I think it’s appropriate that most of my rites of passage that I’ve experienced as an adopted Texan have been food-related. 

 The most recent of these was making my long-awaited first trip to Torchy’s Tacos when its Stafford location opened in April, the third in Fort Bend County. 

 The first opened in 2014 at LaCenterra in Cinco Ranch, and the second opened in 2015 at Lake Pointe Town Center, 15810 Southwest Fwy Ste. 600 in Sugar Land. 

 The popular Austin chain has developed a reputation as a brash and eccentric brand that has expanded its reach across Texas and the U.S., and its unapologetic creativity is polarizing to some.

 After chatting with Jason Perales, the managing partner of the Stafford location, I started things off with a Torchy’s classic — the Green Chile Queso and Chips ($6.25) with tortilla chips for dipping. For 30 cents more, the Hillbilly Queso adds Texas chorizo sausage into the mix. 

 I’m normally quite picky with queso as my mind’s eye can’t escape the horrors of the plasticky nacho cheese often sold at concession stands at youth sports games and community pools. But this queso is full-bodied and the freshness of the green chiles came through in every bite. 

Another one of Perales’ recommendations was the Trailer Park Taco ($4.05), with fried chicken, green chiles, lettuce, pico de gallo and cheddar jack cheese with poblano sauce nestled in a flour tortilla. I already had plenty of queso at my table, so I didn’t opt to get it “Trashy,” but if you’re so inclined, you can satisfy your craving by substituting lettuce for an extra helping of queso.

In an unexpected twist, the Fried Avocado Taco ($4.20) turns out to be one of the few vegan options at Torchy’s. It was served alongside the Trailer Park Taco with refried pinto beans, pico de gallo, lettuce and cheddar jack cheese with poblano sauce on a corn tortilla. 

The next card in the Torchy’s deck was, fittingly, the Ace of Spades.

So big it needs two flour tortillas, this centipede-like monstrosity is centered around a grilled jalapeno-cheddar sausage, smoked beef brisket and a fried egg. It is slathered in green chile queso and Cotija cheese, cheddar jack cheese, sour cream and cilantro.

The X-factor is the spicy Diablo sauce, made with the Peruvian pepper known as Aji Panca, chili peppers and chipotles. 

If you stopped by Torchy’s last month, you would have had a chance to try the May Taco of the Month — the Tokyo Drifter, which featured Teriyaki-glazed pulled pork, fried wonton strips, sweet-and-sour veggie coleslaw, sesame Sriracha mayonnaise and cilantro, garnished with a lime wedge and served on a flour tortilla.

June’s Taco of the Month is the Texas Hottie ($5.95), featuring Nashville-style chicken tenders, cayenne sauce, coleslaw, pickled relish, honey and fresh Cotija cheese with chipotle sauce on a flour tortilla.

Torchy’s Tacos

Address: 11327 Current Ln, Stafford

Dining Options: Dine-in, takeout, delivery

Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday

Entrée prices: $3-$8.95

Kid-friendly: Yes

Senior discount: No

Alcohol: Yes

Healthy options: Fried Avocado Taco

Star of the show: Ace of Spades

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