Veracruz All Natural
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Everybody has a story. Reyna and Maritza Vazquez’ story began in Veracruz Mexico, where they were born and raised. Their mamá cooked for several different restaurants from their home kitchen. She taught the girls the ins and outs of the restaurant business; thus they began cooking in their mother’s kitchen at ages 9 and 12.
Once Reyna and Maritza graduated from high school, they moved with their family to Austin, Texas. Everyone in their family worked hard, but it seemed that their mamá was getting older and working constantly to make ends meet. One Christmas Eve, the entire family was gathered to celebrate Christmas. Except for Mamá Reyna, who was still at work. Hours passed, but she never arrived. So Reyna drove to the restaurant she was cleaning to see what was going on. While her Mamá had accomplished a lot of cleaning, there was a massive amount of work that still had to be done. So Reyna pushed up her sleeves and helped her mamá finish cleaning the restaurant. It was after midnight when both Reyna’s emerged and were able to go home and celebrate Christmas with the entire family. But that night changed everything for the young women and their family…
In 2006, Reyna bought and opened a small truck where she sold snow cones with natural juices. In 2008, she asked her sister and best friend Maritza to be her partner. The goal was always to serve food. And as more and more people started visiting the trailer, they bought a trailer that had enough space for a grill. That’s when they started making tacos and tortas. In 2010, they moved to a larger trailer on East Cesar Chavez and opened an additional truck at Radio Coffee & Beer. Reyna and Maritza’s goal was to own their own restaurant. Thus, on April 22, 2016, they opened their first brick and mortar restaurant in Round Rock, Texas.
Veracruz All Natural’s specialty is to make fresh tacos and salsas that are authentic to Mexico! Their tortillas and chips are homemade and they shop every day to buy the freshest ingredients. Reyna and Maritza want people to feel like they have been invited over for a home cooked meal in Veracruz, Mexico. It’s not just that they serve home cooked food—but it is served fresh. For example, they cook corn tortillas as the customer orders their tacos. Their tortilla chips are also freshly made each day.
Veracruz All Natural has been honored by just about everyone in the food industry for their Migas Tacos, including: The Austin Chronicle, Rachel Ray, Rolling Stone Magazine, Best of Austin, Austin Eater, Texas Monthly, Bon Appetite, and the Food Network. It’s also of note to mention that Reyna makes her famous Tres Leche’s Cake every year for Willie Nelson’s birthday.
In October, I visited the Veracruz All Natural location in Round Rock, Texas for the first time. When you step into this charming café, you’ll notice the enticing smells of old Mexico. The smell of fresh corn tortillas, roasting vegetables, salsas, fresh fruit, and sizzling meats permeates the air. A friendly and knowledgeable staff and a café full of happy customers are a trademark of Veracruz All Natural. And finally, there is beautiful artwork by Paul Siegel of Simply Art gracing each of the walls. The artwork is all original and for sale while you conduct your journey into old Mexico.
Veracruz All Natural is known for their three unique salsas… The first is a tasty, creamy avocado salsa made with jalapeño peppers that is the least spicy. It has a mild heat that comes almost immediately. To give you an idea of the heat levels, it rates roughly 10,000 SHU on Scovilles Heat Scale, which goes up to 2,200,000 SHU for the Carolina Reaper—a hybrid chili pepper that was rated number one by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012. The second was a red salsa made with the diablo grande chili and it was the hottest of the three—100,000 SHU. It’s a slow heat that climbs up the back of your throat. It’s not outrageously hot where you would need milk to cool down your mouth! But my favorite was the Molcajete Roasted Salsa. The Molcajete consists of roasted tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, onions, and a few other ingredients. It rates 10,000 SHU on the Scoville Scale. Once they are roasted, the fruits and vegetables are placed in the molcajete, a mortar and pestle, and hand crushed to create this beautiful salsa.
The chorizo and egg taco began with a scratch-made corn tortilla that was generously filled with moist, delicate eggs and bold chorizo. The great thing about this breakfast taco is that it was packed with flavor without being greasy! That’s one of the things that they excel at Vera Cruz All Natural! Packing food and drinks with delicious flavor, while remaining healthy.
The Migas consisted of eggs, tortilla chips, avocado, pico de gallo, and cheese. It took Reyna months to perfect not only her Migas recipe, but the process for making them. The key is to keep the tortilla chips crispy within the eggs—and this can be a challenge! Another component is to use fresh ingredients that are complemented with harmonious seasonings. This makes for a fabulous taco—with or without salsa!
