. Even though the diner served up breakfast classics all day and giant bacon cheeseburgers for Tim (who ordered his with a giant pancake on the side and chocolate milk,) they also serve a variety of fresh and creative entrees. My sister had roasted acorn squash and curried vegetables, which were good, but could have benefited from the addition of some rice.
I ordered the chicken picatta with garlic mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. The picatta sauce was a little too thick for my taste, but the potatoes tasted like home cooking might, if my mom made good mashed potatoes, and the grilled vegetables were served up aplenty. The prices were reasonable for the quantity and quality of the food.