Sunday, May 15, 2011

El Taco

My cravings seemed to follow a Mexican theme because for the past month, I have been eating tacos at Taco Time; two beef tacos - sometimes three - and a regular mexifries deluxe. Which explains the lack-of-almost-non-existent blogs. So no, I am not dead. I have just been eating tacos at Taco Time. Ah, it's been a while.

There are only so many tacos you can consume at a food court before you realize that it's just not the same as the real thing. You know what I mean? It is almost like a smoker trying to quit with Nicorette - a piece of gum is just not the same as a cigarette. Not that I know what it really feels like to quit smoking, but I would assume it is the same as suppressing a craving with a substitute. So when I went with B to Misako the other day and passed by El Taco, my jaw dropped, heart skipped a beat, and all I could think of was "Taco, taco, taco. Taco." When you walk into El Taco, the first thing you will probably see is a giant menu board above the cashier, and then take notice of the various Mexican trinkets and décor around the restaurant - including a couple bottles of Patron on a shelf behind the counter. I have never been to Mexico, but it felt rather authentic to me. After taking a look over their menu, we ordered the Five layer dip served with corn chips to share and of course, a Beef Taco for myself and then sat down at one of the many flower patterned tables to wait for our food. Oh yeah, we got a bottle of Jarritos as well. Why? Because it came in a glass bottle.

The chips and dip came first and it was bigger than we expected to be. Considering it was just an appetizer, there was a good amount of chips. B and I both didn't really like the dip because it had way too many beans. Keep in mind that my only real experience with Mexican food is from a food court, and this is the first time I have ever had five layer dip, so I'm not sure if the amount of beans in this dip was the norm. The other layers, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo (I am assuming this is some kind of tomato salsa) were really thin in comparison and was over powered by the taste of the beans. And the cheese that was supposed to be the fifth layer? Well, that was non-existent. We didn't get any cheese. We did, however, really like the corn chips. The were lightly salted, thin, and crisp - like a Dorito without the cheese. What do you call nacho's that aren't yours? Nacho cheese. Ha.

Not too long after, I got my taco and it was small and not in a hard shell the way I liked it. Doesn't matter though, because it was really good and surprisingly, really filling as well. The beef (seasoned and shredded) and beans was served on two soft corn tortillas and then piled high with lettuce, guacamole and pico de gallo. The corn tortillas were nice and chewy, doughy in a good way. I sprinkled in some Chipotle and Tomatillo salsas/sauces on top and that added a nice kick on top of the seasoned beef. I did have to scrape a bit of the beans out because it was too much for my tastes.

Overall, El Taco was definitely something different and I liked the change, but I still prefer hard-shelled tacos. What would have made me really happy though, was if they were to serve Churros. I have been searching for one for ages, and from what I can tell, Churro's have become extinct in the Greater Vancouver area. Likewise, Mexican joints are just as rare. If anyone has any recommendations - please do share!

El Taco on Urbanspoon


  1. Real tacos do not come in crunchy shells!

  2. But crunchy shells are so yummy!

  3. Churros are served at PNE.

  4. A review by someone who only knows food court tacos is not the best. Crunchy tacos are not Mexican. Authentic tacos that are served in authentic stands and restaurants are soft and normally 2 small tortillas served doube with each filling you order. Pico de gallo is salt, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, lime juice and onions. It is one type of salsa served. Best place for authentic tacos is Pinche Tacos on Hastings near Homer St. They use free range meats and are the most authentic tasting tacos in Vancouver. Trust me, my husband is Mexican and I also lived there for a few yrs and am extremely familiar with authentic Mexican. Sometimes authentic ones open up, you hear about them and then next thing you know they close up. The Taquieria on Hastings is busy all the time and the best. Try it out. Appreciate this review as if we are in the West End it is another place to try.

  5. oh man looking through your mexican food is making me so jelly!! i MISS good mexican food so badly.. omgosh you don't know what i'd for a good buritto hahah!!