Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Eat the Menu Interlude: Tacodeli vs Torchy's

This is part of an ongoing series about my quest to try all of the yumminess at local restaurant Tacodeli. See my eat the menu tag for the other parts of the series.

As I mentioned yesterday, the readers of the Austin Chronicle voted local chain Torchy's Tacos as "Best Taco" and "Best Taqueria" over my beloved Tacodeli. I'd been to Torchy's several times, and even enjoy them quite a bit, but I didn't think they measured up to Tacodeli... but I hadn't really measured them, so I couldn't be sure. Today I fixed that.

The closest thing I could get to a consensus from friends in family was that the Green Chili Pork (bottom left in the photo) and Ranch Hand (bottom right) were the best things at Torchy's, so I got both to pit them again the wonderful Tacodeli Mole Taco Chicken (top of the photo). It was definitely a wonderful lunch, but I was determined to give these all as honest of a rating as I could.

Of course, for starters, Tacodeli's Mole Taco Chicken got its 1.0 moles (in that it's what the whole scale is based on, that's unsurprising). It was nice to experience that "Grilled chicken smothered with a traditional, made-from -scratch mole. Garnished with cilantro, onion and crumbled queso fresco." again, though. Yum!

The Green Chili Pork, "Slow roasted pork carnitas simmered with green chilies and topped off with queso fresco, cilantro, onions, and a lime wedge served on a corn tortilla with our green salsa," was definitely a strong contender. While it tasted mostly like pork (until I smothered it in the green salsa), that pork was very well cooked, so I don't fault it. I'd said back on day 4 that other tacos in Austin were probably in the 0.3-0.5 mole range, but that didn't turn out to be true. I give Green Chili Pork from Torchy's a respectable 0.6 moles. Still not enough to dethrone Tacodeli, though.

Would the Ranch Hand, "Tender strips of beef fajita over scrambled eggs and topped off with cheese. Served on a flour Tortilla with our spicy Diablo sauce," do the job? It was definitely a pile of cheesy goodness, which puts it above the Green Chili Pork... but not far enough above. I give it 0.7 moles.

Not that this is at all surprising to anyone coming to this blog in particular, but today's test pretty much confirmed what I was already thinking. Tacodeli's tacos are just more... complex than Torchy's. That appeals to me, but I understand that it doesn't necessarily appeal to everyone. Perhaps one of these days I'll figure out a way to do this test more blind, but, for now, I'm going to have to trust that I'm not just tricking myself into thinking Tacodeli is better. Until then, I will continue to deliciously deceive myself, if necessary.

BTW, one thing that's both nice and annoying about Torchy's is that it wouldn't take me long at all to Eat the Menu. I'll very likely work my way through that one after I finish Tacodeli (and take some time off from tacos to mix things up).

Tomorrow I'll return to my walk through the Tacodeli menu. I actually have a special to try: Shrimp Tacos. Any suggestions for taco #2?


Jessica said...

Puerco borracho and Puerco verde were the ones I rated 1.2 Changos

Nate Harrison said...

My standard order was 1 Mojo Fish and either 1 Adobados or 1 Puerco borracho (or both).