Smile Politely

Breaking in Breaking Taco

What better way to spend a rainy day than a trip to Breaking Taco in Mahomet? A new restaurant just off Interstate 74, Breaking Taco serves Mexican dishes ranging from gorditas and flan to tortas and tacos. After a moment of confusion where I tried to enter through the employee entrance by the Breaking Taco sign, I found the public entrance at the back door. Although the location is fairly small, paintings on the walls and peppers by the bar greet customers as they enter. Having a rather late lunch at 2 p.m., I was the only one in the restaurant at the time, so noise was minimal. Lighting was bright, but not glaring thanks to the earthy tones of the interior. Overall, the environment provided a pleasant place to enjoy lunch.

After placing my order, I dug into the complementary chips and salsa well known to anyone who’s eaten at a Mexican restaurant. Unexpectedly, I found the chips and salsa were both quite light, a welcome relief since I knew I had plenty of food on the way. The chips were thin and flaky, a good companion for the cool and refreshing salsa. Although the salsa wasn’t spicy as expected, the hearty chunks of tomatoes were a welcome addition.

Not content to miss out on spice for my chips, I tried Valentina, a Mexican hot sauce located in the spice rack on the table. What a wonderful choice! A solid chili base, the red sauce had just the right amount of heat without approaching the overwhelming pain point of other hot sauces. I definitely recommend this brand.

Just as I finished the last of the chips and salsa, my food arrived, and so much, too! Intrigued by the toreados ($2), I decided to start with them, which was a mistake, in retrospect. An off-menu item I noticed only on the online menu, toreados are grilled jalapenos. A pale green, the Toreados were juicy, warm, firm, and astonishingly spicy. The tips of the jalapenos, entirely flesh, were fantastic, but the seeded cores quickly overwhelmed me. The novice I was, the staff made sure I had plenty of water to drink as I failed in my initial attempts at quenching the toreados burn.

Taking a break from the inferno, I dove into the chicken taco ($2.50) for a reprieve. Thankfully, the chicken taco was not spicy in the least, although the lingering heat of the toreados made it a bit difficult to tell. Regardless, I was thankful for my choice. The combination of a soft, flour tortilla with fresh vegetables sprinkled with salsa verde and lime juice quickly cooled down my burning mouth. The chicken was nice and tender, although not seasoned, as far as I could tell. I appreciated the simplicity of the taco after the intensity of the toreados.

Looking for something a bit unusual, I tried the cactus gordita ($3.50) next. Although a simple dish containing cactus and onions between two golden fried tortilla shells, the Cactus Gordita is a great combination. The rich, crunchy outer shell meshed well with the light cactus and onions inside. For the benefit of those who haven’t had the chance to try cactus, it tastes similar to sautéed green peppers, but softer and juicier. Surprisingly, the cactus gordita was the messiest of the four dishes I ordered, as I couldn’t seem to keep the cactus in the shell as I chowed down. Not a deal breaker, but something to keep in mind.

With the last of the Toreados spice finally banished from my mouth, I moved onto the quesadilla flor de calabaza ($5), by far the most complex dish I ordered. A fried tortilla barely able to contain squash blossoms, sour cream, queso blanco, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onions, the quesadilla flor de calabaza was quite the way to end my meal at Breaking Taco. Biting into the quesadilla, the combination of fried tortilla and cheddar cheese lining the fold and bottom of the tortilla is the first thing I noticed. The squash blossoms also stood out, as their juiciness contrasts sharply with the saltiness of the fried tortilla. Somewhere between cooked cabbage and mushrooms, I’m partial to squash blossoms over other vegetables in quesadillas, although cactus is a strong second. The sour cream provided the perfect capstone for the quesadilla, as the cold cream contrasted with the warmth of the rest of the dish.

When all was said and done, I’d go back to Breaking Taco again. The service was timely, the menu varied. Although not unique to Breaking Taco, the cactus gordita stood out strongly, as well. I recommend Breaking Taco for anyone in the Mahomet area who wants Mexican food without the long drive into Champaign-Urbana. For those in Champaign-Urbana, try to make the trip out to Breaking Taco at least once — it’s worth your while. I know I will be returning in the future, next time saving room for flan after my meal.

Breaking Taco
608 E Main St
S-T and Th 11 a.m to 10 p.m.
W, F, Sa 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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