Austin's food truck & stall scene is legendary. There are vacant lots turned into beer gardens and outdoor music venues that have several airstream-style food stalls severing up some of the best food in Austin. One such place is South First Street, a block west of famed South Congress. We were tipped off to Torchy's Tacos by friends who have frequented it a few times and said their veggie options were amazing. They have a few outposts throughout the city including brick & mortar locations, but we decided on the one closest to our hotel in a trailer park.
Of the four or five stalls in this converted lot, Torchy's Tacos was the most popular with a line about 15 deep at 11:45am on Sunday. A real mixed crowd as well, which gives this city it's soul - a graduation party, young well-to-do families, a few tourists, hipster musicians, and uber cyclists. Prices are per small soft taco at about $4.00 each. We decided to try two different tacos (The Independent and Fried Avocado) and an order of chips & salsa.
The Independent - fried poblano mushroom strips, refried black beans, roasted corn, escabeche carrots, queso fresco, cilantro, avocado with ancho aioli served on warm corn tortillas. This was our favorite, especially the ancho aioli sauce that packed a punch. We could have eaten several; a great elevated taco. The corn and carrots were slighted sweet so there was really nice balance of natural sweetness from the veggies, heat from the aioli, saltiness from the queso. I really enjoyed the combination, not something you would find a traditional taco. This elevated taco with earthy flavors was totally unexpected from a food stall. We're definitely fans.
Fried Avocado - fresh avocado chunks fried, pico, lettuce, cheese with poblano sauce served on warm corn tortillas. Somewhat like a traditional taco because of the pico, lettuce, cheese toppings, but with the twist of fried avocados. Considering Sheila is not a huge avocado fan, she would have preferred a thinner slice of avocado. I would tend to agree as the avocado ratio was a bit high. However, that was our only negative. The pablano sauce had really nice heat and creaminess. The corn tortillas (double layer) were light and airy. The veggies were wonderfully fresh. We both recommend trying it.
Chips & Salsa - homemade corn tortilla chips and fresh roja salsa of fire-roasted roma tomatoes, chilies, grilled onions, garlic, cilantro, and poquito lime. A fairly mild salsa, these were definitely addictive. The chips were fresh, very, very lightly salted and more salsa than we could have wanted. Despite Sheila complaining about having chips all week (she'd been there for the week), she had her fair share.
Torchy's Tacos is the epitome of Austin's food scene, expertly prepared and inventive food with fresh ingredients served from a food stall at dirt cheap prices. Basically quality food for the masses! Don't make the trip to Austin without trying Torchy's, you'll be craving it for weeks afterwards.