TJ® Kitchen

Some might say a job in the Taco John’s Test Kitchen is one of the best in the world. Follow our Corporate Chef Bob Karisny and his team members Sissy and Carl as they stir up new menu creations and research today’s food trends. They might even throw in a few recipes.

Discovering Austin

Discovering Austin, TX Food Trucks

My last visit to Food trucks | wilbertbaan | Flickr

Austin was unfortunately the week after the city had been taken over by South by Southwest.  I may of missed this amazing music festival but had another amazing opportunity to experience the city's eclectic, taco trendy and tasty cuisine!  

Austin’s food trucks serve delicious tacos on the streets or in these “trailer park” block lots all year round - where you can visit and try any number of trucks.  These parks are the perfect way to sample a huge and diverse variety of treats (and am sure they fed the thousands of concert goers during the festival I missed by a week!)

Jeff Clark one of our vendor chefs, he is from the area - took Bob and I on a two day food tour of a bunch of great places to eat all over Austin.  Here is a list of just a few of Austin's finest and some of the dishes we experienced!

“The Peached Tortilla” served Southern and Asian flavors to perfection. I just read that this truck is so popular that they will be opening a brick and mortar location this fall.  One of my favorites there was the BBQ Brisket taco.  It had dry rubbed brisket, a creamy apple slaw and a delicious smoky roasted peach BBQ sauce.

Another called “Chi'lantro” does the fusion cuisine that reminds me of the amazing Kogi Food truck in L.A.   The Korean-Mexican hybrid combines two of the most perfect foods -- tacos and kimchi.   One of their must-order items are the kimchi fries, which are smothered in cheese, sriracha and a creamy "magic" sauce. They are then topped off with caramelized kimchi and Korean BBQ. This sweet, tangy, savory and spicy dish was one of my favorites! 

At the top of my list was “Torchy's Tacos”, and they have “Damn Good” tacos, enough said!  These guys are Austin natives and they take their tacos seriously. One of my favorites (I have a few) is the Trailer Park taco. This taco starts with a flour tortilla, is filled with fried chicken, green chiles, lettuce, pico de gallo, shredded cheese and a poblano sauce. You can also order it Trashy and they will sub the lettuce with their queso, yes - they will cover your taco in queso.  


These were just three of so many tasty places we ate at, I could go on and on . . . there were a number of other restaurants not trucks that we also tried that were equally amazing!  To be continued . . . 

Never pass by a restaurant with a pig on the roof

Sweet Spicy Glazed PorkI know there have been many books published about life lessons we learned in kindergarten. Here’s another life lesson I never learned in culinary school but should have: never pass by a restaurant that has a pig on the roof.

Hospitality Sponsorship

Hospitality  SponsorshipEvery year the city of Cheyenne hosts Cheyenne Frontier Days. For 10 days, the old west is brought back to modern day where daily rodeos, night concerts, carnivals, and many more activities that capture the Wild West are celebrated. It is a pretty big deal that has been a tradition since 1897.

Avocado Grove Visit

Avocado Grove FarmAt a recent chefs convention I had the chance to visit an avocado grove just outside of San Diego. Mike Sanders and Chris Ambuul are the owners of the grove. I always find after visiting the source, my appreciation for all the effort it takes to grow almost anything increases. The Haas avocado is a true California native, although it is grown in other parts of the world. All trees are the kin of one tree founded by Southern California mail carrier and amateur horticulturist, Rudolph Haas. We actually have his kids to thank because Rudolph bought three trees, and after a while thought one tree wasn’t doing as well and was ready to pull it out. His kids said, “Dad, have you tried the fruit from that tree? It’s delicious,” and the Haas avocado was born.

Paletas, Mexican Frozen Fruit Pops

Paletas are frozen fruit pops on a stick, similar to our Popsicles but made from the freshest fruit of the season. There are two types of paletas: Paletas de Agua, which are typically made of fresh fruit, water and sweetener (typically sugar) and Paletas de Leche or Paletas de Crema, which are made of milk or cream with fresh fruit and/or flavorings like nuts, chocolate, etc.

Rubs & Marinades

Rubs are seasoning mixtures rubbed on meats before grilling to boost flavors; they could be spicy or smoky, etc. The best rubs enhance the flavor of the meat without being overbearing and are often blends of strong and mild spices and herbs. When you add oil or another wet substance, it is called a wet rub.

Elote - Sweet Corn on the Cob

Sweet Corn SalsaSummer is sweet corn season, and for a twist on your normal corn on the cob we have Elote. Corn is a native plant of Mexico, and there it’s a staple eaten in some form almost every day. There are many types of corn grown, and based upon the final corn they produce, it is assigned to different applications. Unlike in the United States, Mexico’s fresh corn (both on and off the cob) can be sweet or earthier in flavor depending upon the final dish it is used in.

Spicy, Yummy Mexican Influenced Recipes for Summer

Please accept our apologies for being remiss in our blog posts recently. As a gift to make up for our absence, we will provide four weeks of easy summer recipes with a Mexican flair. To start week one, we have “Three Easy Summer Salsas” you can use for chips, appetizers or to top great grilled items.

Bob Karisny, Corporate Chef, Taco John's®

Food is more than a job for me – it’s a passion. I would rather cook than do almost anything. Although I love all types of food and cuisine from around the world, the more I learn about Mexican food, the more I realize how interesting and flavorful it is.

Carl Blackbird, Test Kitchen Chef, Taco John's®

I first was in a restaurant kitchen when I was 14. Ever since that day I couldn’t get making food for others out of my blood. I tried other things but none gave me the same great feeling. It’s a job I never stop learning at and love learning at, one delicious bite after another.