La Taqueria: Cambie

As we discussed today’s lunch plans last night, I jokingly said to Dom that maybe we could get some tacos at La Taqueria on our way home from Chipotle. His reply? “Don’t challenge me!” I’ve been to La Taqueria a grand total of 3 times and already, I am a self-proclaimed taco snob. My life is now chronologically categorized by B.L.T. (Before La Taqueria) and A.L.T. (After La Taqueria). 18 years B.L.T. I occasionally enjoyed Taco Time’s Taco Tuesday and was especially excited over the rare times I had Taco Bell (as we don’t have one in Vancouver). But now we’re in a new era; it is a new time. It is the age of A.L.T. and All You Can Eat Taco Tuesdays at The Famous Warehouse should be outlawed. Why would you ever eat that, when you can eat this?

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La Taqueria is across the street from the Broadway-City Hall Canada Line station. It is the funkiest little restaurant ever! I absolutely love everything about it. I love the Tiffany blue with the deep yellow accent, the white tiled walls with the Virgin Mary mural.

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The daily special is 4 meat tacos for $9.50 or 4 veggie tacos for $7. But silly La Taqueria, this is always their daily special.

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I always appreciate it when a dining establishment has a sense of humour! As Andrew Carnegie said, “There is little success where there is little laughter“.

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Here is their menu. They offer 8 meat tacos and 4 veggie tacos. La Taqueria also offers quesadillas, starting at $4 with any meat/veggie taco filling at $1/$1.50 each respectively. You can also sit at this bar if you’d like to watch the kitchen run. I love open kitchen concepts because I really believe it makes you appreciate the food that you’re served that much more.

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La Taqueria offers 12 tacos in total. Their other location is at 322 West Hastings.

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Damn dat pile of onions! And notice the stack of colourful plates in the back, La Taqueria serves its tacos on vibrant plastic plates.

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La Taqueria is not a big restaurant. In fact, I’m not sure that this place could seat more than 30 people at a time. But it sure is cute!

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Complimentary water in a cool metal water jug. At La Taqueria, the cashier takes your order over the counter and you help yourself to a seat. When your tacos are ready, one of the servers brings your plate out of the kitchen and yells out your name.

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At this point, I really wasn’t hungry. I mean, we just had lunch at Chipotle not even an hour ago! But when the tacos arrived on our table, I really couldn’t help myself. Dom and I were planning to order two each but I suggested that if we just each ate half, we could both try four flavours (how “foodie” of me).

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We ordered the Al Pastor (pork marinated in achiote chilli and pineapple). I actually didn’t get to try this one today because silly me forgot how difficult it is to share things like soft tacos. But I’ve had it before and I recall that it is one of my favourite ones. But then again, I think I may like all of them equally so that doesn’t really say much. What I like about it is the unexpected burst of sweetness you get from the pineapple.

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This is the Pescado (grilled seasonal fish with pico de gallo). According to Wikipedia, pico de gallo is “a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, white onion, and chilis (typically jalapeños or serranos)”. I think the pico de gallo may be my favourite part of the Pescado. I really love this one. The fish is so savoury but is countered by the freshness of the pico de gallo.

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The Carnitas was Dom’s favourite. This is pork confit with pickled red onion. I really enjoy this one as well. The diced white onion with the sweet pickled red onion really balances out the heavy taste of the braised pork for me. We loved this because the pork literally melted in your mouth. It was soft, it was tender, it was moist and it was wonderful.

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I do have one complaint but it really isn’t a fair complaint. I hate corn so I have an issue with their tortillas. However the taco toppings are so aromatic that it sometimes masks the horrible stench of corn from the tortilla. But thats a personal battle I have to fight alone.

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The fourth taco we had was the Tinga de Pollo (chicken with with chorizo in a chipotle tomato sauce, topped with Mexican cheese and sour cream). I’m not a big fan of sour scream but I think its growing on me! This taco wasn’t especially memorable to me since I can’t remember anything about it at this moment.

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Dom loved the Carnitas taco so much that before we left, he ordered one more (they’re $2.50 each if you don’t order them in 4′s). La Taqueria has a condiment station with various sauces, jalapeños, etc. Personally, I find that the tacos are flavoured perfectly without the sauces but Dom added a sauce to his last taco and really enjoyed it. He also said that this last one was made better than the first Carnitas taco we shared.

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One of my favourite things about La Taqueria (other than the tacos and the funky interior decoration) is the staff! The staff are all so friendly and genuine. On my first visit, I explained that I was a taco noob and my cashier explained every taco that I ordered to me. When they bring your order to you, the server names each taco for you so you know what you’re eating. And their social media monitoring? Very impressive! I swear they reply every tweet they receive! It really makes customers feel appreciated and valued. I learned this about technology in my MIS class and now I’m experiencing it from the other side of the table, as the customer.

Next time, I’ll be sure to visit on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. After checking their Facebook page, I discovered that they hold Horchata Tuesdays, Taco Wednesdays and Juevebes Thursdays. On Horchata Tuesday, mention the Horchata Tuesday post while ordering to receive a free horchata! On Taco Wednesday (radical), it’s buy 4 tacos get 2 for free, which is a great deal ($5 off!). And Juevebes Thursday is $3 beer all day long. And if for whatever reason you find yourself at La Taqueria on a day other than Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, its okay! They have daily “Word of the Day” posted on their Facebook with which you can redeem your 5th taco for free!

Thanks for eating with me!

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