I love tacos. There, I said it. Since giving up tortillas and taco shells, my love has grown more complicated, but I still love tacos. The complication in my love affair being that I need a fork and knife to enjoy them. If you love tacos as much as I do, Torchy’s is tough to touch when it comes to tasty tacos. Founded in 2006 by Michael Rypka, the chain started in Austin, Texas in a food trailer. Torchy’s is known for their adventurous and quirkyly named tacos, like the Republican, the Democrat, the Trailer Park, Mr. Orange, etc. The locations in Houston are all very busy and are frequented by lots of hipsters. Once you make it through the long line of the skinny jeans clad patrons and make your way to the counter you are in for a challenge. Picking a taco from their extensive menu is no easy task. They are good sized tacos, so you can’t get one of each. You will just have to pick two or three each trip, and work your way down the menu, not a bad problem to have for carb-conscious connoisseurs.
Ordering carb-concious tacos
The Green Chile Pork taco is the original taco that got the fire going for Torchy’s, so I had to try that one. It is made up of just what you would expect: slow-roasted pork carnitas simmered with green chiles and topped with queso fresco, cilantro, onions, & a wedge of lime. I also ordered the Crossroads. It is loaded with smoked beef brisket, grilled onions, jalapeños, cilantro, jack cheese & a slice of avocado. served with tomatillo sauce. And to round things out, I ordered a Mr. Pink: uajillo (gua-hee-yo) seared ahi tuna,* cabbage fresca, cilantro, queso fresco, a wedge of lime, and served with chipotle sauce. I’ve also had the Democrat, the Republican and the Fried Avocado. I have to stay away from the Fried Avocado now since it is battered in gluten, but man is it a good tasting taco for your non-paleo friends that join you for lunch or dinner at Torchy’s.
Another challenge you will face is what kinds of sauce you might want on the side. Torchy’s has six different fresh hand-made salsas. Unlike the taco selections, you can try one of each of these. My favorite is the Avacado: tomatillos, fresh avodaco, and roasted jalapenos.
Paleo friendly tacos
Many times when I tell my server that I don’t want my taco in a tortilla, I get a blank stare, but ordering your tacos sans tortillas is no big deal at Torchy’s. They lovingly serve all the ingredients in a small black bowl. They do a nice job with the presentation, and I think they give you a bit more food in a bowl than when they they serve them in tortillas. If you recall my review of Pappasito’s Brisket tacos, I said they were lacking in smoky flavor. Not the case at Torchy’s. The Crossroads is the Brisket taco to judge all other brisket tacos by. The brisket is smokey and super tender. The fresh slice of avocado, sliced jalapenos, and grilled onions make this an incredibly tasty taco. Take note Pappasito’s, this is how it is done.
Next up I had the Mr. Pink. As I mentioned earlier, I love tacos. I also love Quentin Tarantino movies, so how could I resist a taco named after Steve Buscemi’s character in Reservoir Dogs? Mr. Pink did not disappoint. The well seasoned tuna combined with the fresh cut cabbage made for a really light and refreshing taco—perfect for the summer time.
Finally I had the Green Chili Pork taco for desert—how’s that for low-carb. This is the taco that started it all for Torchy’s, and it is easy to see why. The pork was really tender and it was paired with green chiles for a powerful flavor combination. As good as the other tacos were, this may have been my favorite. Be sure and dump some of the Avocado salsa on this one for some added kick.
Damn good tacos.
Torchy’s lives up to their slogan. They truly do make “Damn good tacos.” This place is one of my favorites. If you have one near by, I highly recommend you pay them a visit. You won’t have to bend on your carb-concious lifestyle, and you will leave damn happy.