Tag Archives: Mexican food

Finally… Taco Fest has come back to Toronto!!!!!!

When it’s summertime in Toronto, that means there’s a different food festival going on just about every weekend. Of course, thanks to COVID, we haven’t been able to hit up any festivals since 2019. But now that everything is reopening, festival season is back in full swing, starting with one of my personal favourites, Taco Fest!!!!

I actually hadn’t been to Taco Fest since 2016, so this trip to Ontario Place was looooong overdue. And in a city where you can pay $31 for three lamb birria tacos, it’s nice to know that most tacos here were anywhere from $4 to $8 max. That means for 80 bucks I had enough for 10 tacos, a couple Coronas (literally the only beer they had, bro) and maybe even an ice cream for dessert. Can’t go wrong with that at all!!!!

balam_suadero_taco (14)

Balam suadero taco
We’re starting off right with some beef brisket, son! Balam lets you add your own toppings, so I loaded this one up with onions, pico, cilantro and lime…to the point where you can’t even see the meat.

marquesita_taco_campechano (11)

Marquesita taco campechano
Steak meats chorizo in this Flavourtown double down, with just a little hot sauce on top to kick it up a notch.

pinata_tacos_grilled_cactus (12)

Piñata Tacos Grilled Cactus
Had to order this so I could say I had one green thing. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside…  Not just one of the Top 5 cactus tacos I’ve ever had, but one of the Top 3 tacos I had at the festival — for reals!!!

tamarind_amritsari_fish_taco (4)

Tamarind Amritsari Fish Taco
This Indian food truck is kicking it up a notch with this breaded fish taco topped with all kinds of veggies. With all this salad, guess I didn’t need that cactus taco after all!

bettys_kitchen_pig_ears (6)

Betty’s Kitchen Deep Fried Pigs Ears
Now, this one is maybe a little too funky. Pig ears basically taste like you’re chewing on crunchy gristle, without any meat. Hey, I’ll try anything once…but I wouldn’t try this one twice.

pico_de_gallo_chicken_milanesa (13)

Pico de Gallo chicken milanesa taco
Nice, thick piece of breaded chicken breast with just a bit of chipotle to kick it up a notch.

pad_thai_fish_taco (12)

Tacos de la Mer Pad Thai fish
Not your typical take on a fish taco, with beer battered cod topped with pad Thai sauce, pico de gallo, bean sprouts and cilantro. Fish is hot and crispy, and the sauce really kicks it up a notch. Good stuff!

atomic_10_k-pop_taco (6)

Atomic 10 K-Pop Taco
Korean BBQ beef served cold with bahn mi toppings. It basically tastes like a bahn mi, without the baguette.

birria_bacon_taco (12)

Bacon Nation birria bacon taco
Now, you could line up for an hour at Birria Catrina… or you can go a couple stalls down for this bad boy. Birria with bacon? Shut the back door, bro!!!

dope_ass_duck_taco (12)

Dope As Duck Dope Ass Taco (duck)
Dope As Duck had one of the longest lines at this shindig, with carnitas loaded fries, churro donuts and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos street corn. But since I’m only here to eat tacos, I’m going for this Dope Ass duck taco. Nice, crispy shell with pulled duck, salsa, sour cream… Not bad, but probably not worth waiting 30 minutes for.

avocado_ice_cream (8)

After all those tacos back there, I think I’m pretty full — this avocado ice cream cone oughtta do’er.

Eating all the tacos @ Añejo

So we’re hanging out at Añejo, this funky Mexican joint on King West. Last time we were here, I went to town on this Mexican meat mountain in Flavourtown, which was soooo outta bounds, bro! But you KNOW we can’t go to a Mexican place and not eat tacos — so that’s why it’s time for another visit.

