|I play poker one night a month with my three best buddies: Terry Porter, Steve Cook and Robert Morgan. We play at the Austin Club in downtown where we enjoy a nice, quiet, relaxed atmosphere. No loud music. No smoking. No hipsters. The bar area where we play is almost never crowded. There are a couple of other regulars there (the" Mayor" and his buddy, the "Mayor Pro-Tem") but we mostly have the place to ourselves. It's cool, dark and comfortable. The wait staff (thanks Johnny!) serves us cold beers, popcorn, nuts and provides the decks of cards and poker chips for our game. What more could you ask for? It's a little slice of heaven here on earth.|
When we finish playing we head to El Gallo Mexican restaurant on South Congress (across the street from St. Edward's University) for our post game meal. That's right, it's on South Congress, not SoCo. I've lived in this town for 57-years and I'm here to tell you that there is no SoCo. Go look at the street signs. They all say South Congress. Let's keep it that way.
El Gallo has been around for years serving very good Mexican food in a fairly small space whose decor hasn't changed in many, many years (although the framed 8x10 black & white photograph of Austin icon Packer Jack has mysteriously gone missing). There is a very good mariachi band (they take requests) that plays some nights.
I always order the same thing: migas. The dish is outstanding and it's just the right amount of food for a late night dinner, especially after I've had a few beers. We used to go to Matt's El Rancho on South Lamar (another old-time favorite Austin Mexican restaurant) after our poker games but it's always crowded and extremely loud, so much so that we decided to go to the smaller, less crowded and more laid back El Gallo.
If you're looking for some good Mexican food (in a town that is full of Mexican restaurants), check out El Gallo. If you're an old-time Austinite (like me) who hasn't been there in awhile, it's high time you paid a return visit to "the rooster". You'll be glad you did.