Austin is awash in bad chips and salsa. Mexican and Tex Mex restaurants around town routinely call up one of the wretched commercial purveyors to have big 5lb bags of stale, flavor free totopos delivered to their loading docks.
In a way they’re not to be blamed. We’re genetically disposed toward demanding that our chips and salsa be free, be on table within moments of being seated and be delivered via the normal system; a smiling Mexican waitress.
The bad stuff is cheap, the dish is normally free-therefore you get what you pay for.
Years back I penned a piece titled “Take To The Streets They’re Charging For Chips And Salsa” where I related the following:
I’ve got a buddy who’s as Mexican as it gets.Big 300+pound Hoss Cat straight out of the bad end of El Paso.This man makes some mean Mexican food, has a black widow hair net that he wears in the kitchen and has been known to get sideways on the cerveza from time to time.
I ask him what he thinks about this phenomenon using [ Austin warehouse district restaurant] Maria Maria as an example.”Carlos Santana is letting la Raza down brah” he emotes with a sad wave of his giant, shaggy head.
I’m now ready to start paying. I just want the tortillas to be made in house, hand cut and fried per order.
Like they are at La Fruta Feliz.
I’ve eaten here for years. Way back in its pre-taqueria days it was the best agua fresca in Austin. It still is but now they also serve some of the best Mexican food in town. That story is for another day however. This article is solely confined to discussing chips and salsa and this little store serves some of the best in town.
Grab a $1.50 taco? Free.
Order a $2.50 tostada? Free.
You could probably just stick your head in the door and they’d toss a to go bag at you filled with the stuff if you acted nice.
I’ve written quite a bit about this little joint over the years and they’ve earned every word.
The red sauce is thin bordering on watery but it packs a good hot punch. I love the texture and the flavor. The green is much hotter, a tomatilla base and has nice chunks of white onions suspended in it.It’s divine.
The totopos come hot and salty. They’re thin, oddly cut and painstakingly homemade.
La Fruta Feliz is at the top of the chips and salsa game in Austin.
3124 Manor Rd
Austin, TX 78723