Taco Asylum Appoints Executive Chef, Launches New Menu

Taco Asylum, specializing in adventurous, gourmet tacos and craft beer, recently announced the appointment of Executive Chef Carlos Anthony, an exciting young chef who has earned his culinary credentials at acclaimed San Diego restaurant Searsucker and the Michelin-starred Redd’s in Napa Valley.

Chef Anthony’s new menu marks the return of the original 6” tortilla, and offers existing fans the same adventurous style they love while broadening the appeal for new guests with more approachable options.

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Chef Anthony coveys extreme passion when discussing his history in the kitchen. Raised in Tucson, Arizona, Chef Anthony’s culinary career began as a small child helping his mother and grandmother prepare meals in their Hispanic household. His goals were to add authenticity to the menu items by incorporating traditional cooking methods and techniques, while building on the inventive style of cuisine that put Taco Asylum on the map when it opened in January 2011.

The new menu includes 11 specialty tacos served on a 6” flour tortilla, four classic-style tacos served on a 6” corn tortilla, vegetarian tacos served on a 6” flour tortilla and several side dishes, all made with a variety of sauces and salsas made from scratch.

Specialty tacos are priced from $4.00 to $7.00 and include Banh Mi, Duck Mole and the Shrimp Pad Thai. Classic tacos are priced from $3.75 to $4.75 and are served on a 6” corn tortilla. Varieties, which include Pollo, Carne Asada, Craft Beer-Battered Fish, and Carnitas, are served with their own distinctive salsa and a lime wedge.

Four vegetarian tacos join the line up including the Spring Roll Taco with fried avocado, sprout, carrot, cucumber, cabbage, soy and sweet chili sauce. One of my favorites is the paneer tacos which blends a variety of Indian flavors.

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Additionally, Chef Anthony will prepare rotating specials that incorporate exotic proteins and specialty ingredients that he procures in limited quantities. The first special will feature all the best parts of the pig in a pan-seared Head Cheese Taco laced with a blackberry-cabernet salsa, Stilton cheese and Dijon.

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With a new Executive Chef and General Manager, the revamp of the Taco Asylum experience is well underway following a change in ownership in May 2014 when Ace Patel went from partial to sole owner of the restaurant.

A sample of new sides include Nachos Borachos offered with a choice of tortilla or potato chip and topped with red ale chili queso, guacamole and sour cream; Brave Potatoes, a tribute to a signature dish from Spain, and Corn off the Cob with fire-roasted bell pepper, onion and garlic. The nachos were amazing!

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Desserts are new to the Taco Asylum menu and include Churro Bites rolled in cinnamon and sugar with dulce de leche, and Dessert Nachos made with tortilla chips dusted in cinnamon, chili, sugar and orange zest, and drizzled in a creamy anglaise of Mexican hot chocolate and red chili.

“We have improved the Taco Asylum experience in a big way,” said Ace Patel, owner, Taco Asylum. “Chef Carlos Anthony has created a menu that rewards our long-term fans for staying loyal with us, and gives others either a reason to come back or try us for the first time. Our goal is to exceed our guests’ expectations every time they visit Taco Asylum with delicious tacos, a balanced craft beer selection, a fun and relaxing atmosphere and friendly, effective service.”

The next Chef’s Prescription taco will be Octopus Escabeche! Gently braised in red wine until tender, Chef Carlos Anthony’s octopus is simmered in a delicious sauce with anchiote and onion, and topped with a fresh herb salad. This limited-time only taco will go on the menu tomorrow and is expected to be on the menu for about two weeks, or until it runs out.

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The Taco Asylum menu is complimented by a craft beer selection, which includes six tap handles and rotates regularly to include some of the most highly allocated brews from around the country, and a large selection of canned beers. Sodas and daily-prepared aqua frescas, flavored lemonades and iced teas help put out the heat from the restaurant’s housemade specialty hot sauces.

What are you most looking forward to trying?