Vancouver Foodster Best Taco Challenge 2019

Tuesdays aren’t the only day we dream about Tacos so Vancouver Foodster’s Best Taco Challenge is helping us find a new favourite taco for every day of the week.

The Best Taco Challenge runs May 16 – June 9, 2019 at restaurants around Metro Vancouver! 

Vancouver Foodster has challenged chefs to create their taco however their imagination can dream of; complicated or simple, traditional or uniquely non-traditional, vegetarian or meat-filled.

The public is invited to try out all of the Taco Challenge dishes then vote for their favourite creation at vancouverfoodster.com/taco-challenge to determine the People’s Choice Best Taco. 

In addition to the public vote, a panel of media judges, of which I’m proud and excited to be one, will be tasting the Best Taco Challenge entries to choose the Judges Choice Winner. Follow me, @jminter on Twitter and Instagram to see the Taco Challenge creations landing on my plate and those of the other Media Judges too, follow them at @lforlife_vancouver and @domoiscraving. See what other diners are talking about too by following #TacoChallengeYVR.

Don’t forget to follow the participating restaurants too, to see what they’re entry in the Best Taco Challenge;

Vancouver 
Las Tortas, 3353 Cambie Street

North Vancouver
Cinco De Mayo Mexican Grill, 200 Esplanade W.

Richmond
Little Mexico Cantina, 3131 Chatham St #150

Surrey
Hugo’s Mexican Kitchen,19151 Fraser Highwayn

Richmond
Hugo’s Tacos & Churros, 7899 Templeton Station Rd

Chilliwack
Hugo’s Mexican Food, 7101 Vedder Rd

Start planning your visits to Van Foodster Best Taco Challenge participants, try them all, and remember to vote for your favourite!

Chan Centre opens the season Aida Cuevas

photo: Aida Cuevas

The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC opens its season by welcoming Grammy Award-winning Mexican superstar Aida Cuevas along with the band Mariachi Juvenil Tecalitlán on September 22, 2018, at 8pm in the Chan Shun Concert Hall.

Hailed as ‘The Queen of Mariachi’ and renowned for her elegance, charisma, and stunning vocal range, Cuevas will sing traditional Mexican songs by the late singer-songwriter and musical icon Juan Gabriel in this hotly anticipated season opener.

“Aida is a star in every sense of the word — a singer with a gorgeously emotive voice and dynamic stage presence,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “When I first found out about her project honouring the music of Juan Gabriel, I knew it would be a significant event for fans of Mexican music and culture. It is fitting as well that the concert falls just six days after Mexican Independence Day. Ranchera music sung by women is incredibly special, and I’m so honoured to have this trailblazing female artist kick off our series performing in a genre that historically has been dominated by male musicians.”

photo: Aida Cuevas

A ranchera music legend, Cuevas has been celebrated both in her home country and on the world stage for more than four decades. Her unique voice and style have left a significant imprint in the history of Mexican music, with 39 albums selling more than eight million copies worldwide. This year, Cuevas broke new ground as the first female singer in the mariachi category, a normally male-dominated genre, to win a Grammy Award.

The concert at Chan Centre will pay homage to Gabriel, who passed away in 2016. The influential musician was not only Cuevas’ personal mentor, he was also Mexico’s best-selling recording artist of all time, a Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame inductee, and six-time Grammy award nominee. Cuevas is the only artist authorized by Gabriel’s estate to tour his music, and she will perform a selection of his beloved classics, including “Te Lo Pido Por Favor,” “La Diferencia,” and “Te Sigo Amando.” She will be backed by Mexico City-based Mariachi Juvenil Tecalitlán, alongside special guest musicians on requinto guitar, accordion, percussion, and keyboard.

Related to the concert, fans of Aida Cuevas may also enjoy the following events; 

Film Screening: Dos Tipos de Cuidado (Two Careful Fellows) — Thursday, September 13, 7pm, at The Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.).
Indulge in nostalgia for the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema with this beloved black and white film that follows the trials and tribulations of two best friends turned enemies. 

Pre-Show Talk with Ricardo García — Saturday, September 22, 7:15pm in the Royal Bank Cinema at the Chan Centre.
Ricardo García, a UBC graduate student 
from the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies, will be discussing the way in which female identity and empowerment is negotiated within Mexican music, with a special focus on mariachi and the legacy of Aida Cuevas.

Tickets for events are available online at chancentre.com

Vancouver Foodster 5th Taco Challenge – Recap

The votes are in and the 5th Vancouver Foodster Taco Challenge crown has been decided.  Over the past weeks, public and a panel of media judges, including myself, have been tasting and voting for our favourite tacos.

As with other Vancouver Foodster challenges, chefs were invited to be as creative as they like in order to highlight an already existing menu item or they could create a completely unique dish for their Taco Challenge entry.

