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John Riceburg’s Berlin Breakfast Taco Challenge

John is visiting the People's Republic of Austin. And he's found something that Berlin needs desperately.

Image for John Riceburg's Berlin Breakfast Taco Challenge
Photo by jeffreyw, edited by Viktor Richardsson (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

Hey guys! Greetings from the People’s Republic of Austin!

I’m visiting friends this week. And while I’m enjoying the sunny weather here, there’s also so much I miss about Berlin: You can go anywhere on public transport (which I love, by the way) and strangers don’t try to start conversations with you. Still, there’s one reason why I’m considering staying in the capital of Texas forever. I can explain it in two words:

Breakfast Tacos.

Is everyone familiar with the concept? It’s a small flour or corn tortilla wrapped around a breakfast-themed filling: eggs, bacon, chorizo sausage, cheese, beans, potatos, bell peppers, and whatever else you can think of. Plus salsa. Lots and lots of salsa. They’re delivered in aluminum foil, so you can take them along anywhere.

Tacos give you a very different feeling at the start of your day: Instead of a tiny Brötchen with some margarine and jam, you get scrambled eggs with fried chorizo, providing enough grease to kill a horse. If anyone has ever invented better food for a hangover, they haven’t told me about it.

Sure, there’s ever more decent Mexican food in Berlin, but the breakfast segment represents a huge Marktlücke, a hole in the market. Both Santa María and Agüevo used to offer a breakfast menu on Sundays, and they were both great. Burrito Baby also used to offer a vegan breakfast burrito, but in my opinion it doesn’t quite count without some dead animal parts. All of them gave up due to low demand.

It’s not all bad news, though. You can still find a decent vegetarian breakfast burrito, chilaquiles and huevos rancheros at Maria Bonita in Prenzlauer Berg, and Santa Maria Eastside still does a meaty Mexican brunch. But the closest thing to my beloved breakfast tacos might be the chilaquiles plate from California Breakfast Slam. This includes eggs, beans, meat, salsa, guacamole and a bunch of other stuff. But it’s too much – I literally can’t eat for 24 hours after I have one of these. Plus, I couldn’t afford to eat a chilaquiles plate every day.

So that’s why I’m starting John’s Berlin Breakfast Taco Challenge. I don’t understand the economics of selling food – that’s why I’m a writer – but it seems clear that you’ll need a langen Atem (a bit of patience) to get Berliners used to their daily morning taco. But once you do, just wait for the money to start rolling in.

For my part, I can commit to buying at least one taco every single day of the year. (You can have that in writing if you want.) I bet most of Berlin’s Texan community would sign up as well.