Monday, February 13, 2012

incredible tacos at taco asylum

I headed down to Orange County this past weekend to meet up with my Mom for lunch. She's been going on and on about this taco place called Taco Asylum at The Camp that has unique and gourmet tacos (like grilled octopus, ghost chili pork, and cow's heart - to name a few.) They offer a taco tasting with 8 mini versions of their tacos. The tasting menu is set - no alterations - and includes tacos like their short-rib, duck, and steak.

We opted for ala carte tacos.

First up was the curried paneer with a naan tortilla, raita, and tomato chutney. Paneer is an Indian cheese (it's a fairly common vegetarian protein option). This taco was insanely good. The paneer was crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle. The naan tortilla had some chew to it and the sauces added a great punch of flavor.

Next was one of the restaurant's favorite - the wild mushroom with an herbed tortilla, garbanzo puree, parsley salad, and fried chickpeas. Everyone around us had at least one of these on their table. The mushrooms were rich and meaty and complimented perfectly by the creamy garbanzo puree. The fried chickpeas were such a fun textural addition since they sort of popped in your mouth when you bit into them.

(left: wild mushroom, right: pork belly)

Last up was the pork belly with a flour tortilla, carrots, onion, cilantro, and daikon. This was sort of the banh mi of tacos except the vegetables weren't overly pickled. The taco included thick pieces of sinfully soft pork belly. I added a bit of the restaurant's hot sauce to get that heat I love from banh mi's. Delicious. I will be trying to replicate this at home.

Taco Asylum has three wonderful hot sauces - mild, hot, and very hot. I recommend you try them all and find the right one for you. The "very hot" is not kidding around, but it's oh-so-good.

They've got some awesome beers on tap and wines in kegs (they're good - I swear- my mom got a glass).

Taco Asylum
2937 Bristol St, B102
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
11a - 11pm

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