Thursday, January 10, 2008
Awhile back, I saw an episode of Bobby Flay's show, Throwdown, where the episode was a "Puffy Taco" showdown. When the show started and his challenge was first announced, I scratched my head, because I've never heard of a puffy taco before.
Of course, once I saw the show, I knew I had to have one, one way or the other.For those of you unfamiliar with this food, it's a part of Tex-Mex cuisine. There's been an ongoing debate where many believe that puffy tacos were invented at Henry's Puffy Tacos in San Antonio in 1978 while others claim that they were originally named "crispy tacos" and served in Austin in 1950s. In the end, it doesn't matter how they came to be, I'm just glad they got invented in the first place.
Basically, a puffy taco is made up of masa that is shaped into a round tortilla and then deep fried. While it's frying, it's repeatedly doused with the oil so that it becomes "puffy", almost like a pastry shell, and than an indentation is placed in the middle to create a taco shape. Once done, it's removed from the oil, drained and filled with the appropriate fillings.
After seeing the show, I actually forgot about the puffy taco for awhile until my niece mentioned this taco joint she used to swing by after dance class and as soon as she said the name of that place, my ears perked up. The taco shop's name was Arturo's Puffy Taco.
A few days later, she took me there and although I have nothing else to compare them to, I thought the carne asada puffy tacos I had were awesome. The taco shells were light, airy and crunchy. The meat fillings were good quality and all the veggies were fresh and crispy.
My niece and I also shared the the Taquitos Texanos with cheese, guacamole and hot sauce and they were pretty tasty as well.
Unfortunately, Arturo's Puffy Taco is a bit of a drive so I didn't return until a year later. For that return visit, I tried their Picadillo Puffy Taco as well as their Crispy Dog, which are deep fried tortilla wrapped hot dogs. Both items made for a delicious lunch.
Having never had puffy tacos in Texas, I can't say whether these puffy tacos are true to its Tex-Mex roots. However, I can say that I enjoyed every bite and that's good enough for me.
Arturo's Puffy Taco
15693 Leffingwell Rd
Whittier, CA 90604-3314