Head for Mexico's delicious, gooey center with today's Groupon: $20 gets you $40 worth of authentic Mexican fare at Hecho En Mexico, the charming little cocina in south Austin. Hecho En Mexico strives to bring the traditional flavors of Mexico north of the Rio Grande (which means Big Grand in Spanish) with service that's as warm and friendly as recently prepared ground beef molded into a smiley face.Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
From the exterior, it doesn't look as if much has changed about Buddy's Convenience Store, a 30-year-old stalwart of supplies and Texaco gas. The shop still sports its modest, ranch-style frame and functioning pumps, but inside it's another story. Jorge and Julie Garcia, scions of the family that spawned Curra's Grill Restaurant in South Austin, purchased the old filling station and slowly transformed it into a bastion of fresh, authentic Mexican cuisine called Señor Buddy's.
Now, in addition to the fuel that still flows from the pumps, 20 foam-flecked taps gush with draft beers to accompany a full menu of seafood enchiladas, breakfast tacos, tender cuts of pork and steak, and Curra's exclusive Oaxacan coffee. Out back, majestic trees cast cool shadows and misguided fishing lines over an expansive outdoor patio, where patrons can enjoy the soothing sounds of live music every Friday and Saturday beneath strings of twinkling lights.
The aromas of vanilla and cinnamon lure passersby into La Mexicana Bakery, where they are confronted with a rich landscape speckled with scarlet poinsettias and green cacti. Joining these floras on the dining room’s wall-length mural is an illustration of a village baker pulling sweet breads from a fiery oven.
Fortunately, the bakery’s three-dimensional treats are just as enticing. The Becerra family opened the bakery more than two decades ago, and it continues to stay true to the tastes of the family's native Querétaro and Guanajuato with a selection of traditional Mexican pastries that includes bolillo and telera bread. With advance notice, they can customize cakes in flavors such as chocolate and tres leches to help celebrate weddings and quinceañeras or hail the arrival of a new coffee percolator.
Open around the clock, the bakery also serves savory Querétaro-style enchiladas rojas and breakfast tacos that stack eggs and cactus atop warm, homemade flour tortillas.