Now, this place has got about a dozen tacos on the menu, but the fancier ones only come in threes. However, you can get their “Tacos Classico” in any combination of one, three or six — and with six different kinds, that means I’m having one of each.

anejo_barbacoa_taco (3)

Forget about saving the best for last — we’ve having this one first, son!  I’m talking Barbacoa, a super tender pulled beef short rib with crunchy bites of raw jalapeños… I could slam, like, six of these alone!!!

anejo_chicken_tinga_taco (4)

But we’ve moving right along to the Chicken Tinga taco. I usually find chicken tacos to be boring, but this one was a cut above — meat was very tender, although it did not have much of a kick.

anejo_braised_mushrooms_taco (8)

On the other hand, the Braised Mushrooms Taco is both the sauciest and spiciest one so far. Not quite as hot as the mushroom birria at Rosalinda… but I definitely needed a few sips of Michelada after this!!!

anejo_chorizo_taco (6)

The Chorizo Crumble was not too dry or too spicy. Basically, it was like ground beef — except it’s sausage. Oh, and a bunch of of it fell out the back…

anejo_pulled_pork_taco (3)

When it comes to pork tacos, though, I preferred the Pulled Pork. This one gets the job done with a nice little tang, son!!!

anejo_fried_tilapia_taco (6)

Crispy Fried Tilapia was both crispy and flaky. A bit of the house made crema really kicks it up a notch!!!

anejo_churros (4)

But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! Last time, I tried the tarta de chocolate, but now we gotta go for the churros. Hot ‘n crunchy, with a whole buncha powdered sugar, and some chocolate sauce on the side for dipping… There’s nothing wrong with that at all!!!

Vegan nachos & tacos and churros… Dios mío!

Now, you KNOW this is body by Mexican food, bro! And while I’ve had a few vegan tacos before, it only happens when I order every taco on the menu and one of them happens to be vegan. But now we’re hanging out at Rosalinda, this funky downtown Mexican joint…where all the food is vegan. So I guess I’ll be eating more than one vegan taco today, bro?

First, we’re starting off with some nachos that are not only vegan, but gluten-free. The chips are definitely extra-crunchy, but they still taste pretty good. Plus, you’ve got pico de gallo, guacamole and some jalapenos on top, which are a few of my favourite plant-based things, right there. The one thing this dish is really missing is cheese, though — while they do have a butternut “queso” drizzled on top (along with a cashew “crema”), it just doesn’t have the same texture or flavour as some shredded cheddar.

Now, I gotta give ’em credit for nailing the texture on these mushroom birria tacos. This is the first time we’ve had birria tacos with the dipping sauce on Triple B, even though I’ve seen ’em popping up everywhere since the pandemic started. Dude, this spicy mushroom stew is hearty enough that you don’t really miss the meat here. But these are some of the most expensive tacos I’ve seen in Toronto — 2 for $19 or 3 for $27. Dude, I could get 27 tacos from Latin World for that price, bro! (Not sure if I could eat them all, though…)

But since we only had three tacos here, that means I’ve still got room for dessert. And even though their Drunken Pineapple was my nickname from that time I went to Hawaii, I still had to go with the churros. I mean, I’m not sure what part of churros aren’t vegan to begin with, but these ones were pretty on-point, just a little on the crunchy side, though. You’ve also got dulce de leche on the inside, and chocolate sauce on the side, which makes for a pretty solid one-two punch in Flavourtown!!!!!

Holy chicken mole & guacamole!!!

Don’t get me wrong, this is body by tacos bro (especially Doritos Locos Tacos)…but there’s more to Mexican food than just tacos. We’re hanging out at Barrio Cerveceria, this funky joint on Queen St East. And yes, I did go for tacos last time I was here — almost 5 years ago — but I decided to go with something totally different this time.

barrio_mole_poblano (11)

Dude, this Mole Poblano is soooo outta bounds, bro! You’ve got a fistful of chicken, served in a thick, brown sauce that’s a little sweet, and more than a little spicy — let’s just say they put the Poblano in Mole Poblano… And there’s enough sauce on this plate that I could take a bath AND fill up the Camaro with it!!!!

guacamole_del_barrio (3)

Now, I thought I’d be getting mucho mas guacamole for 16 bucks — but at least the chip-to-dip ratio was on point, with enough nachos for all the guac…and I didn’t even hafta double dip the chip, George Bro-stanza!!!!!

negra_modelo (5)

Now, for a place with Cerveza in its name, I was disappointed that they didn’t have any beers on tap. When we were there, the only options were Corona, Negra Modelo or the house lager. I gotta say, though, a couple Negra Modelos took some of the edge off that Mole Poblano, hermano!!!!

