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Taste-Testing the Taco of the Month at Torchy's Tacos: The Scarecrow

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October is finally here and that means another special taco of the month from Torchy's Tacos. The month-long specials have been packed with flavor, especially the month with four increasingly spicy tacos.

And just as every bakery, restaurant and coffee shop has been adding something pumpkin to its menus this fall season, so has Torchy's with The Scarecrow. But, unlike other establishments that seem to overdo it with pumpkin, the October taco is a unique way to get your pumpkin fix this season.

At first I was a little skeptical about the use of chicken as the main ingredient. Normally chicken is bland and can be easily overcooked; it needs a lot of flavors and spices to elevate it from its mediocre state. Who knew simply coating it in a toasted pumpkin seed breading would make it the star of the show?

A soft flour tortilla encases the large chicken tender coated in crushed pumpkin seeds, adding crunch and chew, plus a nutty flavor, to the plain protein. The pumpkin seed-breaded chicken is then covered in tangy escabeche carrots (pickled carrots) that not only add brightness to the taco, but also help balance out the spice from the chipotle ranch dressing and charred, roasted poblano pepper slices. The crumbled queso fresco begins to melt as it sits atop the warm peppers and chicken, adding another creamy element to the taco.

What makes The Scarecrow so great, though, is the varying textures and levels of heat. Each bite is packed with crunch and chew from the pumpkin seeds and pickled carrots, and is balanced by the smooth, creamy chipotle ranch and queso fresco. Just as your taste buds identify the nuttiness from the roasted pumpkin seeds, you're hit with the heat from the poblano peppers and dressing, but it's not enough to keep you from diving in for another bite.

If the pumpkin seed-crusted chicken was served simply as tenders with the chipotle ranch as a dunking sauce, I would be a happy camper. But, sitting outside on the patio with The Scarecrow taco and a side of chips paired with spicy guacamole at Torchy's, is a great way to say hello to fall.

Torchy's Tacos will offer The Scarecrow until October 31.

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