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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Baked goods, Mexican
Counter service

24 hours

Bar Beer
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx

Bouldin Creek Area
1924 S. 1st St.
Austin, TX
(512) 443-6369
La Mexicana Bakery
It’s 2am: do you know where your Spidey cakes, barbacoa, and Western Union are?

It’s the middle of the night and you’ve got to get your Spiderman cupcake on. Particularly after the 2am witching hour, La Mexicana gets overrun with gringos trying to order American sweets, pan dulce, tacos, tortas, and the like. Luckily, the staff is patient as can be. During the day you’ll find a totally different scene. Most people take out; the atmosphere—which isn’t for everyone—is grungy, but endearing, with a colorful mural depicting a baker, burro, and flag-of-Mexico-toting señorita; a stoic sepia-toned print of (we assume) the owners’ ancestors; and lots and lots of the Jesus. Flatscreen TVs play Mexican soaps or fútbol. Come around Day of the Dead, and you’ll find the place full of shrines.

Try a torta with carnitas; the homemade rolls are properly toasted—and they make fantastic burger buns, if you’re grilling. Tacos are wonderful, and criminally cheap at less than two dollars apiece. Barbacoa is stewy and flavorful without being overly fatty; it’s glorious with a squeeze of lime and some onions and cilantro. Carne guisada has a well-seasoned gravy; the only weakness is oily, uninteresting al pastor. Load up on salsa verde, but if you can handle the intense heat from smoky, delicious roja, then do it. And if you need to wire money to Latin America while awaiting your (just okay) huevos rancheros, you’re in luck.

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