Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin's restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.
One of the city’s best street taco operations has made a triumphant return. After a few soft opening weekends, Asador Mexican BBQ Tacos is now officially operating on West Sixth Street, behind Buford’s Backyard Beer Garden. Upgrading from a stand behind Las Perlas mezcal bar, which shuttered indefinitely last June, chef Joe Becerra’s new food truck menu introduces such enticing offerings as Modelo-habanero queso; quesadillas made with gooey asadero cheese; and, for the first time, pork shoulder al pastor sliced directly off the trompo.
“We’ve been consumed with perfecting this recipe all quarantine, taking notes on how they work the trompo in Mexico City,” Becerra says. Longtime fans of Becerra's simple yet elegant street tacos can also enjoy his grilled mushroom tacos with roasted pumpkin seed salsa, plus weekend specials like pozole, menudo, and birria. Becerra says Asador’s original location will reopen, but for now, get your fix at 700 W. Sixth St., Monday through Friday, 4 pm-2 am, and Saturday and Sunday, noon-2 am.
Other news and notes
Gabe Erales, executive chef of elevated Mexican eatery Comedor has parted ways with the operation. The acclaimed chef was let go for “repeated violations of [Comedor’s] policies and for behavior in conflict with our values,” according to an email from Comedor chef and partner Phillip Speer obtained by Eater Austin. Speer will lead the kitchen while Comedor searches for a new executive chef.
Watertrade, the intimate South Congress Japanese cocktail bar attached to Otoko, has launched its own casual izakaya-style menu. Acclaimed chef Yoshi Okai has designed an assortment of playful “highbrow and lowbrow" bar bites, including caviar served with Sansho-dusted Funyuns and escargot served with chips, shiso, and nanbanzuke. Pair them with Watertrade’s extensive menu of Japanese whiskies — the largest of its kind in Texas. Watertrade is open to parties of up to four Wednesday through Saturday, with seatings at 5:45 pm and 8:15 pm. Reservations for both Otoko and Watertrade can be made here.
North Austin seafood truck Huckleberry will relocate to Vista Brewing in Driftwood for a day-long paella pop-up to ring in the new year. On January 1, chef Davis Turner will be whipping up hearty bowls made with shrimp, mussels, clams, seasonal vegetables and chorizo ($15). Vista's team recommends pairing the paella with their easy-drinking Hansel Helles Lager, which will be offered for $1 off all day. Table reservations are required to dine in Vista’s outdoor beer garden, and they can be made via OpenTable. The pop-up is slated to run from noon until 6 pm, and the paella is first come, first served.
Going dry in January? A new line of non-alcoholic CBD cocktails has you covered. Sweet Crude, an Austin-based, women-owned brand, crafts its 8.5-ounce canned "cocktails" with relaxing 20 mg doses of hemp-derived CBD. Each offering is layered with “mood-benefiting” terpenes (a natural ingredient also found in lavender), and they are available in such flavors as a juniper-loaded OG Tonic and the ginger-forward Mellow Mule. The drinks are available on Sweet Crude’s website for $23.99 per four-pack, as well as at local retailers including The Meteor on South Congress and Quickie Pickie on East Cesar Chavez.
If your holiday plans involve copious amounts of carbs, then you’re in luck! Local foodies can now purchase three house-made pasta varieties from Austin's acclaimed Emmer & Rye, available exclusively at area Whole Foods Markets stores. Three pastas — Blue Beard Durum Spaghetti, Egyptian Emmer Rigatoni, and Rouge de Bordeaux Strozzapreti — are made from heirloom grains from Hayden Flour Mills in Arizona and Barton Spring Mill in Dripping Springs. Find them in the pasta aisle for $7.99 per package.