Oaxacan Delight: Torchy's Taco of the Month, Turkey Mole, Deserves a Spot at Any Table

Having reluctantly moved on from my favorite holiday (Halloween forever!), I am now getting in the spirit of Those Other Holidays. However, as someone who was raised in a family where Christmas decorations most definitely did NOT go up until December (after sometimes remained through January), I feel myself adrift in the nebulous albeit still potentially festive limbo period between Halloween and Thanksgiving. I'm never quite sure how to bridge this gap gracefully in terms of home decor, but in terms of foodstuffs I focus on two things: pumpkin and turkey.

When I saw that Torchy's taco of the month featured one of my two favorite transition ingredients, I ran to the South Shepherd location faster than a Black Friday shopper on uppers. I exited Torchy's almost as quickly as I arrived, carrying a bag of tacos that included the November special: Turkey Mole.

By the way, it's actually a bit out of character for me to have been this enthusiastic about a turkey taco. For whatever reason, I get excessively irritated every time I read an article suggesting using leftover turkey meat from Thanksgiving in Tex-Mex dishes. Of course, there's no reason why you shouldn't incorporate all of that extra fowl into some tacos, burritos, or enchiladas; I guess I'm so smitten with Day-After-Thanksgiving Sandwiches I can't imagine eating anything else.

Anyhoo, I am glad I broke with my own compulsive eating habits. Torchy's deep-fries its turkey, dresses it in a nutty, spicy Oaxacan mole sauce, then adds queso fresco, Mexican rice, cilantro, and thinly sliced avocado. The result is a very rich, strongly seasoned taco that definitely earns its $4.25 price tag, and in my case inspired me to think of what a Tex-Mex themed Thanksgiving would look (and taste) like. Hatch chili cornbread stuffing, anyone? And speaking of corn, I chose corn tortillas for my taco, but the server told me that flour were equally popular.

If I wasn't traveling for Thanksgiving, this inspiration might translate into perspiration. More likely, though, is that I return to Houston full but leftover-less and run to Torchy's for a post-holiday turkey fix.

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Joanna O'Leary