Monday, July 23, 2007

Tacos: Cactus

Welcome to the first installment of the Taco Comparison Project. I will be eating tacos (preferably crispy, some soft) and reporting on my findings.

First up: Cactus Taqueria

To me, this is what a taco should taste like. They take the corn tortilla, stuff it with chicken and cheese, and deep fry it. Then when the chicken and the tortilla are all delicious and crispy and the cheese is melted, they take it out, drain it, and stuff the empty space full of guacamole, lettuce, and pico de gallo. At this point, the crispy taco is passed to me, and I squeeze lime on it, ready myself with four to five napkins per three taco plate, and take that first perfectly crunchy, hot and cool bite.

You know how according to research, you stop being able to taste the true flavor of whatever food you're eating after three or four bites because your taste buds have acclimated to the textures and flavors? This taco is designed to combat that phenomenon. The collection of textures (rich and creamy guacamole, crispy lettuce, crunchy taco shell, melted cheese, and hot grilled then fried chicken) and flavors (just reread that last parenthetical) makes every bite a revelation. And the lime, ah the lime, dare I call it the salt of the taco, bringing out the flavors but also lending a citric lightness to the whole thing.

After years of extensive research, I have determined that the Cactus on Solano is superior to the Cactus on College, at least as far as the crispy tacos and the chocolate chip cookies go. The College Cactus churns out food, while the Solano Cactus prepares individual dishes, and you can taste the difference.

Another great thing about Cactus is that they use better meat options: Sonoma Select chicken, I think, and Niman Ranch beef and pork.

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