Taco Tuesday Take Down.

Two taco enter one taco leave

Cosmic 2 copy

Welcome readers to the 1st annual Pot and Pan Handlers Taco Tuesday Take Down, in friendly downtown Chapel Hill, NC. You see dear readers, if you are ever in downtown Chapel Hill, you’ll see the Franklin Street area near the campus of UNC is overrun with taco joints with at least 8 taco dives within 1.7 miles of one another. Our objective is to find the superior chicken soft taco from the usual providers. The rules are simple dear reader, eight contenders each bringing to bare their version of a chicken soft taco.

However these purveyors choose to slang their tacos, stock from the kitchen, no evaluator added or deleted ingredients to muck up the finished product (the only exceptions to this rule will be Chipotle and Armadillo Grill as their whole business model relies on the pick and choose your ingredients Subway sandwich style.) Lastly, all tacos will be taken to go or para llavar if you prefer. All tacos will be expected to hold up to a brief 15 min. drive to the evaluation destination. We @ the Pot and Pan Handler, as professional consumers of tacos will then choose what we feel are the superior tacos. The winner of these challenges are based on taste of tacos only, not perceived value, ambience, side dishes or any other weak sauce frivolities the taco taste is the sole decider.

Cosmic Cantina

Contender one is Cosmic Cantina a local regional taco dive with two locations, one in Durham, the other in Chapel Hill. Though, it is true we would rather be shot in Durham, for tacos we’ll stick to this location. Learn more here http://www.cosmiccantina.com/ (if you are anything like me, there is no freakin’ way that you clicked that link.)The Chapel Hill location is on Franklin Street cleverly hidden in the confines of what could be described as a mini strip mall.

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Inside the mall you’ll find this:

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Once we got inside, we ordered two chicken soft tacos, they recommended deluxe with beans, sour cream and guacamole, so that’s how we rolled and ten minutes later we headed down the block to Lime.

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill

Okay, so Lime is not some regional affair with a couple of locations, they are a corporation with tentacles stretching over much of the south and even have locations as far north as Ohio and DC. Here’s another link for you to ignore http://www.limefreshmexicangrill.com/ but with a location on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, they’re fair game for the Taco Tuesday Takedown.

Lime copy

Time to do a lime.

Once inside we went through the usual steps, (we are professionals after all) acquired two chicken soft tacos and took the 10 mile drive to our patented taco taste evaluation center. Once there, we dug into our to-go containers and released the tacos for evaluation and found this…

Cosmic Cantina V Lime

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Cosmic Cantina chicken taco unfurled

The taco from Cosmic Cantina looked tasty and got points for authenticity because it was served on corn tortillas. Nicely seasoned diced chicken breast, pinto beans, cheese, sour cream and guac, pretty fricken’ tasty except one thing. It fell apart, imploded on itself the minute we tried to pick it up, the tortilla had turned to mush and these “tacos” lost all credibility because they needed to be eaten with a fork like a stupid salad. As the warrior poet Homer Simpson once said, “You don’t make friends with salad!”

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The taste of implosion.

The Lime tacos were a different affair entirely. A hint of authenticity with pulled (however under seasoned) chicken, served in flour tortillas with lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream they were otherwise decidedly not authentic Mexican style street tacos more of an American adaption.

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Points for not imploding.

But however under seasoned when we tried eating these tacos, they hadn’t turned to mush and in fact had held up quite nicely, considering the 10 mile drive to the tasting facility.

Lime taco 2 copy

This presented somewhat of a conundrum. On one hand Cosmic Cantina’s chicken was nicely seasoned but the tacos had turned to salad. On the other hand slightly under seasoned chicken at Lime held up to the not very rigorous standards of the competition by not imploding and becoming a salad.

After some hemming and hawing, we decided a taco by definition is considered portable. Therefore if you need a fork and or knife to eat it, it’s not a fricken’ taco. So round one is in the books, Lime Fresh Mexican Grill advances to the next round as they are the chicken soft taco supreme, sorry Cosmic Cantina, you don’t make friends with salad.

Coming Soon the Pot and Pan Handler continue our Charleston adventures when we Eat At Poe’s and don’t forget to tune in to the next Taco Tuesday Takedown when corporate behemoth Chipotle, takes on the little local favorite Carrburrito’s. Who will rein chicken soft taco supreme?

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