A while back, I pitched the idea of writing a piece on cooking classic dishes from much-loved Austin restaurants to my editor (my usual excuse to gorge myself in the name of work). In the process of writing that piece, I took a trip to Guadalupe's own Torchy's Tacos. I hadn't eaten at Torchy's since I moved out of the dorms nearly two years ago, but I went there because students love it, visitors to the city know it by name and tacos are easy to make and fun to eat.
Given all that, why were Torchys' tacos so terrible? I ordered two of the restaurant's most popular tacos, the green chile pork and the fried avocado, and the innards of both tacos mushed into a baby food-esque mess that only an infant could love. And an infant could eat them, too: They only had spice once you poured the provided sauce on them. Maybe my standards are too high.
I grew up in San Antonio, arguably the taco capital of the United States, eating the best tacos in America two or three times a week.
Sure, like Torchy's tacos, the tacos I grew up with were made with sweat and grease and actively shun any vegetable that wasn't shredded lettuce or a component of salsa or guacamole. But the breakfast tacos of my youth were as simple as their ingredients, and when you bit into them, you could taste the grease of the potatoes and the spice of the chorizo and the silky textures of the egg. All that get's lost in Torchy's over-zealous taco combos.
Maybe I'm wrong here. The friend who joined me for the meal had Torchy's Dirty Sanchez and Trailer Park tacos and claimed both were spectacular. Though from where I was sitting, they seemed like a sloppy mess (and not the finger-licking good kind either.)
Still, I'm attempting to recreate some of Torchy's tacos on my own, not because they're spectacular but because I think it would be pretty damn easy to do a better job myself.