Taco Asylum & Belching Beaver

Taco Asylum & Belching Beaver

Yesterday, I was sitting in my office minding my own business when the receptionist yelled out, “Steven, what do you want for lunch tomorrow?” She was ordering lunch for the whole office, but of course, I said tacos. Our manager, whose office is across the way, chimed-in, “Steven and I love tacos.”  That was when she asked, “Have you ever tried Taco Asylum? That place is amazing!” My jaw just about hit the desk because I knew I was featuring Taco Asylum on the blog today. Of all the taco places in Orange County, she had to pick Taco Asylum the day before it would be featured on our blog! If you live in Orange County and you haven’t been, you’re missing out!

When I met Ralph, the owner of Taco Asylum, I asked him how people responded to their Bacon, Peanut Butter, & Jelly Taco. He replied that it is often inquired about and people are usually reluctant to try it, but always love it.  What Ralph didn’t know is that was precisely my experience the first time I tried their Bacon PB&J Taco. I reluctantly inquired with the server, and she assured me that if I love peanut butter, jelly, and bacon (who doesn’t), that I would enjoy this taco. Although I hesitated, I was excited!

To my surprise, I LOVED IT! It is the perfect combination of sweet, spicy, savory, and roasty. The Bacon PB&J Taco immediately went to the top of my list of pairings. I needed the perfect beer to pair it with, and what better beer than Belching Beavers Peanut Butter Milk Stout. It was on Taco Asylum’s beer menu, too good to be true! I couldn’t wait to pair them!

It had been a while since I originally tried this taco, maybe even a year, so I was excited to try it again. I don’t know what provoked my senses first, the look of the taco or the smell of the taco. If anyone has ever tried melted peanut butter rolled in a toasted flour tortilla right off the burner, you know how mouth-watering it is, which is ironic because peanut butter does not make the mouth water. I love this distinct scent since this was my grandfather’s go-to snack for my siblings and me when he would babysit us as children.

The aroma of the melty, roasted peanut butter smothered on the flour tortilla slightly overshadowed the sweet and spicy bacon, buried under Carrot-Ginger Jam, Fresh Greens, and Pickled Fresno Chili. The colorful array of purplish greens, red chilies, and orange jam adorned the savory bacon on a contrasting white, slightly charred flour tortilla. I couldn’t wait to take a bite.

The Peanut Butter Milk Stout was served in its can, along with a stemmed tulip glass. It was perfect because I love pouring my own beers, especially stouts. Something is so satisfying about watching the head of a stout form as it fills the glass. Since I’m a perfectionist, I always try to measure the perfect pour, tilting the glass upright from a 45° angle, and down the center at just the right moment pushing the head up the brim without overflowing. The tan 1-inch head crowned the completely opaque, black beer while releasing volatile aromas of roasted peanuts, coffee, and dark chocolate. It reminded me of the Justin’s, organic, dark chocolate peanut butter cups that I buy from Starbucks, but with a hint of roastiness. The aromas shifted to my tongue complimenting its silky-smooth mouthfeel, bringing the flavor full-circle and preparing my pallet for the taco goodness yet to come.

The Bacon, Peanut Butter, & Jelly Taco tastes just as epic as it sounds. Prominent roasted peanut flavor butter dominated my senses while the sweetness of the stout masked the ginger spice and enhanced the carrot notes of the jam. Impressions of dark-roasted malt flavors of the stout heightened the creamy peanut butter and toasty flour tortilla. The salty, savory bacon was countered by the residual sweetness of the beer while balancing the sweet and spicy heat of the marinade. Although a stout typically has a heavier mouthfeel and isn’t associated with a cleansing effect, I likened it to how milk washes down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The smooth and full-bodied stout cleansed the thick peanut butter from the pallet; it was the perfect finish! This pairing provides an excellent treat for peanut butter lovers looking for a blast of roasty goodness, or those who just love the classic peanut butter and jelly combo wrapped in rich, fatty bacon, topped off with the silkiness of a milk stout.

The story doesn’t end there! Surprisingly, it gets better (as embarrassing as this is, it needs to be told). On April 1st, Belching Beaver posted to their Instagram account that they had been working on a project for over a year and can finally share it with their fans. This project was a batch of their very own Belching Beaver Peanut butter in response to the popularity of their Peanut Butter Stout and it was available for purchase! I was so excited! How perfect I thought! I had a plan. I would propose to Ralph to make a version of Taco Asylum’s Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Bacon Taco with Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter, and I could pair the two. It would be a hit! What a genius I was! I had to purchase a jar before they sold out.

That same week I had a business meeting in Carlsbad, which was perfect since Belching Beaver was on the way, so I added it to my work calendar. The stars were aligning. The morning of my meeting I was so excited that I hopped on Instagram to take another look at the creamy goodness of what was about to be my very own jar of Belching Beaver Peanut Butter. It was then that I noticed a very small detail at the bottom of the post:

Please note: This is an Aprils Fools’ prank.

To say this small detail ruined my day was an understatement. But what could I do except laugh? GOT’EM!