With an escalating culinary battle threatening to destabilize the region, the mayors of Austin and San Antonio met Thursday morning to announce a taco truce.
“As St. Paul admonishes us, let us not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with breakfast tacos,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said. “We will have guac in our times.”
Adler and San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor sought to bring to a close a weekslong feud between their cities over which has the better breakfast tacos, proclaiming peace with the signing of the "I-35 Accords" and declaring each other’s tacos similarly delicious.
As the history books will show, the Great Breakfast Taco War of 2016 was first ignited by a provocative article in Eater Austin from writer Matthew Sedacca, headlined "How Austin Became the the Home of the Crucial Breakfast Taco."
Soon thereafter, a petition on Change.org to exile Sedacca from Texas quickly gained over 1,700 signatures, describing the Eater article as a “churlishly negligent treatise.” Sedacca’s “wild inaccuracies, which dangerously approach libel,” the petition reads, “have already stirred the ire of many South Texas communities and further discord may loom on the horizon.” Competing op-eds in the cities’ respective newspapers only further escalated the conflict.
But, proclaiming March 10, 2016, as "Breakfast Taco Day," Adler and Taylor sought to put aside their differences and embrace their mutual appreciation of the popular morning meal.
“What we must do and what we will do is lead,” Adler said alongside Taylor at Austin's downtown Hilton hotel. “And that means celebrating the fact that there is more that unites our tacos than divides them. Let us break our fast with the tortilla of hope and the egg of peace.”
Taylor brought breakfast tacos from Mittman Fine Foods, her favorite east San Antonio spot, offering Adler a selection of bacon and egg on corn tortillas, chorizo and egg on flour tortillas, carne guisada on flour and carne guisada with cheese on flour. Adler complied with Taylor’s request for bacon and egg tacos, contributing a selection from Juan in a Million, the winner of the Austin Chronicle’s 2015 "Thrilla in the Tortilla" award.
Ahead of President Obama’s visit to the city on Friday, Adler said it was important to resolve the dispute before it got too far, explaining that “presidents don’t enter war zones." Both mayors touted the meeting as a positive opportunity to engender goodwill between their occasionally feuding constituents.
“Some of you may look upon these breakfast tacos and feel only hunger,” Adler said. “I pity those people, for when I look at these breakfast tacos, I feel hope and a renewed friendship between our cities.”
Taylor had initially scheduled a trip down to Austin for an education panel at the SXSWedu festival but decided, in consultation with Adler, that her visit would also provide a convenient opportunity to “settle this little taco squabble.”
Adler called Taylor “an able leader of an enviable city” and commended her for resisting the temptation to use the “considerable firepower” at her disposal and “to seek instead an honorable and enduring peace.”
But while the cities’ dignitaries may be calling a truce, the foot soldiers are not ready to put down their swords just yet. San Antonio Chef Johnny Hernandez has challenged Austin to a breakfast taco showdown. His Austin-based counterpart has yet to be announced.
As far as Taylor is concerned though, the dispute has now been settled.
"I’m just excited about the relationship that Mayor Adler and I are developing to mutually benefit our communities, and we will be talking about some weightier issues,” Taylor said, citing their cooperation on education, traffic and other issues.
Adler and Taylor joined the mayors of West Sacramento, California, and Providence, Rhode Island, in the scheduled education panel shortly after the summit concluded.
Steve Adler is a major donor and former board chairman of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.