So, let me just start by saying- I. LOVE. TACOS. And I have pretty high expectations for said tacos. AND I tend to get a craving for them when most places are shutting down. Well, lo and behold to find that Torchy's is open til 10 on weekdays and 11 on weekends! When I got there, Queen was playing. The guy behind the counter asked me about my day like he genuinely cared. There's Maine Root in the soda fountain. And the food is also fantastic! Since this first experience, I've frequented Torchy's Tacos several times a month. I used to always get the Baja Shrimp and the Fried Avocado tacos. Baja Shrimp is generously filled with hand battered and fried (but not greasy) shrimp, pickled vegetables, queso fresco and lime. There is a great balance of spicy, acidic and cool flavors all wrapped up in the tortilla. The Fried Avocado is a hand battered and fried avocado with refried beans, shredded cheese, lettuce and tomato. I love the texture and creamy flavors of this taco! It is so good, and I never order vegetarian items. But in the past couple years I've rotated in other flavors. The Democrat is filled to bursting with barbacoa. I was really impressed with the quality of it considering that Torchy's isn't exactly Mexican food. It is very flavorful and not greasy at all. You gotta get the Trailer Park "trashy"- fried chicken smothered in green chile queso and pico de gallo. Creative and delicious- this one is a guilty pleasure! I actually got to Green Chile Pork by mistake one time. Although it's not what I ordered, it is pretty dang tasty. The pulled pork is juicy and flavorful and the green chiles- of which I'm not a huge fan- do not overpower anything. But, the customer service at Torchy's is outstanding. I called to let them know my order got mixed up- just to make sure someone else didn't get the taco I ordered and they put me down for a free taco. I really appreciated their customer care! There is a different taco of the month each month that coordinates with holidays or weather, and they are generally pretty great. And lastly, I always ALWAYS get extra Chipotle Sauce and Poblano Sauce no matter which tacos I order. I could drink that stuff!
Even though I really love Gene's, I'm only giving them 3 stars because there's definitely room for improvement in other things besides the food. But first, the important stuff! Their food is really great down home cooking. I especially love their oyster poboys which aren't easily available everywhere. I always order that so my palate there is really limited, but I know my friends have really enjoyed other dishes from there. One caveat, they have the space to hold a party and try to be very accommodating, but they're really not experienced doing any kind of catering. As for the joint, I love it for what it is---it's a great dive, but it still doesn't warrant more than 3 stars. The parking lot is completely unpaid, the inside has character yet lacks ambiance. However, the warm and friendly service from Gene and his staff makes everything alright. :)
This will be the next Amy's ice cream. The food is so good, and it is a bargain. You can get a lot or a little, and you only pay per ounce. They have many flavors that you serve yourself and then go to a toppings bar. It has candy, fruit, nuts, etc. There is a gluten free flavor and sugar free too. The calories are listed so if you are watching your weight, this is the place to go. Best of all is the decor! The place is one big I Spy game. The owner is an artist and has decorated the walls and tables with an incredible array of objects. It is lots of fun for the kids. Best of all, you are eating a lowfat, lowered calorie dessert. This is a special place, go today and you will be able to tell your kids and grandkids that you went to an Austin tradition when it was brand new.