For the 5th Taco Challenge, six chefs wrapped up their take on tacos, resulting in a great diversity of flavours to sample.  The tacos were served at eight different eateries from all across the region, from Chilliwack to Richmond and downtown Vancouver.  The public was encouraged to try any or all the Taco Challenge entries and then vote on Vancouver Foodster’s website for their favourites to be crowned People’s Choice Taco.  The media judges were also busy trying all the selections to choose the Judges’ Choice Winner.  Maizal Restaurant topped both polls with their Ebi Chamois, a creative combination of Mexican and Japanese flavours.

Maizal : Ebi Chamoi

Maizal: Ebi Chamoi
Japanese Mexican fusion, Tempura prawns with a mango salsa and umeboshi glaze, all on top of a hibiscus tortilla.

 

 

 

 

 

The other entries in the 5th Taco Challenge were (random order):

Las Tortas

Las Tortas: El Campechano 
Grilled Sirloin Beef & Chorizo, mixed with bits of crunchy chicharron & nopalitos (cactus leaves), on a bed of refried black beans in a Chipotle Tortilla, topped with sweet habanero mango crema, queso fresco, & pico de gallo.

 

La Cantina Tacos

La Catina: Gobernador
Shrimp, melted Oaxaca cheese, peppers and onion, topped with a chile de arbol Sinaloa style salsa.

 

 

 

 

 

Hopcott Meats

Hopcott Meat: YeeHaw Taco
Ancho chili marinated, shredded, chicken topped with cowboy caviar, cilantro crema and pickled onions on a whole wheat tortilla.

 

 

 

 

 

Hugos Churros

Hugos Churros: Meatless Taco
Papas con chorizo vegano, serrano cashew crema, avocado, grilled corn, lemon-pickled onions, cilantro.

 

 

 

 

Patron Tacos and Cantina

Patron Tacos & Cantina: Caribbean Vibes
Green plantain tortilla, topped with tilapia chicharrón seasoned with spices, cilantro aioli, topped with mango/habanero/cucumber chutney, garnished with green & red bell peppers.

 

 

 

Visit vancouverfoodster.com to find out the top three winners from each category.

Vancouver Foodster Best Taco Challenge is at hand

Taco Tuesdays take on new meaning this month as the Vancouver Foodster Best Taco Challenge gets under way, today May 3rd until May 27th.

Chefs near and far around the region have been challenged to create a taco that best exemplifies their restaurant. Vancouver Foodster has given the chefs free reign on their creations to make whatever their imagination dreams up; complicated or simple, traditional or uniquely non-traditional, vegetarian or meat-filled.

The public is invited to try out any or all of the Taco Challenge dishes then vote for their favourite creation at vancouverfoodster.com/taco-challenge

In addition to the public vote, a panel of media judges, of which I’m proud and excited to be one, will be tasting the Best Taco Challenge entries to choose the Judges Choice Winner.

Follow me @jminter on Twitter and Instagram to see the Taco Challenge creations landing on my plate and those of the other Media Judges too

James Chung : Founder & Editor of hellovancity.com
Twitter: HelloVancity
Instagram: hellovancity

Teresa Ly :  Foodie
Instagram: teelythefoodie

Get out and get your tacos and be sure to vote for your favourites!
The participating restaurants and dish details on the Vancouver Foodster Best Taco Challenge are;

La Cantina Tacos, 722 Nelson Street, Vancouver

Las Tortas, 3353 Cambie Street, Vancouver

Maizal, 2815 Main Street, Vancouver

Patron Tacos & Cantina, 265 Robson Street, Vancouver 

Hugo’s Churros, 7899 Templeton Station Road, Richmond 

Hugo’s Mexican Kitchen, 19151 Fraser Highway, Surrey 

Hopcott Meats, 18385 Old Dewdney Trunk Road, Pitt Meadows

Hugo’s Mexican Food, 7101 Vedder Rd, Chilliwack

Ready, set, Tacos! See you out there

4th Vancouver Foodster Taco Challenge is on now!

It’s time for the 4th Vancouver Foodster Taco Challenge. The sun is finally creeping out of it’s winter cocoon and Taco’s are the perfect food to get you in a sunny mood.

Restaurants from all over the city were invited by Vancouver Foodster to enter their own unique Taco creations into the Taco Challenge. Some of the restaurants and food trucks have created a special taco creation just for this challenge and others have entered their top choice off their existing menu. Each restaurant and food truck will be featuring their taco creation on their menu until June 4, 2017.

The public is invited to order these Taco masterpieces and taste with the judging criteria in mind – originality, creativity, uniqueness, traditional, non-traditional, price, value and most importantly taste. Taco tasters can vote the same day after trying the creation and they can vote once a day throughout the promotion to choose the People’s Choice Winner. 

People are encouraged to Vote for their favourites from until June 4, 2017.

by visiting http://vancouverfoodster.com/taco-challenge/

In addition to the public tasting, a trio of media judges are making their rounds and selecting to the Judges Choice, follow them on social media to see what gets your mouth watering and seek out the Tacos for yourself. 

