Tacos provide endless inspiration for the blog Taco Journalism. (Photo/Courtesy Joel Salcido)

Food blogs we love: Austin’s Taco Journalism

In honor of SXSW, we’re featuring a unique food blog that has become the go-to source for hungry readers in search of the best tacos in Austin, Texas. Meet Mando Rayo, a member of the four-person team behind Taco Journalism  and  a foodie who considers himself Austin’s taco ambassador by spreading the love for all things folded within a warm tortilla.

Food blogger Mando Rayo.

Food blogger Mando Rayo.

Who’s blogging: I’m Mando Rayo, a nonprofit guy with a Si Se Puede attitude. By day I’m a community engagement specialist with Cultural Strategies, Inc. and provide multicultural marketing strategies for nonprofits and for-profits alike. By night, I’m Austin’s taco ambassador and have been spreading the Taco gospel through my blog at TacoJournalism.com. I’m a founding member of The Social Revolución at SXSW Interactive Festival and share my parenting hardships via #newdaddychronicles on Twitter. I’m currently working on my first breakfast taco book (“Austin’s Breakfast Taco: The Most Important Taco of the Day”) and I spoke at SXSW Interactive Festival with my Revenge of the Taco Blogger session.

Explain your blog name: TacoJournalism and the self-proclaimed Taco Journalists were born out of the need to find the real taco stories with hard-hitting taco facts and reviews and a love for the delicious handheld food, the taco.

Blogging since: Blogiando so hard since 2007

Blogging from: The taco capitol of the country: Austin, Texas

What inspired you to be part of a team devoted exclusively to blogging about the taco scene in Austin, Texas? When my friends asked me to write about tacos I said to myself – “My dream had come true!” (Full disclosure: I’m the only Latino on the TJ team so I pretty much give them street cred!) At work I was known as the taco guy, eating and buying my co-workers a plethora of tacos 5 days a week and now as part of the TJ blog, I can share my love for tacos with the world!

What’s so unique about the taco scene in Austin? Just like Chicago loves their deep dish pizza and Philly loves their cheesesteaks, Austin loves their tacos. Over the years, Austin’s taco scene has really grown and has inspired more taqueros to bootstrap their businesses out of trucks and trailers. Now we’re getting chefs and all kinds of trendy food connoisseurs to start their businesses the taco way, out of a trailer. Austin really owns the love of tacos because they’re tasty and you can have them any time of the day or night.

Among Mando Rayo's favorite tacos in Austin, Texas? This fried egg version.

Among Mando Rayo’s favorite tacos in Austin, Texas? This fried egg version. (Photo/Courtesy Joel Salcido)

What you’ve learned about food while blogging: Tacos are so versatiile. You can have them for breakfast (yes, breakfast tacos are amazing!), lunch, dinner, late night or on the streets! The options, oh the options! You can have flour, corn, fried, grilled, hard or soft and you can mix it up – carnitas, carne asada, barbacoa, veggie y mas. You can have one as a snack or 2-3 to really fill you up. It’s really the best thing you can eat. But one thing I’ve learned about food while blogging is that when doing a taco tour, try not to eat two per stop. You have to pace yourself!

What distinguishes a great taco from an ordinary one? Definitely the tortilla. It has to be fresh, hand-made and just like abuelita used to make. The beans are also extremely important. Beans are a good tester for any taco and the creamier the better. Basically beans are my Mexican Mayo; spreading a thin layer of beans on any taco makes it taste like buttah!

Where do you get inspiration for your posts? I think the inspiration to create the blog and to write about tacos comes from the history, culture and goodness of the taco. From al pastor to puffy. breakfast to al disqueada, I chow down the tastiest tacos Austin has to offer and get behind the scenes with the trailers, trucks and taqueros that make it all possible. I like discovering the stories, traditions and cultures behind the tacos and find out why Texans are proud taco eaters.

What have you learned from blogging? That’s it’s really hard if you’re not a writer. I’m a taquero at heart who just happens to write about them.

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If you’re in Austin for SXSW, tweet a photo of what you’re eating or drinking @NBCLatino.

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