Austin chef Joseph Gomez is honoring his roots through his new food truck Con Todo, focusing on comida frontera (Spanish for “border town food”). The Rio Grande Valley native is debuting the truck at Celis Brewery’s new beer garden in the North Austin neighborhood at 10001 Metric Boulevard starting sometime this month.
Gomez — who’s worked at Austin restaurants such as Be More Pacific, Thai Kun, She’s Not Here, and Easy Tiger — sees the truck as showcasing the foods and stories of the Rio Grande Valley and his family. It’s through the menu that he wants to jump-start “a long conversation about Mexican food in south Texas,” and what it truly is. To him, his home region isn’t as rightfully recognized as it should be. “Border towns are mostly looked down upon when it comes to most things,” he says, especially when it comes to food. These areas, in northern Mexico and southern Texas, are places “that very often get pushed aside or looked down as dirty or not as valued as other parts of Texas as you move central,” he says.
That perception is what Gomez is trying to change with the truck. For one thing, Gomez is pushing back against using the term “Tex-Mex” to describe Con Todo. The phrase is a loaded one for him: “‘Tex-Mex’ is a misrepresentation of Mexican food in Texas,” he says. The dishes often emblematic of Tex-Mex — melted yellow cheese, fried foods, and sizzling platters — isn’t the true food of the Rio Grande Valley. While, yes, “It’s undeniable that it is its own food culture,” he acknowledges, but says, “Our food gets lost in the shadow of ‘Tex-Mex,’ and that’s not how we eat.”
Con Todo is Gomez’s way of showing how he, his family, and community truly eat — their comida casera (Spanish for “homemade food”) — the food cultures, and identities that had already been established centuries before, Texas became an American state, and the stories leading up to the present day,” he says.
At Con Todo, this means tacos con todo (Spanish for “with everything,” which in taco terms means cilantro, onions, and salsa), with fillings such as barbacoa, pollo asado, mollejas, and nopales with potatoes. Elsewhere on the menu, there are wheat chicharrones, quesadillas with chorizo and potatoes, and bunuelos with optional ice cream for dessert. There will be two aguas frescas, one with hibiscus and the other with roasted corn and Mexican cinnamon.
Before the food truck, Gomez established Con Todo as a short-lived summer pop-up. Its first event was actually held at Celis Brewery in July, which sold out in two hours. “It was extra special seeing so many people from the RGV come out,” he says. He paused the pop-ups in August as the COVID surge overwhelmed area hospitals.
Joining Con Todo is chef John Gocong as Gomez’s business partner. Gocong is one of the co-owners of the Asian-Hawaiian restaurant Salty Cargo and worked at Uchi, which hosted a Con Todo pop-up earlier over the summer. He knew Gomez was opening the truck soon and reached out to help.
And before Con Todo, Gomez ran a very popular cookie delivery service, the Galleta Shop. He had started the dessert business during the pandemic to make money after he lost his job and he had to pause his plans of opening his own taqueria back in 2020. He stopped the desserts service earlier this year because he couldn’t keep up with the demand. Orders, he says, were coming in from as far as New York and Los Angeles. He used the time to focus on starting his new truck. But this doesn’t mean the sweets are gone forever — he does plan on throwing Galleta pop-ups in the future.
Con Todo’s hours will be from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. (or until sold out) Wednesday through Saturday, and from noon to 8 p.m. (or sold out) on Sunday.
- Con Todo [Official]
- Con Todo [Instagram]
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