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Comfort Food: Tex-Mex

From Texas Highways

It’s a Texan birthright to argue for a favorite Tex-Mex plate and place. What all Texans seem to agree on is that Tex-Mex is simply the finest variation of Mexican food in existence.

The folks west of here from New Mexico to California can have their versions—just give us our cheese enchiladas, fajitas, puffy tacos, and chips and salsa, please. It’s certainly worth noting that credit for inventing the combination plate goes to El Fenix, a Dallas landmark since 1918. Why we crave this food is simple, according to the late and much-missed Tex-Mex ambassador and restaurateur Matt Martinez Jr. of Austin: It was Matt’s belief that the combination of protein, carbs, and fat just makes us feel so good, we want to eat it everyday—and so we do. The food his family made famous is in your top five, of course.

5. Matt's El Rancho, Austin

The Martinez family is credited with opening the first Tex-Mex restaurant in Austin, a long-ago café that evolved into Matt’s, which dates from the 1950s. Among reasons that generations of Tex-Mex addicts keep these tables full are the renowned Bob Armstrong Dip (queso, taco meat, guacamole); smoked beef flautas; burritos blanketed in chili con carne; and a distinctive chile relleno, garnished with pecans, raisins, sour cream, and onion.


Kevin Wilson