The Walking Taco. Yes, I know it’s a made up thing and not a “real” taco. But, it’s still delicious. Most times it’s served in its original container, the iconic snack-size Frito bag. But, on other occasions, it’s served on a plate, bowl, or platter. This version is more commonly referred to as a Frito Pie. Think of it as a walking taco sans bag.
I have no recollection of consuming a walking taco (or Frito Pie) when I was a child. I'm 100% certain I would have loved it. Sadly, it wasn’t available. At least in my neighborhood. It seems like a food combo any kid would love! I just don't remember anyone in my family or any of my friends eating one. That's a food memory that would stick with you.
I’m not a food snob. At least I don’t think I am. I'll gladly admit that I completely and thoroughly enjoy a gourmet meal prepared by a culinary master. But, there is something about indulgent “junk food” that is irresistible. I use that phrase with all of the delicious respect intended. Think movie theater popcorn here. First, it has a popping aroma that just sucks you in. Then there’s the mystery “butter-like” topping in all of its non-descript goodness. You know what I mean. It’s really hard to resist. When you eat it, it’s like you’re getting away with something.
Fritos are one of those snack foods. At least to me. It has that distinct corn chip smell and a crunchy, kind of deep fried taste and texture. Perfect as a palette for a tasty creation. And, the ideal base for the walking taco.
When my son was younger, he loved a good walking taco. Or any walking taco for that matter. He was an early adopter. I’m not even certain how he discovered this questionably gourmet delight. And, if not for him, I probably would never have tasted its salty, crunchy, semi-spicy goodness. Unless I stumbled upon it randomly at some future point in my life.
The walking taco has achieved its own cult status. Something I had not really realized until doing some research for this piece. The Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky Ohio has a food stand that is dedicated to it. Think of the masses of people wandering through Cedar Point, heads craned looking at rollercoasters dipping into snack-size bags of Fritos with white plastic forks. The scene could possibly have a "Disney smoked turkey leg" feel to it! If you have ever been to a Disney park you know exactly what I mean.
The Frito-Lay company, which is now owned by PepsiCo, has taken it a step further. It has introduced a ready to assemble walking taco product. The bag shape makes for easy eating. Just add your favorite toppings and start walking! It comes in three distinct flavors. Here they are in no particular order, Doritos, Tostitos, and of course traditional Frito. Do you notice something similar about all of those brand names? I’m certain it’s just a coincidence.
As usual, there are links at the end of this post to some of the things we've referenced. Oh, I did click on the nutrition facts tab (curiosity got the best of me). It's about what you would expect. Although the serving size is more than unrealistic. Ten chips! Who only eats ten chips from a bag of walking tacos? What do you do with the remainder of the bag? I doubt you would pitch a perfectly good walking taco. It's just not realistic to think someone is stopping at one serving. Admit it, you're going to finish it. Especially, if no one is looking.
Now that you’re caught up on all things walking taco we can proceed. Here’s what this piece is really about. Circo, A Bourbon Bar & Taco Joint (1435 2nd St., 941-253-0978), has decided that a walking taco would be the absolutely perfect thing to have on their menu for the summer. And, as it turns out, they are 100% correct!
As you can plainly see this is more of a Frito Pie than a walking taco (we covered our definitions earlier). The intention here is exactly the same. To bring the Sarasota dining community a slice of junk food heaven. Albeit in a cardboard serving boat (and served with white plastic fork ala Senor Vargas!). I wonder if they even considered using the snack size Frito bag? Either way, this is everything you would expect in a walking taco.
Here’s how Circo puts their version together. First a good solid layer of Fritos as the base. Next, a layering of jack cheese, queso, shredded beef, diced tomato, and lettuce. All of those textures blend nicely. Finally, it is topped with a brightly flavored lime crema. An elevated walking taco to be sure. It's a pretty sizeable serving AND, it’s only $6!
The Circo Walking Taco is a limited time only item. It’s on their Summer Camp menu. It’s available until August 25th. So, now you’ve got a deadline. That’s good for the procrastinators in the crowd. Get out there and walk!
Here are some links we thought you might be interested in: