Restaurant Review: Changos @ 29th & Guadalupe

By the Discriminating Gourmand

It is a treat to let the fans of The.Well.Set in on Changos. Owned by the same owners of Manuel's downtown (eh), the restaurant itself is easy to overlook – housed in very nondescript building it could easily be mistaken for an unsuccessful chain restaurant. I love this place and this is less of a review and more of an advertisement. At Changos the menu is simple, the tortillas are homemade, and the food is fresh. And it’s never busy, I love that. In fact, I hesitated a little bit about letting the Changos secret out because restaurant overcrowding has made it almost impossible to get a seat at some of my favorite Austin gems (cough, Counter Cafe). But, I’m no food snob, just a man who appreciates a good meal….and a good deal. The price is right at Changos, and like a lot of places it’s all about what you order – so let me walk you through it.

The agua frescas here are the best in Austin. They are served fountain style and I like to really fill up – especially with their Horchata. Horchata is a rice milk with vanilla, cinnamon and cane sugar. Be careful to not develop a taste for it because it will rot the teeth right out of your head. They drink this stuff like crazy in Central America. The watermelon agua fresca tastes exactly like watermelon juice and it’s probably nature’s best hangover cure. An inside source told me it takes the juice of seventy watermelons just to make a pitcher of the stuff.

I first went to Changos craving a burrito and the Burrito Maximo delivered. It’s big and delicious. And they put pees in the rice, a little different and a pleasant touch. Go with the black beans, steak, and ranchera sauce.

For the value minded such as myself, Changos offers a lunch special of enchiladas or tacos with rice, beans, and agua fresca for $6.95. Can’t beat it. I suggest the pork carnitas enchiladas with ranchera sauce and pinto beans. I can’t recommend the other specials because I’ve never ordered them. I’m not even interested, the enchiladas are that outstanding. The rice is never dry and the beans are really flavorful. I like to mix them together – sounds crazy I know, but that’s how the DG gets down at Changos.

The nachos are surprisingly good. Personally I would only ever order nachos as an appetizer and Changos is not the type of place you order appetizers at. I tried them once and was hooked. They use a unique type of cheese (it’s almost like white queso) with thick chips that are unlike any other tortilla chips I’ve ever had but are damn tasty. They will work as a meal but make certain to add the fajita beef.

The quesadilla is huge at Changos. They use a burrito sized tortilla. Again, I like to add fajita beef. You have to eat it there because if you take it home it will get soggy, otherwise Changos is a fine take-out establishment.

I’ve never had the fish tacos, mostly because there are much better places nearby to get fish tacos and they usually get mixed reviews. Order at your own risk. People also seem to order the tacos al pastor quite a bit.

Here’s another secret about Changos, their breakfasts are amazing. You have to get their early, but they have top notch breakfast tacos. Very very cheesey and they aren’t shy about loading them down with ham. The breakfast quesadilla is much smaller than the quesadilla (it’s made with a regular sized tortilla I think) and it comes with Anaheim peppers. It is a little spicy so try it with sour cream for a different style breakfast.

If you like simple, well prepared, fresh food and unbelievable agua frescas then you too will become a regular at Changos – just like the Discriminating Gourmand.

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