May 5th, 2013. Happy Cinco de Mayo~~~

Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
Holidays are a wonderful reason to enjoy food, and Mexican holidays are even better because we can get piggy with tacos!!  I actually discovered this super authentic Mexican hole-in-the-wall in New West and was chomping at the bit to try it out.
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Taqueria Playa Tropical is on 6th Street with a few other local gems. When I walked in there was a Mexican band playing, the small restaurant was packed full and decorations had been put up here and there to give it a festive feel.
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The super friendly server sat me at a fairly spacious table with a menu and I proceeded to inspect the menu for my options.
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Obviously I had to order some Guava Juice. I love sweet tropical fruit!!  Guava and Watermelon. My favourite 2 fruit flavours 😉
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The tortilla chips came in this adorable stone mortar which was cool.  Salsa verde and rojo were both pretty legit, too!  I just love condiments ;D
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I ended up ordering a trio of tacos: Camaron, Carne Asada and Carnitas. The Carne Asada and Carnitas are my usual barometers for any given taqueria. I figure any self-respecting taqueria has to be able to deliver on these 2 staples.
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
 
 
First, the Carne Asada. The brightness of the fresh cilantro, tomato and onion were a refreshing foil to the straightforward beef. I appreciated that the beef wasn’t over done, it had enough moisture so that it didn’t get stringy and tough. Good start!
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
Next, the Carnitas! The carnitas was slightly drier than I expected but it had the right amount of heat with the perfect amount of sweet undertone.  And of course the guac was just on point! Just like the toppings on the carne you could tell my just looking at the guacamole that it was fresh. Vibrant color and flavour with the sharp tang of onion and cilantro cooling the heat of the pork. I still enjoyed it 🙂
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
I went out on a limb with the Camaron. I usually don’t order shrimp because it’s so easy to over-cook it, get shrimp that’s not fresh, or too small. I have to say, my choice paid off big time! I think I actually almost liked this taco the most! The shrimp was cooked just right having the right amount of spring, crunch and tenderness. Sweet grilled onion with some garlic, celery and cilantro topped with melted cheese.  This? You should eat this. It’s not aggressive, but it’s this wonderful harmony in your mouth! And of course you can always add a little salsa on it to amp it up 😉  This one was so good!
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
I give Taqueria Playa Tropical my seal of approval and would come again. It definitely has moved to the top of my list for Mexican food in Vancouver!
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April 27th, 2013. Spring Break in Vancouver!

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

 

So what to do in Vancouver? Eat as much food as possible! Continuing on our food-cation in Vancouver: a bite in Yaletown at El Azteca Modern Tequila Lounge 😀

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

Sure, Yaletown can be hit and miss in terms of actual good food and compared to how beautifully gussied up the interior is the service and authenticity of the cuisine can be a disappointment…but you can’t help trying.  Yaletown is like that really popular, pretty girl at the party that you just keep hoping is going to be your future wife, but then she opens her mouth and starts talking…and you realize that she thinks scalloped potatoes are made of scallops and that macaroons are the same as macarons…..

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

Anyways!! I digress.  With a preamble of cocktails, Robert and I started the evening with the Chicharron de Rib Eye; deep fried bites of rib-eye and guacamole served in a martini glass and a side of tortillas.  So, I really wanted to love this, and on paper it all sounded so good!  Not that it wasn’t good…the crunch on the rib-eye was great…but I think I’d have to say that rib-eye should just be left alone…not diced up small and that fried. Really ended up masking the flavor. But hey! It was still pretty yummy…just didn’t need to be made of rib-eye!

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

Robert went ahead with the Tacos Camarones of fresh Pacific shrimp, bacon, onion, peppers, and smokey habanero. The shrimp was plump, the flavors all worked together, and of course the true test of a taco is how much finger-lickin’ you do! I’d say this was a decent effort 🙂

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

I did my usual hemming and hawing over the menu and even picked our server’s brain.  In the end I ended up with the Cochinita Pibil. Pork slow-roasted in banana leaf (supposedly) and then served in a traditional peltre bowl served with a side of beans, pickles, and soft tortillas.