The La Reyna was created by and named after Reyna. It consisted of a fresh corn tortilla with egg whites, spinach, avocado, carrots, mushrooms, red bell pepper, pico de gallo, and cheese. The things that stuck out most in the La Reyna was the sweetness of the peppers and the earthy, meatiness of the mushrooms. Of course, I used the molcajete salsa on my taco. The overall combination had amazing, audacious flavors!
The scratch-made Chips and Guacamole were magical! The guacamole consisted of smooth chunks of avocados blended with tomatoes, cilantro, onions, lime, and salt. This brought back one of my fondest food memories, which was my Dad teaching me how to hand-make fresh guacamole. No fillers, just fantastic ingredients blended to make something really special!
The Fish Taco was comprised of a freshly made corn tortilla with grilled tilapia, cabbage, mango pico de gallo, avocado, cheese, chipotle mayo salsa, and a generous squeeze of lime. The tilapia has a mild fish flavor that took on the flavors of pepper and garlic. The lime was a beautiful addition that made me feel like I was eating something fresh off the boat. In addition, the flavor of the chipotle mayonnaise was outstanding and complimented the fish beautifully!
The Al Pastor Taco was comprised of marinated pork, cilantro, and onions. The pork was crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. It was cut thinly and placed into a soft corn tortilla. The fresh flavors of the cilantro and white onions marry well with the deep, smoky chili flavors of the pork! The mild Green Salsa was a nice addition to the taco. But when combined, they created a marvelous trip into old Mexico.
The Steak Torta consisted of steak, cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and mayo and was served on an oblong 15 cm firm, crusty white sandwich roll. The steak was juicy and plentiful. In fact, I would say that this torta was remarkable! Next, I tried the Al Pastor Torta. It consisted of pork that was marinated in chili powder and pineapple. The pork and pineapple were generously piled on top of the large bolillo and tasted like heaven!
Veracruz All Natural is not limited to tacos and tortas! They started out as a trailer that provided natural fruit juices for snow cones. And they’re still making their juices along with agua frescas and smoothies. The Mango Tango was a creamy creation that consisted of low-fat yogurt with freshly cut mango. While the Berry Good smoothie consisted of freshly squeezed orange juice, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Both were outstanding and chocked full of fruity deliciousness!
Agua Fresca’s are light fruit drinks that are very popular in Mexico. They can consist of any fruit you can provide as well as a little bit of sugar. Agua Fresca’s often-times have additional ingredients such as cereal, flowers or seeds. I tried the Watermelon, Cantaloupe and Pineapple Agua Frescas at Veracruz All Natural. Each was as unique as its’ primary fruit, but with something extra! For example, the Watermelon Agua Fresca is simply made with watermelon, water and a little bit of sugar. Each of the aqua Fresca’s were exceptional! I buy a lot of fruit, but their drinks tasted better than any of the fruit I buy! I think the key is buying the freshest ingredients and that is something that they do very well!
I had a wonderful experience at Veracruz All Natural! So much so that I have already been back for taco’s and agua fresca’s. So what were my favorites? I had a few! The La Reyna, because its flavors were so bold. The Fish Taco, because it tasted so fresh with that squeeze of lime and the chipotle mayo salsa. The Mango Tango because it tastes tropical and mango is one of my favorite fruits! And finally, the Watermelon Agua Fresca because I love watermelon. Each was a hard decision to make because the food was all magnificent!
Good Eats Austin Recommends…
Chorizo and Egg Taco
Eggs, tortilla chips, avocado, pico de gallo, cheese
Egg whites, spinach, avocado, carrots, mushrooms, red bell pepper, pico de gallo, cheese
Chips and Guacamole
Avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, onions, lime, and salt
Chips and Molcajete
Made in a molcajete with roasted tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, onions, and avocado
Grilled tilapia, cabbage, mango pico, avocado,
cheese, chipotle mayo salsa
Tacos de Carne:
Al Pastor Taco
marinated pork, cilantro, onions
Steak, Ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and mayo
Pork, pineapple, cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and mayo
Low-fat yogurt with mango
Freshly squeezed orange juice, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
Watermelon, Cantaloupe and Pineapple Agua Frescas
PHOTOGRAPHY: DESIREE DUNNING
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