500 Tacos: Torchy’s Tacos | Cedar Park
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Torchy’s Tacos | Cedar Park
Hours: 7am-10pm Mon-Thu; 7am-11pm Fri; 8am-11pm Sat; 8am-10pm Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 07.04.15
Tacos like the American make sure I never get tired of Torchy’s, even if this is the seventh of 12 reports from the local chain with designs on the world. At the Cedar Park Torchy’s, you can get a local draft beer or a frozen margarita with lunch. And after spending an hour to go two miles on Ranch Road 620 to get here, I could use one.
Taco A: The American, July’s Taco of the Month
Torchy’s gets patriotic for July, celebrating our national love of things that don’t quite make sense but somehow work anyway. Such is the American, a fried chicken ... taco. Because we don’t have to make up our minds in the Great Melting Pot. Go ahead, throw on some pineapple. Works on pizza, right? Then coleslaw and pico de gallo so we can have soft, crunchy, sweet and hot, all at the same time. Then Torchy’s undercelebrated chipotle ranch. And cheese. Can’t forget cheese. The American’s hot and cool, with molten chicken at its core, a sturdy, spiky breading over dense white meat. The twang, sweetness, slaw and spice all salute that chicken. Long may it wave. At least until August 1. ($5.50)
Taco B: The Jack of Clubs from Torchy’s Secret Menu
I’m still recovering from the Ace of Spades (see it to believe it), and the Jack of Clubs from Torchy’s Secret Menu is the antidote, a vegetarian version of the Ace’s carnivore’s ball. Not that it’s exactly “lite.” There are these fried corn tortilla strips, this soft-fried egg, that cheese. But the Jack’s heart is in the right place, dressed out with refried black beans, soft-fried potatoes, sour cream and cilantro for the twin virtues of vegetarianism and abundance. Torchy’s bright hot Diablo sauce is the devil on this angel’s shoulder. ($3.75)
► About that soda fountain: Much as I need a margarita, Torchy’s drink station earns a mention for its long line of Maine Root sodas: Mexi-Cane Cola, root beer, black cherry, lemon-lime, vanilla cream and the Doppelgänger that doppelgängs only brown sugar water. But my favorite of the bunch is Think Pink Drink, which brings the agave-esque sweetness of prickly pear cactus fruit to tart lemonade. As good as an agua fresca. ($2.25)
► Tortillas: Both of these special tacos are built on spectacularly unspecial commercial flour tortillas. * And no, I will not stop “bringing it up,” Jean. I’m 51 years old and you can’t tell me what to say *
► Salsa: Of Torchy’s sextet of salsas, today we celebrate the undercelebrated chipotle ranch. It doesn’t have the color or the heat or the cool nicknames the other guys have, but it brings a little smoke and jalapeño swerve to the ranch dressing we already like so well.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
More Torchy’s in this series