EATING LAS VEGAS: Trash can nachos & cheeseburger tacos @ Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho

Now, I had already been to Guy Fieri’s Las Vegas Kitchen & Bar, but when I heard that he opened this funky Mexican joint at the Rio, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro! Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho is only open for dinner, and they don’t take reservations, so I totally had to be first in line…well, actually third in line, but good enough?

I walk into this joint right when they open the doors to the tune of “Breaking the Chains” by Dokken, followed by “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” so I already knew this was gonna be a good night!!! Soundtrack is all 80’s metal — Judas Priest, Tesla, Accept, Quiet Riot… Better start charging me rent, cuz I think I might stick around!!!!!!!

trash_can_nachos (9)

Of course, the main reason to come here is for the Trash Can Nachos, which come inside an actual trash can (or at least a coffee can; I ordered the small version). These chips are topped with beans, jalapeños, pickled onions, pico de gallo and two types of cheese — cotija and queso — plus you can pay extra to add meat (I went with carne asada). Now, while its presentation is TheBomb.com, you end up with some chips that get all the goodies, and others that get nothing at all. Hey, these are no Sneaky Dee’s nachos, but still not bad, bros!!!

cheeseburger_tacos (4)

Up next, we’ve got some cheeseburger tacos. Who else but Guy Fieri would combine cheeseburgers and tacos, bro??? Ok, so these are basically your typical ground beef tacos, topped with a whole lotta queso — but I’d still put it on a flip-flop!!!

burro_borracho_churros (2)

Of course, even Guy Fieri knows that no Mexican meal would be complete without churros, bro! And man, these were some of the best churros I’ve ever had (the Mexican chocolate sauce was 2 legit 2 quit!) but there were enough churros here to feed a family of cuatro, cinco, cinco, seis… You KNOW I still scarfed em all down, though!!!!!

burro_churros_aftermath (3)

Washed it all down with a couple pints of Ballast Point Sculpin IPA. Nice ‘n hoppy, pretty heavy (7%) — soaks up all that Mexican food nicely! I almost died in my pants on the way back to my hotel, though… 😮

ballast_point_sculpin_ipa (3)

It’s a Mexican meat mountain in a bowl, bro!!!

Now, I know we just had Mexican the other day, but there’s no such thing as too much Mexican food, bro! We’re hanging out at Añejo, this funky joint in a basement at the corner of King and Portland that’s so legit, the guacamole is served up tableside!!!

anejo_guacamole (3)

Dude, it doesn’t get any fresher than this! You’ve got onions, tomato, cilantro, avocado and jalapenos, with a little garlic and lime, served with a side of tortilla chips. Man, I wish I could have somebody follow me around and make guacamole for me everywhere, bro!!!

anejo_molcajete_de_carne (9)

But the main reason I’m here is for the molcajete de carne, a sizzling meat stew that’s packing beef, chorizo and chicken, along with roasted veggies, tomato sauce, oaxaca cheese and even a piece of cactus into the pot. Plus, they give you a handful of tortillas, so you can basically make your own tacos, bros!!!!

anejo_tarta_de_chocolate (5)

But even after all that commotion back there, we’ve still got room for dessert. I’m talkin’ tarta de chocolate, a couple little brownie bites served with brandy, candied serrano peppers and some habanero salt, for that little extra kick. All that’s missing the big stone bowl, bro!!!!!!!!

Mexican breakfast for dinner, bro!!!

