Living in Austin, MJ and I really should never run out of new places to eat. But sometimes we like a place so much that we find ourselves returning again and again. Torchy’s Tacos is one of those places. What started as a single food truck back in 2004 has grown to nearly 20 brick and mortar locations spread across 6 different Texas cities.
Even with the addition of multiple locations around town, there always seems to be a line of hungry Austinites waiting to partake in the delicious fare that Torchy’s has to offer. Our last visit was no different. The line was nearly to the door by the time we arrived, but the gang at Torchy’s made quick work of the crowd. Often I’ll let my eyes wander around the menu. From the migas to the burrito to the chips and dip…in the end, though, I can’t help but order one (okay…maybe 2 or 3) of their da*n good tacos :). On this day, I was particularly hungry. Capital “H” Hungry. Not just that, I was totally jonesing for some chips and queso.
So what kind of damage did we do? MJ went with a Mr. Orange (above left) – blackened salmon topped with a grilled corn and black bean relish, queso fresco and cilantro; drizzled with avocado salsa; and served with a wedge of lime on a…you guessed it – corn tortilla. As for me, they don’t call me Hungryman for nothing. With my first pick (sounds like I’m in a sports draft of some sort), I decided to go with their “limited time only” taco of the month, the American (above right). I swear..I just can’t stay away from those catch phrase items. This taco came loaded with fried chicken, pineapple cole slaw, bacon, Jack cheese, cilantro and chipotle ranch all on a flour tortilla. It was like a good summertime picnic had exploded in my mouth. Sweet, savory, refreshing, and spicy all at once.
Wanting to try something out of the norm, I also ordered the Brushfire (above left) – Jamaican jerk chicken, grilled jalapeños, mango, sour cream and cilantro; served with diablo hot sauce on a flour tortilla. I was expecting huge flavor from this one but was sadly disappointed. The chicken was dry, and there wasn’t nearly enough heat to balance out the sweet mango and rich sour cream. MJ enjoyed picking out the mango, so at least it wasn’t a complete wash. With my last pick, I stuck with one of my usuals…Crossroads (below) – smoked beef brisket with grilled onions, jalapeños, cilantro, Jack cheese and a slice of avocado; served with tomatillo sauce on a
fresh corn tortilla sorry…I opted for a flour tortilla instead. It did not disappoint :).
What really made the meal special was the incredible green chile queso. It was cheesy and smooth with a nice amount of heat. It didn’t clump up like some dips are prone to do, and I just couldn’t get enough of it. Whenever I think about chips and dip, I’m reminded of my very first date with MJ. Although I’m sure it horrifies her to think about it now, my beautiful bride was quite a different eater back then. As we enjoyed great conversation and got to know each other better, MJ methodically finished off 2 baskets of tortilla chips as she was introduced to Chuy’s creamy jalapeño dip for the very first time. We didn’t get anywhere close to eating 2 baskets of chips on this occasion much less 1, but the time spent together was equally as meaningful. I’m trying to implement a queso night here in the house, but it has yet to receive approval from the executive committee, aka MJ.
Just as MJ has her go-to recipes, I have my go-to restaurants and this is definitely one of them. Torchy’s Tacos, with their unique flavor combinations and passion for serving good food, continues to be an Austin favorite. Although I wish it could remain a secret gem here in the Cap City…I guess it’s a little late for that.
Torchy’s North – 11521 N FM 620, Austin TX 78726