La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop
322 West Hastings Street
Its been over a year but I finally made my way down to this by now, well known taqueria not far from Victoria Square where the Remembrance Day ceremonies took place this week. There seems to be a mix of die hard fans and those who are skeptical of its authenticity or just plain disappointed by the flavors or even the portion sizes out there in the blogosphere about La Taqueria. I always take all of these opinions just as they are, individual thoughts and impressions that each of them are absolutely entitled to. In the end it comes down to me (and everyone else) to decide if they enjoy the food, with varying factors influencing just how we interpret and therefore accept them on our taste buds.
To conduct my own personal experiment as a first time customer in this compact shop on West Hastings Street, the order of the day was this plate of four of their meat taco options…
Actually, it was split with another person so I only had two of what you see here: the pescado (fish) and the de lengua (beef tongue). The special of the day was the pollo (chicken) con mole; pictured at the top. I began by biting first into the fish taco, mainly because its probably my most favorite ingredient when it comes to this type of Mexican food and to help me frame my earlier experience with it at Chronic Tacos. The thing that hit me right away was the tantalizing smoky grill scent that exuded from inside the pocket of the doubled-up corn tortillas. The freshness of this packet also struck me as nothing I’ve ever had from a taco in Vancouver before.
The tang of the squeeze of lime also brought out the bright flavors. Its what I love about tacos done right, packed with intense flavors from just a few simple ingredients, all playing their part in coming together and making a pint-sized package of mouth watering explosion! Secondarily, the beef tongue was not as exciting but still really fork (though none was used) tender, and contrasted nicely with the fine chopped onion and cilantro that rounded out the ingredient list within. It was prepared differently than I’d had at say Las Tortillas, where it was cut more “chunkier” and definitely more chewy in texture as a result. Whether that makes or breaks beef tongue for you is your call. I’m fine either way.
While it was a tiny sample size of just two of the tacos on the sign board, I came away very pleased with what they got going on at La Taqueria. Friendly service and speedy food construction and delivery to where I was sitting on a stool to eat just added to the positive encounter. To boot, the larger man behind the counter who was one of those making the meals just added to the sense of “yeah, they do it right here” feeling. After all, as my dining partner expressed, “I don’t trust a skinny chef”, you just knew this fellow has had his share of tacos and is a good guy to have at the preparation station.
Lastly, I just thought I’d mention what a fantastic little business card La Taqueria has produced and is available at the counter. For some reason, I love collecting these mementos from places I eat at, if only just to capture the address and phone number for future foodosophy write ups or follow up visits. Printed on good stock paper, colorful and with an intriguing image – it caught my eye! It could almost be mistaken for a playing card, perhaps someone can explain the image and the text beneath it (that reads: El Catrin). Also active on the Twitter and Facebook scenes, La Taqueria seems to be rolling along…