The Media judges for Taco Challenge are: 

Mary Sheridan of Vancouver Bits and Bites Blog
Twitter: @MaryinVancity
Instagram @MaryinVancity 

Hanson Do of Nosh and Nibble blog
Twitter: @hansondee
Instagram @noshandnibble 

Zahra Alani, Co-host of CKNW.com Food Glorious Food
Twitter: @ZahraAlani
Instagram @zahra.alani


Look for Taco Challenge entries at:

Vancouver

Holi Masala Food Truck, Seymour & Georgia

Mandalay Burmese Kitchen, varying locations to be advised

Patron Tacos & Cantina, 265 Robson Street

Saj & Co, 813 Davie Street

The Pawn Shop, 1117 Granville Street

Zend Conscious Lounge, 1130 Mainland Street

Richmond

Hugo’s Churros, 7899 Templeton Station Road

 Little Mexico Cantina, 3131 Chatham St #150

For details of the taco challenge participating restaurants and to vote for your favourites visit vancouverfoodster.com
The winning restaurants and their Taco creations will be announced on June 7, 2017.

 

Vancouver Foodster Taco Crawl – recap

A sunny autumn evening was a perfect occasion for Vancouver Foodster’s first Taco Crawl.  The selected Vancouver restaurants created their take on their best taco bringing a balance of flavours and styles for the Taco Crawl patrons.

TacoCrawl_img_8927Meeting at Kalai’s Dosa Hut on Fraser Street we collected our Taco Crawl cards and menus.  Then we sat down for Dosa Hut’s unique variation on the taco, taking one of their signature dosas, and wrapping it around a nicely spiced tomato chicken (or vegetarian) filling.  Watching some of the other dishes and massive dosas coming from Chef Kalai’s kitchen made us put Dosa Hut on the list for a return visit.

TacoCrawl_img_8949Over in Cambie Village, we had a traditional pair of tacos from the always reliable Los Tortas Gourmet Mexican Sandwiches.  Soft tortillas enveloped rich, barbecued pulled pork or Mexican Zucchini, tomato and cheese.

TacoCrawl_img_8943Across the street, Tmix Tea & Dessert served up another unique ‘taco’. Tmix brought together hot and cold for a sweet taco. Wrapping one of their hot-from-the-griddle bubble waffles around ice cream.  From the list of a dozen plus flavours we settled on frozen brulée banana and red velvet cheesecake. The warmth of the waffle softened the frozen flavours enough to make it a soft ice cream sandwich or more like a burrito.

TacoCrawl_img_8955Downtown La Catrina Tacos, said to be Vancouver’s Best Mexican Tacos, presented another pair of traditional style tacos.  Hot tortillas piled high with filling; Papas Mexicanas – Mexican potatoes drizzled with cream and Res En Cascabel -zesty braised beef cooked in cascabel chili sauce. Add hot sauce, pickled onions, hot peppers to taste and make the tacos your own.

TacoCrawl_img_8963Getting into Patron Tacos & Cantina just before the Canucks and Whitecaps let out, let us wrap up Taco Crawl with another pairing with another unique ingredient.  Cochinita is tender, braised pork butt with achiote paste and onion. On the other side Nopales, the tender new leaves from a prickly pear cactus, were cooked with corn salsa and topped with cheese. Served with refried beans to add to the filling or eat on its own.

While we may think we can never get enough tacos, the Taco Crawl certainly satisfied us with great tastes for the evening.

If you missed out on this great tasting Vancouver Foodster event, get your tickets now for Tasting Plates Yaletown on October 19th.

TAKO – Taqueria Koreano

TAKO_2016-09-07-23-30-32There’s a new taco in town! TAKO is a funky fusion of Mexican and Korean cuisine, newly opened on Expo Boulevard, next to Stadium/Chinatown Station.

A great option before an event at BC Place or Rogers Arena, or a trip to Costco, TAKO’s take on comfort food are easy and tasty.  We grabbed a few items recently and found all of them a good blend of both the Mexican and Korean flavours.

TAKO_2016-09-06-19-25-15Bulgogi Bimibap Bowl – a good portion of rice topped with veggies, soft boiled egg and nicely prepared Beef Bulgogi. Not 100% authentic for a Korean palate but a good flavour for all.

TAKO_2016-09-06-19-25-04BBQ Short Rib Burrito – a hearty grilled burrito filled with zesty kimchi friend rice, corn cheese and shredded BBQ short ribs. The tender meat melted into the rice and cheese so most bites were filled will all flavours. The spicy kimchi and the sweet BBQ sauce balanced each other nicely, to not me too much of either.

TAKO_2016-09-06-19-24-54Seoul Chicken – a side dish of crispy boneless fried chicken bites with spicy red pepper paste atop a bed of crunchy corn tortilla chips. Although a side dish, Seoul Chicken would make a good light portion for lunch.

All three dishes we tried were satisfying and flavourful enough to make us look forward to returning to try some of the other food fusions on the TAKO menu.  Tacos, Quesadilla, Poutine all blend the boundaries of flavour locations.

photo-2016-09-06-18-38-54Check out TAKO for yourself at 601 Expo Boulevard, see their menu online at takovancouver.com