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

Did I enjoy it? YES! The pork came shredded, moist and smothered in a flavorful sauce that was sweet, tangy and had a little kick to it. 2 things I loved about this dinner: 1. It’s interactive. I get to build my own taco and play with ratio of ingredients.  LOVE THAT! 2. I was eating with a close friend whom I didn’t have to feel self-conscious about eating with my hands and having food juices dripping down my wrist. Hahaha!

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

 

 

I would NEVER order something like fajitas on a first-date situation, so the fact that I can order anything with Robert is a sign of true food-friendship ;D

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fun and playful touch to the end of our meal at El Azteca was the Jacob’s Ladder block toy that our check came in! Holy blast from the past!

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

 

Don’t judge my love for Churros. Or donuts. Or anything deep-fried.  With a tagline like “served with white chocolate dipping sauce” there is NO WAY I could resist an order to take out with me. Midnight snack here I come~!!!  Crispy, sugary, cinnamon-y, hot doughy goodness.  Yes, heaven, I’m sure, is full of churros 🙂

 

In conclusion, El Azteca is warm and inviting and service with cute Latino accents is always a plus, but the food doesn’t stand out, the flavors don’t pop, and for what you pay the portions are pretty meager. Is great for maybe a drink and small bites pre-party, but wouldn’t want to sink my entire night here.

Chronic Tacos – New West

November 5, 2013

January 15th, 2013. Birthday Tacos!! 

 

chronic tacos new west

chronic tacos new west

 

 

 

Eunice and Howard asked what I wanted to eat for my birthday..I said: TACOS!  Hahaha!  I had lifegroup later that night so we went to Chronic Tacos in New Westminster for lunch.

 

chronic tacos new west

chronic tacos new west

 

 

 

 

I decided I wanted to go full out and got both the Carne Asada & Carnitas Tacos as well as Chips & Salsa!  The crunch of the chips were so satisfying with the tacos!  Yummy birthday lunch!!

November 8th, 2012. Raging Bull Mesquite Grill 

raging bull mesquite grill

raging bull mesquite grill

 

 

 

 

 

Intense bootcamp training day with all the DAVIDsTEA new hires!  With several new stores opening before the holiday season seemed like all the managers came out to this training session!  We all somehow fit like sardines in a can in a conference room at Pacific Centre.

raging bull mesquite grill

raging bull mesquite grill

 

 

 

Half an hour for a quick lunch break?  I made a beeline outside the mall knowing the mall food court would be impossible and literally stopped at the first food truck I sighted!  Raging Bull Mesquite Grill food truck it is!  With land, sea and garden (vegetarian) option and a chalkboard boasting “the best burritos in Vancouver” I thought “done deal!”.

raging bull mesquite grill

raging bull mesquite grill

 

 

 

 

I opted for the Fajita Wrap with beef (steak).  It was a hefty and saucy burrito with lots of nice, moist rice, crisp lettuce, crisp and fresh salsa and pretty tender steak!

raging bull mesquite grill

raging bull mesquite grill

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not only was the service friendly, the burrito is a good size packed with quality, fresh ingredients (I could only scarf down half on my way back up to the conference room!).  I definitely feel like I made a good choice AND contrary to my fellow trainees I actually got food and was back in time 😉

Chronic Tacos (New West)

February 19, 2013

May 1st, 2012. Chronic Tacos

chronic tacos (new west)

chronic tacos (new west)

 

 

 

A Chronic Tacos in New West?? So close to me??  I’m there!!  All day I planned to zip by here for some eats after work before zipping out to Langley for Lifegroup at Carmi & Evangel’s.  Despite a very crazy-random hiccup (my boss’s car ran out of gas on the Port Mann bridge on the way to his son’s baseball practice and I had to deliver fuel to him) my unbending dedication to tacos had me heading back in the opposition direction as fast as possible to beat the clock while not driving illegally!  Yes, that’s how much I love tacos.

chronic tacos (new west)

chronic tacos (new west)

 

 

 

A joint made popular in California and spread to Vancouver this one in New West was the newest location to open and I had to give it a try.  Looking at the menu I was a little surprised with how steep the prices are and had to do some mental contemplation on how to make the most of this meal.

