It started innocently enough.
Last week, in the run-up to the heavily commercialized grassroots festival South by Southwest, Eater Austin published an article by New York-based Texas native Matthew Sedacca* exploring one of the city's biggest exports.
Titled "How Austin Became the Home of the Crucial Breakfast Taco," Sedacca's piece looks at the mysterious birth of the cheesy, egg-filled flour tortilla and its slow rise to national prominence fuelled in large part by SXSW.
But, perhaps fatally, he fails to mention San Antonio in the article, a neighbouring city which also prides itself on being the home of the breakfast taco. In doing so, or rather, omitting to do so, Sedacca has inadvertently ignited a shitstorm of Texas rivalry which no one outside the Lone Star State could have anticipated.
My San Antonio hit back hard, calling out Austinites for being "arrogant" and "hipsters" and Sedacca for being (gasp) from New York, in a response piece titled "10 reasons to hate Austin beyond its breakfast taco arrogance." This list put Austin on the defensive, forcing Mayor Steve Adler to recruit the capital's youngest and bravest and wage an absurd "taco war."
"I come to you this morning with some grave news," he reportedly told a group of hundreds of University of Texas during the school's largest community service event of the year. "The city of Austin is currently at war with San Antonio over a subject that I know we all hold dear in our hearts. That, of course, is breakfast tacos."
MUNCHIES reached out to Adler's office to shed some light on this ongoing taco war, and to find out why any politician would feel the need to spend his or her time defending a taco. We spoke with Jason Stanford, Communications Director for the Office of Mayor Steve Adler, who said that, like all wars, taco war is hell.
"It's truly hell. I thought the fight over who had the best barbecue in Texas was the gastrointestinal culinary war to end all wars, but that's before a New York writer said that Austin has the best breakfast tacos," he said. "Some Austin food blog with a New York-based writer referred to Austin as the birthplace of the breakfast taco. Keep in mind that we're talking about scrambled eggs in a tortilla. There's not a ton of art to it. It's not like barbecue."
Stanford added that he feels like San Antonio may have overreacted. "San Antonio, and to a lesser extent, Corpus Christi and the valley, completely lost their minds. I am afraid that they may be taking this seriously. We, as a matter of official policy in the city of Austin, are not, and we fail to see that we have much to prove in this matter."
But despite the city's whole "not taking it seriously" stance, the Austin mayor's Communications Director couldn't help but throw a few chirps San Antonio's way. "[Due to] this ongoing and until now, unanswered assault, we have decided to mobilize our college kids to war," Adler said before going on a lengthy rant about the supremacy of Austin's taco cannon.
"We have, to our advantage, the world's only taco cannon," he boasted. "It is a military advance in the martial arts of breakfast tacos that the world has never seen, and I don't think anyone else can answer this. I think we have, at least in the theater of war, breakfast taco supremacy. And not just in Texas. I don't think that Putin has a breakfast taco cannon and I don't think he's man enough to try us." (Unfortunately, this claim isn't exactly true, given that Omaha, Nebraska boasts its own taco cannon.)
While it wasn't exactly clear whether or not Adler was being serious, he insisted that the mayor is dead-set on protecting Austin's culinary identity. "That's the mayor's position. We will not yield to tyranny when it come to breakfast tacos."
San Antonio's mayor, Ivy Taylor, has also come out swinging. "OK, Mayor Adler and all you Longhorn-loving, live-music-listening, boardwalk-running Austinites, I and all the taco-making, taco-eating, taco-reigning San Antonians will take your challenge and raise you one machacado con huevo taco on a flour tortilla recien hecha (freshly made) con salsa verde. #original512," Taylor told My San Antonio. "Let's finally end this taco-versy with a taste-off. I'll bring some of our favorite tacos and you bring yours." Taylor did not immediately respond to a request for comment from MUNCHIES
This so-called controversy is definitely keeping Austin weird.
Even Stanford admitted that this is becoming a bit of a distraction for Texans. "The problem is that this breakfast taco war is distracting us from the real war to fix our highways and make Austin more affordable to the folks living here. That being said, the breakfast taco thing has captured people's imagination."
*Full disclosure: Matthew Sedacca has previously written for MUNCHIES, but not about tacos.