Dude, I loves me some Mexican for breakfast… this is body by chilaquiles, bro! But you don’t see it on the menu too often in Toronto — last time I had chilaquiles was for takeout during lockdown — so when I saw they were serving em up at El Catrin, this funky joint in the Distillery District, I had to get me some…even if it was 7:30 in the evening, son!

el_catrin_chilaquiles (1)

Now, in addition to your traditional chilaquiles — tortilla chips, cheese, onions and cilantro, topped with a fried egg — you can also add chicken, chorizo…or both. So you KNOW I had to double down, bro! But little did I know, I’d be climbing Meat Mountain — they sure don’t shortchange ya on the carne! In fact, when this dish arrived at the table, I didn’t even know there were nachos under there… And I dunno if it was the chicken or the chorizo, but one of them was pretty spicy!

el_catrin_taco_al_pastor (3)

Now, maybe those chilaquiles would be enough for breakfast, but since it’s dinnertime, I need a bit more. So I also went and ordered a trio of tacos al pastor, fully loaded with seasoned pork, pineapple, onions and cilantro. These were not the biggest or the best al pastor tacos I’ve ever had, but they did make for a pretty decent side dish. 😛

el_catrin_michelada (3)

And hey, since it’s breakfast for dinner, I had to wash it down with a Mexican-style Caesar. This michelada mixes Motts Clamato, Worchester-chester-chester-shire, Cholula hot sauce and a little salt ‘n lime with the in-house El Catrin lager. Served in an eight-ounce glass, it’s enough to get you through breakfast for dinner!

el_catrin_churro (2)

Now, I didn’t really have room for dessert after all that Mexican goodness…but you KNOW there’s always room for a churro, bro!!!!!

GRAND REOPENING: Tacos! Tacos! Tacos! @ Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!

You KNOW this is body by tacos, bro! So when we found this funky new joint serving up Tex-Mex style tacos on King Street called Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! we totally had to check it out. We’re talking fish tacos, we’re talking brisket…we’re even talking crispy cauliflower. OK, so maybe we might skip that one.

rabbit_fish_taco (8)

Now, this wasn’t the biggest or crunchiest fish taco I’ve ever caught, but it was still fairly flavourful, with some pico, cilantro and coleslaw, not to mention the chipotle crema oozing out all over the place… You could put that on a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!

rabbit_chicken_tinga (5)

Chicken tinga also had a nice little crunch from the radish and pickled onions, along with a little cotija cheese on top. This one also had a bit of a kick, but was not too spicy for this gringo… Let’s just say I chased it away with a couple pints of their house Rabbit! Cerveza.

rabbit_brisket_tacos (6)

Now, the smoked brisket tacos were probably the reason I came here. Dude, you definitely don’t see brisket tacos every day in Toronto, bro! They kinda buried the brisket in salsa verde and donkey sauce, but I think I found a way to kick things up a notch…

rabbit_brisket_tater_tots (4)

You KNOW I’m all about the meat ‘n potatoes, bro! So I ordered a side of tater tots, and then stuck a few of ’em on top. Man, the crunch from the tots reminded me of some of the breakfast tacos I had in Austin… Too bad the brisket was nothing compared to Franklin’s, though!

rabbit_tres_leches (10)

But even after slammin’ a fistful of tacos, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert. We’re talking tres leches, topped with toasted coconut and candied pineapple, for a little extra kick. Cake was nice ‘n moist, not too sweet, and there was plenty of pineapple to go around — you could put it on a pizza, and it would still taste good!!! 😛

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Cinco de Mayo Tacos from Pico de Gallo

Now we’re getting to that weird part of the year where, thanks to COVID, we’ve started celebrating holidays under lockdown for the second time. Not that we really celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Toronto — kinda like how St. Patrick’s Day isn’t much more than an excuse to day drink, Cinco de Mayo is pretty much just a reason to eat tacos. Lots and lots of tacos, bro! So when I saw this funky little joint called Pico de Gallo all over Instagram with their Combo for 2, you KNOW I had to check it out…even if there’s only one of me.

