Sunday, October 31, 2010

On a Torchy's Tacos Tirade

My husband, Gene, was commenting to our friend and bishop, Mike McCullough, that we were looking for a good place to eat breakfast tacos. Bishop McCullough insisted we try Torchy’s Tacos on South 1st Street, assuring us they had the best tacos in town, and as an added bonus, they served Dublin Dr. Pepper on tap. Being an avid fan of Dublin Dr. Pepper, which uses Imperial Pure Cane Sugar (the original Dr. Pepper formula), my husband was sold, and our first trip to Torchy’s was the very next Saturday morning. That was last August, and I enjoyed that first trip to Torchy’s so much that I have returned as often as I can.

So far, I’ve been to 3 of the 7 Torchy’s Taco locations, and the South 1st Street location is still my favorite. Like a first love, I have such wonderful memories associated with this small South Austin taco shop. What first caught my attention was the little red devil on the sign surrounded by the slogan, “Torchy’s Damn Good Tacos”. As we entered the tiny diner-like restaurant and waited our turn in line, I studied the funky atmosphere and employees. (I think it might be a pre-requisite to have a large number of body tattoos in order to work at Torchy’s.)

I was actually grateful for the wait, so I would have time to read the handwritten menu on the wall. Decisions, decisions! Being a Saturday morning, I decided on the Migas, a breakfast taco recommended by the Torchy’s associate who took our order. We went in search of a table.

Even with all the people that were there for breakfast, we had no trouble locating a table outside in the covered courtyard. I marveled at the huge, beautiful hanging baskets draping the metal awning. I still want to know where they purchased those baskets!

Shortly, a young woman delivered the open-faced migas tacos to our table. I had picked up a sampling of every type of taco sauce, salsa and pico de gallo, ready for a taste test. The real question was whether or not I would use a fork or simply fold this soft taco together for my first bite. I started with a smidgen of Torchy’s Roja sauce, the mildest of the 5 sauces, made from fire-roasted roma tomatoes, chilies, grilled onions, garlic, cilantro and lime. As I took my first bite, I was overcome with an exquisite sense of flavors. Yum!

Something crunched in my biteful of eggs that was wonderful, yet unidentifiable. What could it be, I wondered? As I picked up a menu I reread the ingredients for the Migas – scrambled eggs, green chilies, avocado, pico de gallo, shredded cheese and crisp corn tortilla strips, served on your choice of tortilla. It was the corn tortilla strips that packed the Migas with a flavorful punch and crunch!

Next, I tried the Torchy’s Tomatillo sauce on my taco – a delicious blend of 3 fire-roasted chilies, tomatillos, grilled onions, cilantro and a shot of lime. The hotness indicator showed two flames. How does one describe perfection?!! So far, this one is my favorite Torchy’s taco sauce.

I prepared my palate for the Poblano Ranch sauce – a creamy Ranch dressing, blended with serrano peppers and grilled poblano peppers. This 3-flamed sauce is my husband’s favorite.

Gene warned me about the Chipotlé sauce, a light orange creamy sauce made from Ranch dressing, smoked chipotle peppers in adobo and roasted tomatoes. As I took my bite of migas with this scrumptious sauce, my tastebuds awoke!

Lastly and most carefully, I tasted the Diablo sauce, the hottest of all Torchy’s sauces, ranked with four flames. In Spanish, “diablo” means “devil”, and once the bright orange taco sauce, crafted from fire-roasted habanero chilies, blended with vinegar, spices and tomatoes, touched my tongue, I exclaimed, “This is damn good taco sauce!” Actually, I don’t talk like that, but it was really good, although much too hot for my Gringo tongue. The heat continued to smolder in my mouth several long minutes after I had finished my fabulous breakfast. This is the only sauce of the five made by Torchy’s that is bottled and may be purchased. Of course, we had to buy a bottle!

As a result of this extraordinary experience, I set a new tantalizing goal for my visit each and every Torchy’s Taco location in Austin and to sample every single type of taco they offer! I plan to rate each taco here on my blog, so stay tuned!

Torch those Tacos, Y’all!


  1. I stumbled on your blog looking for the answer to the hanging baskets as well. I found some here.


  2. Aaron, you are my new best friend! Thank you for the link. That's EXACTLY what we've been looking for! Can't wait to show the hubby!!

  3. Your very welcome Grayson. I actually used my own link on here to find it again =P. Nice blog. Post some pictures when you get your pot setup. I have yet to order mine due to my first child that will be here this month but hope to get one soon.