After heading out to lunch with my friend last week that I hadn’t seen in awhile, we made plans to meet up again earlier this week to La Taqueria, located near Gastown at the corner of West Hastings and Hamilton Street. There has been a bit of buzz about this small taco shop lately, and I’d heard that the food was both tasty and authentic Mexican, plus it’s a quick and inexpensive place to eat.
Upon arrival, we walked in and stood there, likely looking a bit lost. The person at the counter asked if we’d been before and needed a hand, and so he explained to us that all of the different types of toppings were on the menu board overhead and we could pick and choose to make a combo meat plate of four tacos (or vegetarian / vegan, if we so desired).
So we tried to get a good variety between the two of us, and then placed our orders and took a seat along the wall towards the back. There is only room for about 15 people to dine inside, but it seemed that quite a few people were coming in for takeout while we we there as well.
We started to drink our Jarritos sodas – I got the Tamarind one. I actually quite liked it as the drink wasn’t too sweet, and it was just subtly flavoured with the fruit.
A few minutes later, my plate came out first, and the staff person quickly described what he handed over to me. It actually took me quite awhile before I figured out that one of the tacos was wrong, and instead of the Chicken, or Pollo con Mole one, he had given me what I think was an Asada (front taco in the picture below). And by then I was almost done eating. 🙁
Back to the plate. There were also two lime wedges provided, and a few hot sauces of varying strengths on a side counter area, where you can go over and take your pick.
Now let’s start with the Pescado, or seasonal grilled fish taco with pico de gallo. This one looked like it had the most filling of any of the ones that I got, but when I took my first bite, I was a little put off. The fish was a bit too strong in flavour, and it concerned me that it wasn’t all that fresh. My friend also got the same one, and he actually made a face right away as well and looked at me to see if I was noticing the same thing he was – guess we were both in agreement there! To the back left of the picture below, is what I believe to be the Arrachera, or house marinated skirt steak. I found it to have way too much sauce, and I didn’t really like the sweet taste – I will not get that one again! Finally, I had the braised Beef Tongue, or Lengua, which was just okay as well.
Now on to my friend’s plate, the front right of which was the Carnitas, or pork confit with pickled red onions. I liked the sweet and tart flavour of the onion and also enjoyed the meat on this one. It provided for a great variety of taste sensations and was actually my favourite taco for that lunch. The Asada, or Canadian AAA flank beef served with cucumbers (at least I think that’s what it was, front left) was probably the best of the beef ones I tried. It was quite simple – just meat and some onions and cilantro and cucumbers, on which we threw a little medium hot sauce. The final one we tried was the Pastor, pork marinated with achiote, chili and pineapple. This one had a nice sweetness to it from all of the fruit.
So although I’ve heard so many things about this taco shop lately, I’m not sure it’s the place for me. I do agree that while it’s quick and inexpensive for a lunch containing fresh, locally grown ingredients, the execution just didn’t work for me. The tacos were cold, and nothing really stood out from the six options that I tried.
I think I’m on my own again on this one!