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Piqueo Puzzles, Torchy's Terrifies

Chronicle critic Alison Cook makes the trek to the city's far northwest side where she awards Peruvian restaurant Piqueo a "wobbly one star." She writes, "As much as I like certain dishes at Piqueo, however, it does not yet approach the levels of consistency I've found at Mezzanotte or the Sarmiento-era Capriccio. The highlights definitely rate a trip northwest for aficionados of Peruvian food. The low points — most notably a tendency to overcook meat items — are just a puzzlement coming from a kitchen that seems capable of better things." [29-95]

Meanwhile, Press critic Katharine Shilcutt stays closer to home to take Austin-import Torchy's Tacos to the woodshed for general awfulness: the sole exception being their breakfast tacos, which is Austin's sole contribution to the culinary world. "The Trailer Park tacos at the Houston incarnation of Torchy's just make me sad. My wistful spring memories of tacos under trees and a glorious blue sky are dampened by the drudgery of a million tiny things that seem to go wrong with every visit: lukewarm ingredients, excessively salty batter, greasy brisket, listless tortillas, overly carbonated fountain drinks, odd music that ranges from Slayer's entire catalog to annoying pop hits, and toppings piled so high you have to scrape them out of the flour or corn tortillas before you can come close to fitting the taco in your mouth." [Houston Press]