Torchy’s Tacos

1311 S 1st StAustin, TX 78704 • 512) 366-0537 • torchystacos.com

Can 1458 Yelpers be wrong? Yes. Yes they can. Granted this local legend has multiple locations around Austin, so this is only an indictment of the one in the trailer, located at the address above. That said I have a hard time believing the food varies drastically from spot to spot based on the consistent, glowing reviews, so take this as you will…

Sadly, beyond the queso I can’t really say I was impressed. So let’s start there, since it was the only highlight of the meal. Thick and creamy and spicy, it blows away that watery qurap they serve over at Kerby Lane. This is stick-to-ribs perfection.

But in terms of the breakfast tacos, which was the whole reason we came, I was nonplussed. I can make better at home. Shit, my eight year old son can make better. No, seriously! Both the Migas and the Wrangler left me scratching my head, and not just because of the dandruff. They weren’t super spicy, or super flavorful or well-balanced or anything even remotely worth mentioning, despite decent attempts to load them up with interesting ingredients like pico de gallo, green chiles, smoked brisket and huevos, naturally. But try as they may, I still walked away muy disappointed.

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Kerby Lane Cafe

2606 Guadalupe StAustin, TX 78705 • (512) 477-5717 • kerbeylanecafe.com

Just steps away from the University of Texas campus, Kerby gets a ton of business from students who are either nursing a hangover or feeding the munchies. And as a result, the reviews on Yelp are insanely skewed if you ask moi.

The queso is not the second coming. It’s just okay and nowhere near as good as the hype makes it out to be. It’s way too watery and compared to Torchy’s, let’s just say it gets torched.

The pancakes are crap. Dry and flavorless. Don’t let that picture fool you. The Cinnamon Roll being only marginally better than the Lemon Poppy, but that’s not saying much. In fact, I think Kerby owes my stomach a formal apology for these discs of disappointment.

Also unworthy of my jaw muscles was the Cuban benedict, which sounds great on laminated paper, but is so overcooked you’d think they were try to kill the chicken who laid the eggs.

The only thing I can say was even mildly decent was the green chili mac & cheese with fried chicken. It’s good. But even that needed extra chili to give it enough kick. I did like how the fried chicken remained crispy even though it sat in a bowl of creamy mac though. What I did not like is that the mac and cheese is school cafeteria grade. And what I actually hate is when a typical diner gets inflated into a legend.

Oxido

18 W 23rd St. New York, NY10010(212) 256-1072 • oxido.nyc

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I struggle to love this place simply because I don’t understand why you would copy Chipotle only to deliver slightly under that bar. I mean at least with Tres Carnes they upped the game. Or with Indikitch they went Indian instead of Mexican.

Oxido is not bad, mind you. And, it’s closer to my office than Chipotle or Tres Carnes, which is a nice convenience after the epically shitty winter we just had. But once, or rather IF the ice ever thaws, I think Oxido will struggle to keep their doors open through the warmer months.

Reason being that their menu reads better than your palate can discern. Things like poblano chicken, sweet corn relish, cilantro guac, smoked jalapeno salsa, queso blanca and salsa fresca all sound like a who’s who of Mexican magnificence, but once they wrap it all up in that tortilla it all blends together like a Mex-o-matic with virtually no separation in flavors.

Lastly, the décor is nothing special and a bit of a subway car in shape, located on the gravesite of Energy Kitchen (RIP), which I affectionately used to refer to as “Cardboard Kitchen,” so at least this is a step above its predecessor. Unfortunately, that isn’t saying much.

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