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Monday, May 16, 2011

Chico's Tacos: An El Paso institution

Chico's Tacos is a local El Paso fast-food style restaurant which has been around since July 4, 1953. While there are a few other items on the menu (hot dogs, french fries and I am pretty sure I saw beef stew listed), the most popular item by far is the tacos (rolled and beef only). They come in a single (3 tacos) or double order (6 tacos), covered a thin soup-like mild tomato sauce and about a 1/2 to a cup of shredded American cheese and spicy green salsa on the side (which still had some bubbles along the edges like it had been poured fresh out of the blender). The double order was like $1.33 or something crazy like that... But are they good? While I have had better quality tacos for sure, I like them for what they are. As you see in the picture above, the tacos come in a little red and white cardboard boat and are served with a pretty ineffectual plastic fork. Stab a taco in the middle with the fork as soon as you get your order and the fork will inevitably bend or break. I try to slide the fork in the side and lift the taco to get bite...the key with this approach is not to drop the taco and splash sauce everywhere (which I have done). I rarely can get enough cheese on my taco as I am eating, so I end up eating forkfuls of cheese at the end and promising myself that I will stop after one more bite. One guy on Yelp recommended picking up the boat and drinking the sauce at the end...while tempting, I can't bring myself to that though as you can see the residual grease in the sauce from the now consumed tacos. While I know the tacos are probably cooked by throwing them in the deep frier, they don't taste overly greasy....although the tomato sauce is probably masking that.

My impression from conversations with folks is that everyone in El Paso has had the tacos and likes them against their better judgement. When you say that you just went to Chico's, people give you this look like "Aww...I wish I just went as well but I am watching my weight/sodium intake/etc". The yelp reviews are split pretty dramatically: people love or hate them. Seems like the Yelp haters are primarily out-of-towners who heard the hype, had their expectations too high and were disappointed. Go in there thinking this is a comfort food treat and I think you will really enjoy the experience. Oh....you should know: they may have some secret addictive ingredient in them because the day after I have the tacos, I am thinking about them again and craving more.

1 comment:

Victor said...

Chico's never disappoints. I've overdone it once or twice by eating several double orders, but other than that it's been a good thing. If you're ever in El Paso, this is definitely one place you should check out.