26131 La Paz Road
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
If you have blinked you might have missed all of the Chronic Tacos popping up all over. It seems like this chain of casual Mexican food has been reproducing at a very rapid rate that would get many rabbits jealous. I looked at their web site and they have 43 locations listed as coming soon or open for business now. They even have numerous outposts in Mexican food mecca, British Columbia! Crazy.
I definitely felt like it was time for me to try Chronic Tacos. They have been on my list of places to try for so long, they were two spots away from the top of my list. Don't worry Wild Artichoke, your position on the top of our list is still solid. We will make it to your place one day, but this was our day for Chronic Tacos.
We were done walking the track at a nearby junior high school, and wanted something close by. Chronic Tacos filled the bill perfectly. We got to this location, which is in a sleepy strip mall anchored by a Taco Bell and a Comerica Bank, at about seven o'clock on a Thursday night. We were the only two customers in the place when we arrived, but they would have a steady stream of customers throughout our visit here.
The atmosphere of this Chronic Tacos really reminded me of a Wahoo's, with the ordering process of a Chipotle. There is lots of sheet metal all over the place, and the walls are dominated by surfing and music stickers. The two guys working behind the counter were odd and had a hard time interacting with us. When we walked in they acted like we had caught them doing something wrong. Not sure what that was all about, but we ordered and this how the food came out for us.
I started with an Al Pastor Taco ($2.99) on a flour tortilla. After the tortilla was grilled for a few seconds, I was asked what I wanted on this taco. I selected their salsa and cheese. I went simple with the toppings here, because I thought the meat would be big on flavor. It wasn't. The al pastor was very bland, with no hint of spice whatsoever. The salsa was not a big flavor enhancer either. Basically it was just cut up tomatoes and onions with no hint of seasoning. A very bland start to my meal.
Much better was this Carnitas Burrito ($5.99). The carnitas were average, but had more flavor than the al pastor. I liked the meatiness of the carnitas, and the red sauce was much better than the salsa. I had beans, rice, cheese, and guacamole put into this burrito. This burrito was pretty good sized, but I had no problem putting it away.
Katie also selected two items to try off of the Chronic Tacos menu, starting with this Fish Taco ($3.49). She felt this taco was, "average". The predominate taste of this taco came from the green salsa. The fish was not noticeable, and really got lost here. Really needed more seasoning. Not something that Katie would get again.
The last item we got was the Chicken Taquitos with Guacamole ($5.99). I am not a real big fan of chicken taquitos. I always think that the chicken gets dried out by the frying, but this is always Katie's choice when it comes to taquitos. These really tasted like nothing to me. I was hoping that the cheese or guacamole would help these, but they really just tasted like grocery store taquitos. Nothing special.
Chronic Tacos was not as good as I thought it would be. With these build your own burrito type places, it might take more than a few trips to find the perfect combinations of items to make your perfect meal. We were not overly excited by any of the items we had on this visit. They mostly tasted very bland, and nothing we ate would entice us to come back. I would choose other locations to return to, because as with all franchised places the quality can be quite different from location to location. The prices were pretty fair for the serving sizes, although I thought that the tacos were about a dollar too expensive. Glad we could cross this place off of our list.
Out of five surfboards, (because Chronic Tacos sponsors several surfers), five being best to zero being worst, Chronic Tacos gets 2 surfboards.
For more information about Chronic Tacos, click here: http://eatchronictacos.com/index.php/home