chronic tacos (new west)

chronic tacos (new west)

 

I ended up getting a taco AND a torta!  For the taco I went with the Al Pastor (spicy marinated pork with pineapple and onion).  The slight sweetness from the pineapple was not very prominent and I would have liked some more heat, but the salsa verde and the cilantro and onions I added on brought more flavor and added some juice.  I thought the taco was a little dry.

chronic tacos (new west)

chronic tacos (new west)

 

 

 

 

Mmmm..there’s nothing quite as lovely as the vibtrant colors of a good taco 😉

chronic tacos (new west)

chronic tacos (new west)

 

 

 

 

Last time I had a torta was in NYC….and since I have been in NEED of a good torta!  I got the Carnitas Torta.  Look at the size of that!!  I made sure to get lots of limes so I could load up as I go 😉  And I was prepared to take what I couldn’t finish of this sandwich home with me.  Bonus snack!!

chronic tacos (new west)

chronic tacos (new west)

 

 

Mmmmmmmmm~~~ fried bread goodness, creeeeaaaaammmmmy avocado/guacamole, substantial amount of slow cooked pork, refried beans and a whack of salsa rojo and salsa verde.  It was not quite as moist as I would have liked, but it was still darn delicious 🙂  For a taco place in New West I’d give this torta another go round for sure!

March 12th, 2012. La Taqueria~

la taqueria (fairview slopes)

la taqueria (fairview slopes)

 

 

Yay!!  I was out on assignment in the Fairview Slopes flying solo covering a demonstration being made nearby the Chinese Consulate in protest of the Chinese government releasing North Korean refugees back to North Korea.

la taqueria (fairview slopes)

la taqueria (fairview slopes)

 

 

Figured I should just grab lunch while I’m in the area, so I chose La Taqueria on Broadway and Cambie!  Finally, a chance to satiate my Mexican food craving!  Eric was kind enough to join me for my Mexican lunch break 🙂  Pinche Tacos, baby, pinche tacos!

la taqueria (fairview slopes)

la taqueria (fairview slopes)

 

 

 

I opted for the 4 meat tacos for $9.50.  From bottom left clockwise: Tinga de Pollo (chicken with chorizo in a chipotle tomato sauce topped with mexican cheese and sour cream), Pollo Con Mole (Maple Hills chicken with chocolate mole sauce), Al Pastor (pork marinated in achiote chilli and pineapple), and Carnitas (pork confit with pickled red onions).

la taqueria (fairview slopes)

la taqueria (fairview slopes)

 

I loved the Pollo Con Mole because the mole sauce was so delicious!  Sweet, deeply chocolatey and still savory.  The Tinge de Pollo was great with the cheese and sour cream topping.  The Al Pastor also had that sweet-savory thing going with the pineapples.  Lovely pork!  I thought the Carnitas fell a bit short in flavor, which was sad since it’s one of my favorite types of tacos.

All in all a very satisfying lunch despite a few minor disappointments, such as the lack of cilantro, onions and radishes.  But hey, I’d come back 😉

Taqueria Mi Charrito

October 8, 2012

January 2nd, 2012. Hello, 2012 with Jenn & Hen!

taqueria mi charrito

taqueria mi charrito

 

Henry lost his passport at the end of the semester…
so he wasn’t able to come home to be with family over his winter holiday break. So sad! His first year away from home and he was all alone 😥   Luckily he had some very generous friends who let him stay with them and had fun during the vacation.

 

taqueria mi charrito

taqueria mi charrito

  

 

But being nuna, I had to make a trip down to see my lil bro and bring some holiday family love 🙂

  I had spotted a little hole-in-the-wall taqueria on University Way and really wanted to try some tacos before heading home to Vancouver.

 

taqueria mi charrito

taqueria mi charrito

 

I ordered the Chorizo and the Cabeza (beef cheek) Tacos.  They were piled with plenty of onions and cilantro and I topped it off with salsa verde as well as some pico de gallo.

  I’ve had better, but these hit the spot for a tight fix.  I would have liked a bit more flavor to come out of the asada. 

 

 

   If I lived in the area, I’d totally come here, though….I mean, $1.75 for a taco?  Yes please!