Taco Tuesday: Smoked gouda on a taco?

A breakfast taco with steak, egg and smoked gouda cheese at the new Taco Joint on East Riverside.

A breakfast taco with steak, egg and smoked gouda cheese at the new Taco Joint on East Riverside.

I dig cheese. I could eat a wheel of it for breakfast, follow that with a salad at lunch and come back for more cheese at dinner. So, you’d think that this steak, egg and cheese taco would be right in my wheelhouse (pun intended). While I love the smoky taste of the gouda cheese (yes, that’s crumbled gouda piled atop that not photogenic taco above), the texture of the cheese and scrambled eggs, toasted at their golden edges, was too homogeneous for me.  I wanted some crunch, some variation. The eggs and cheese blanketed strips of juicy grilled meat. The bright orange habanero salsa, with its sweet sting, gave some complexity to the taco ($2.95), but not enough to save it for me.

While I was lukewarm on the breakfast taco (which is served all day), there is also a lunch version called the Señor Crockett, served with onions, peppers and beef. Now we’re talkin’. I mistakenly ordered the breakfast taco, after hearing our social media and engagement editor, Eric Webb, rave about it.

“Smoked gouda is addictive on its own – and on burgers, and as a chip flavor and slice by slice. But it’s not a flavor you ever find in Mexican food. Pairing it with beef on the Señor Crockett taco makes the smoky flavor pop, and  the bell peppers cut through the gooey texture like a fresh, zesty knife. Those homemade tortillas are an added bonus,” Webb told me in an email.

I guess I have to go back.

A seared fish and Street taco from Taco Joint.

A seared fish and Street taco from Taco Joint.

While the breakfast taco didn’t thrill me, I really liked the oily seared beef, sweet caramelized onions, floral cilantro, dusting of queso fresco and broad wings of avocado on the Street Taco ($3.75) at the new Taco Joint on East Riverside.

The Taco Joint makes its own flour tortillas, and they finish the thin, oil-sheened rounds to a toasty finish on the grill. The crunch added the satisfaction of nicely seasoned Seared Fish Taco ($3.75) that came buried beneath a little too much queso fresco and honey-lime slaw. Grab the spicy and creamy avocado salsa from the salsa bar for that one.

Taco Joint. 134 E. Riverside Drive. Facebook.com/TheTacoJoint

Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

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