500 Tacos: Torchy’s Tacos | Arbor Trails

An Austin taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Torchy’s Tacos | Arbor Trails
4301 W. William Cannon Drive, Austin (map), 512-514-0767, www.torchystacos.com
Hours: 7am-10pm Mon-Thu; 7am-11pm Fri; 8am-11pm Sat; 8am-10pm Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 04.09.15
Of the 12 Torchy’s reports in this series, this one is the Keep Austin Weirdest. In part because it includes a taco with fried chicken and a waffle, but also because the inspiration for that taco isn’t even from here. Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles is a California thing. But no matter where our favorite things come from — Jerry Jeff’s from New York, Stevie Ray grew up in Oak Cliff — we’re happy to call them our own.
Taco A: The Roscoe, April’s Taco of the Month
I’ll argue that a taco with fried chicken and a waffle is not a taco at all. You can’t just throw something in a tortilla and call it a taco, any more than you can just pour BBQ sauce on something and call it barbecue. But damned if it isn’t good. The chicken’s a curled knot of boneless white meat with a salty, KFC-style crust, resting on a toaster waffle resting on an egg fried hard as a welcome mat, with a strip of thick, crisp bacon. It comes with a tiny room-service glass jar of syrup. On a flour tortilla. Call it a taco; call it an unholy hybrid. Just call me the next time it’s the Taco of the Month.  ($5.50)
Taco B: Mr. Orange
Orange is the color of atonement today, a little bit of salmon to offset the fried chicken and syrup. And I feel forgiven. Salmon’s a tricky order even in a nicer place, where you want it to taste like salmon but too too much like salmon. Torchy’s hits that sweet spot with moist and flaky fish, then dusts it with something like Cajun spice that’s been stepped on more times than street drugs from “The Wire.” It lets a relish of black beans, corn and tomato do its Cali-fresh thing, finished with queso fresco and avocado salsa. A much better alternative to generic taqueria whitefish. ($4.75)
 Guacamole: I also sought healthier refuge from the Roscoe in a bowl of guacamole, only to trade its Type 2 diabetic indulgence for the hypertensive side effects of salt. It’s a big bowl, almost all avocado except for cilantro and a few stray onions, with a snowfall of queso fresco. With warm chips, it’s a bargain at $4.95; but it’s also a deal with the sodium chloride devil.
 Tortillas: Same old song: Stiff commercial flour and doubled-up yellow corn tortillas.
 Salsa: For the Roscoe, only something hot or sweet will do, and since syrup’s got the first part covered, Torchy’s habanero Diablo is the devil’s choice. For Mr. Orange: I assume you’re buying salmon to taste salmon. Only the cool, creamy, neutral avocado salsa will do.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
More Torchy’s in this series
► Round Rock  ► South First  ► Spicewood