Tacos deserve a special spotlight in the world of finger food. The combination of a soft, warm, blanket of a shell, coupled with savory toppings provide the perfect food for late-night munchies. In a desolate world of university studies, I find that tacos and friends make for a perfect weekend kicker. But what makes the perfect taco?
A thin, light, corn/flour tortilla gently cradling a nest of refreshing, uplifting toppings that form the symphony of flavors that allow you to forget all the troubles of the day and just relax. If a taco can bring you this sense of relaxation, then you know that it is good. It should be simple; so simple that you don’t need to think about it. Unlike most food, the experience is not in savoring different elements of the food. Rather, the experience of a taco lies in the feeling of a job well done. It’s a pat on the back, a paycheck in the mail, or even the flash of WeBWorK green. With this in mind, I go to visit a popular taco shop, La Taqueria.
Visiting the Cambie street location, I set out to see if all the rave of this taco shop is worth it.
The restaurant atmosphere definitely provides a warm, relaxed, environment, starring casual, homey décor and music that suits the vibe. Colorfully painted walls and stools set the scene as a relaxed place to socialize with friends, rather than a traditional restaurant dining experience. Extremely energetic staff completes the package. On to the food!
If you’ve never had a Jarritos, the best way to describe it is a sugar-filled juice. Although it tastes artificial, you drink it out of childhood nostalgia of a juice packet. There’s not much to say, but if you’ve never had one, take a trip down nostalgia road!
Chips and dip is always the best appetizer when it comes to Mexican cuisine. However, La Taqueria’s guacamole and salsa could be improved. The guac could use less lemon, as it slightly overpowers the more delicate flavors. The salsa, on the other hand, needs a better balance of ingredients! Mostly consisting of tomatoes, the salsa could be enhanced with more onions, jalapeno, and green peppers. Overall, both the guac and salsa get a 6/10.
Carnitas: A concoction of pork confit and pickled red onions, you cannot go wrong with this! The pulled pork is soft, and provides enough substance to stand on its own. I give this a strong 9/10.
Pescado: Due to the flakiness of the fish, the fish feels overpowered and lost within the crunch of the cabbage. The result is a fish taco that does not have the texture of fish. However, the flavor is still prominent enough to come through. 6/10.
Pollo Con Mole: This is a must try for anyone who has never tried mole (mo-lay). Mole does contain nuts, for those who have allergies. This savory chocolate sauce provides a welcome contrast to bite sized chicken chunks. Even though I love this taco, I wish there was more chicken to reduce the taco to ingredient ratio. 8/10.
Al Pastor: Does pineapple belong on a taco? The saltiness and crunch from the shredded pork plays harmoniously with the sweet, soft pineapple chunks. Even though I’m not much of a pineapple fan, I must say I’m a fan of this taco! And yes, pineapple does go on a taco. 10/10.
Tinga de Pollo: Another spin on a chicken taco. For all you spice lovers, this one gives a good spicy kick! With the cheese and sour cream, the spiciness does not overwhelm this taco and the flavors still blossom. 8/10.
Baja: Now the 6 inch taco. This is a must have for all seafood lovers. A crispy, light battered, seasonal filet of fish with cabbage and chipotle mayo. Unlike the Pescado, the fish is very prominent because of the batter and plays very nicely with the soft texture of the taco. 10/10.
La Taqueria is a noteworthy taco shop without a doubt. A great place for any taco lover, from those trying tacos for the first time or taco experts!
Article by: Justin Li
Article photos: Justin Li
Featured photo: Rick Chung