After pimp-slapping Lady Justice at municipal court, my attorney, translator and personal mixologist Kitren Fischer (think Dr. Gonzo from Fear and Loathing) and I headed down Airport Road for a celebratory feast of tacos and cocteles at Burrito Familiar.
Burrito Familiar is the mobile Mexican eatery owned and operated by friends Eber Salinas and Luis Laras. The two partners have been in business together for over 10 years and, between them, have double that in cooking experience.
Burrito Familiar has been at its current location at the corner of Buffalo Grass and Airport Road for about a year and a half. Before that, the truck was parked where the Dollar General now is.
While it is best known for its tacos and burritos (Salinas says his bistec is the most popular), Burrito Familiar also serves up righteous caldos, cocteles and tortas. All the food is reasonably priced, and the portions are generous.
We started with a shrimp cóctel ($8), a Burrito Familiar house specialty. The cocktail is a 20-ounce Styrofoam cup of goodness that even Mayor Bloomberg could get behind. No diabetes-inducing death-potion here. It consists of copious amounts of shrimp, avocado, cucumber, onion and cilantro, all swimming in a blend of V8 and Clamato juices. It is served with lime wedges and a half-sleeve of saltine crackers—more than enough for a couple of people to share. It’s the perfect thing for a hot and dusty summer afternoon, and would go great with a few shots of tequila or ice-cold vodka (unfortunately not on the menu).
After sampling the cocktail, we moved on to an equally impressive order of tacos. Laras and Salinas encourage customers to mix and match, and the combinations seem limitless. An order of tacos consists of four tacos served on toasty corn tortillas, topped with cabbage, tomato, onion and cilantro, with limes and a tasty, house-made salsa verde on the side ($6.50). Avocado is $0.50 extra. They do a surf-and-turf (beef and shrimp) taco that’s popular with regulars, but we kept it simple, ordering two pollo, a bistec and a lengua taco.
The chicken and bistec tacos are enjoyable. Both are popular with customers, and for good reason. The chicken and steak get nice flavor and texture from being cooked on the flat-top before being mounded on doubled corn tortillas. The light seasoning of salt and pepper allows the heat and tang of the salsa verde to pop.
While the chicken and beef tacos are good, the lengua tacos are great. I must admit (against the advice of my legal counsel and cardiologist) that I love tongue. It’s so beefy and fatty. Offal aficionados the world over have glamorized this somewhat off-putting cut through brining, braising and grilling, but the guys at Burrito Familiar keep it simple; they season the shit out of it with chile and spices and fry it on the griddle. The tender, crispy chunks of greasy greatness make one hell of a taco. The lengua tacos alone are reason enough for making the trek.
Stop by and see Laras and Salinas next time you’re out on Airport Road. They’re there seven days a week, rain or shine. Business is best on the weekends, so be sure to call orders in ahead if crunched for time—but even at their busiest, the Amigos Antojitos can turn an order around in no time. Seating is a bit of an issue, mostly because there isn’t any, but there’s room for a couple of people to eat at the counter on the truck. So drive up, turn the stereo down and enjoy some tasty eats, courtesy of Burrito Familiar.
Serving: lunch and dinner
Menu: tacos, burritos, tortas, caldos and cocteles
Order up: under 10 minutes
Recommendation: well worth the drive