What we’ve got here is your choice of five tacos, either a burrito or a torta, and chips with guacamole, all for 40 bucks. Or, what we call a light lunch in Flavourtown. Now, let’s break it down…

chicken_adobo_taco (6)

La fiesta empieza with a chicken adobo taco. I know this looks like it’s about 50% lettuce, but once you get down to the meat, it’s pretty tasty.

baja_fish_taco (9)

Now, I was gonna get one taco of every different animal on the menu, except that they messed up my order a bit. More on that later. For now, feast your eyes on one of the Top Five fish tacos I’ve ever had, bro! Fish was light and flaky, with a nice crunchy batter, and the pour-your-own donkey sauce really kicked it up a notch!!!

grilled_shrimp_taco (10)

We’re staying under the sea with a grilled shrimp taco, topped with coriander, peppers and a spicy, smoky salsa. Now, they put four sauce containers on the platter, each one next to a taco, so I figured those were the sauces they were supposed to go with. But man, I probably shouldda tasted this one before pouring the whole thing onto the shrimp. This sauce was so hot, I needed several sips of Honey Habanero beer to cool it down!!!

honey_habanero_ale (5)

Picked this bad boy up from The Beer Store especially for this occasion. Now, I’ve already had a couple habanero beers south of the border in 2019, and one of them was like the spiciest thing I’ve ever drank. So I was expecting at least a little heat from this beer…and I didn’t get any. I didn’t really taste the honey, either. I mean, it was still a nice, light, crushable brew, but if you don’t taste the two things on the label, then I dunno, bro. Maybe I’ll try another can without any spicy Mexican food to see if it tastes any different.

UPDATE: OK, there is definitely more habanero heat when you don’t drink this with spicy Mexican food. Still not as overpowering as the Mango Habanero Oberon, but I am definitely feeling the bern right now…

beef_tongue_taco (6)

But now we’re back on the taco attack, with the best beef tongue taco I’ve ever had, bro! For me, good lengua should taste like the well-done beef at the edge of a prime rib roast, and this tongue was totally on point. Plus, the salsa I dumped on top wasn’t nearly as spicy as the last one…

beef_brisket_taco (8)

Now, here’s where Pico de Gallo dun goofed. I asked for a Taco Al Pastor in my order, but instead of sweet ‘n spicy pork with pineapple, I got a beef brisket taco instead. I dunno if they were sold out, or if they got mixed up cuz I had also ordered a beef brisket burrito, but that’s the breaks, little man.

Adding to my disappointment, this taco was not very good. The brisket was really dry, and all bunched up in a great big clump. Did it help that I had already eaten four tacos, all the chips with guac, and half a burrito before I even bit into this one? Probably not. But if there’s one taco from this combo that I would avoid ordering next time — even by accident — it would definitely be the brisket.

beef_brisket_burrito (22)

Speaking of brisket, this burrito suffered from the same predicament as its taco bro. Meat was really dry, but at least the rice, cheese and chipotle donkey sauce made for a bit of a better bite. Of course, I still ate it all…but I kinda wished I had gone for a Burrito Al Pastor instead!!!!

pico_de_gallo_aftermath (4)

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Killer chilaquiles from San Cosme

Now, I was pretty bummed out when Torteria San Cosme, a local Mexican sandwich institution in Kensington Market, shut down during the pandemic. But when I heard that they stopped, dropped and opened up a pop-up shop in the Entertainment District, I was all over that like salsa on a tortilla, hermana! And when I saw that they were serving up chilaquiles, a Guy Fieri favourite, you KNOW I had to get me some!!!

san_cosme_chilaquiles (22)

These chilaquiles rojos were fuera del campo, bro! You’ve got tortilla chips covered in roasted chicken, topped with a tomato-chipotle salsa, crumbled cheese and two scoops of crema. Now, like any dish involving nachos, this didn’t hold up well to delivery — most of the chips were pretty soggy by the time they arrived at my piehole. But while the soggy chips were still tasty, the best bites were the ones that still had a bit of crunch to ’em.

san_cosme_cochinita_torta (7)

Of course, you can’t order from a Torteria and not get a torta, cabron! This here’s their torta de cochinita, with tangy pulled pork, refried beans and pickled onions on a well-toasted roll. The chilaquiles were a pretty decent-sized meal on their own…but throw in this killer sammy, and it’s a Flavourtown double down, bro!!!!!!!!!