500 Tacos: Torchy’s Tacos | South First

 
 
An Austin taco a day for 2015 — and then some
 
Torchy’s Tacos | South First
2809 S. First St., Austin (map), 512-444-0300, www.torchystacos.com
Hours: 7am-10pm Mon-Thu; 7am-11pm Fri; 8am-11pm Sat; 8am-10pm Sun
 
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 10.09.15
 
As Weekend Two of the Austin City Limits Festival launches today, Torchy’s Tacos will be in the food court yet again. Locals know that Torchy’s made the best ACL food of 2014, and the tourists will get a shot at their fabled green chile queso. Meanwhile, outside the gates, I’m visiting the least flashy and most Old Austinish of the 12 area Torchy’s featured in this series — the one on South First, just a half-mile from the original trailer, in the tiny former home of Nopalito’s.
 
Taco A: Green Chile Pork Missionary Style from the Secret Menu
It seems like only a few months ago I rhapsodized on the elegant simplicity of Torchy’s green chile pork. Forget all that and throw on a couple scoops of guacamole and a tangle of pickled pink onions, then put that on a half-crisp corn tortilla, then put that inside a flour tortilla like an inverse crunch wrap. As juicy, spicy, porky and handsome as the original might be, even the pretty people look better with tasteful accessories. ($4.25)
 
 
Taco B: Brushfire
Turns out I haven’t been the only jerk at Torchy’s for the last 10 months. Brushfire’s been there all along, bringing Jamaican jerk spice like pumpkin pie on fire to tender grilled chicken. The low growl’s made even more gravelly by grilled jalapeños and Torchy’s sweet-hot Diablo sauce, then softened up with sour cream and sweet mango.  ($3.75)
 
Taco C: The Scarecrow, October’s Taco of the Month
If you want a $5.50 version of the $3.75 fried chicken Trailer Park, the Scarecrow’s your man. Sure, the chicken tender’s exoskeleton is fortified with pumpkin seeds and there’s a matchbox worth of hot pickled carrots, but otherwise the roasted poblanos and queso fresco are just the Trailer Park in a Halloween mask for an extra $1.75.
 
 Tortillas: Do we really have to have the storebought tortilla discussion again? Yes? *puts down the phone and walks away*
 Salsa: Torchy’s creamy chipotle ranch completes the Scarecrow and the Missionary Style alike, while Diablo fans the Brushfire.
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The 500 Tacos Project
 
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
 
More Torchy’s in this series
► Round Rock  ► South First  ► Spicewood