Van Foodster 3rd Taco Challenge

vf_taco_webThis month you have a new reason to celebrate Taco Tuesdays with the Vancouver Foodster’s 3rd Taco Challenge.  Now underway, until June 3rd, the Taco Challenge calls upon the participating restaurants and food trucks’ to develop their own special taco creations.

Like all Vancouver Foodster Challenges, the public is invited to try all eleven of the entries and then VOTE for their favourite hand-held bites.

At the same time a media panel of judges will be trying and selecting their favourites.  The media judges for this challenge are:
Jennifer Thomson,  @jtradiogal Traffic reporter on CKNW and AM730
Louisa Chan, @L_FOR_LIFE Writer and Editor of L for Life as well as Ming Pao
Aaron Alexander, @aaronmalexander Writer and Creator of BC BuzZ

The participating eateries are:

Vancouver

El Camino’s, 3250 Main Street
Twitter @El_Caminos

Darby’s Pub, 2001 Macdonald Street
Twitter @Darbys_In_Kits

Feastro Taco Truck, Location: Howe & Robson
Twitter @coastfeastro

Gringo Gastown, 27 Blood Alley Square
Twitter @GringoYVR

Las Tortas, 3353 Cambie Street
Twitter @LASTORTAS

Los Cuervos Taqueria, 603 Kingsway
Twitter @LosCuervosTacos

Molli Cafe, 1225 Burrard Street
Twitter: @MolliCafe

The Pressure Box Food Truck, Location: tba
Twitter: @ThePressurebox

Richmond

Hugos Tacos, McArthur Glen Outlet Mall
Twitter @Hugoschurros

Little Mexico Cantina, 3131 Chatham St #150
Twitter: @LMCSteveston

New Westminster

El Santo, 680 Columbia Street
Twitter @el_santonewwest

Get out and get your taco on with the Vancouver Foodster Taco Challenge now!

Eat Naaco pop-up at Hawkers Mercado

Hawkers Mercado is the pop-up food market at the new McArthur Glen Designer Outlet Centre at YVR.  An offshoot of the popular Hawker’s Market events, Hawkers Mercado brings unique dining options to the Outlet Centre until Labour Day.

Naaco_IMG_9297On our last visit we decided to have a bite at Eat Naaco, the first Vancouver effort from the Calgary Food Truck.   Eat Naaco combines Indian and Mexican cuisine using quality, local ingredients.  This pop-up creates three Naan + Taco combinations for their Hawkers Mercado menu;  Bengali Frijoles (vegetarian), Chicken Tinga Marsala, Beef Vindarojo.  The soft warm naan lends itself well to the tender meat fillings and fresh, crispy veggie toppings.

Naaco_IMG_9300
Chicken Tinga Marsala

Eat Naaco is at Hawkers Market until Labour Day but plans to open its first free standing Vancouver location.
Watch for it possibly in Gastown, later this autumn.

El Azteca Mexican Kitchen & Bar

El Azteca Mexican Kitchen & Bar, is a stylish restaurant located near Yaletown / Roundhouse Station. The tequila & mezcal specialists was a location that impressed us on a recent Tasting Plates event. Having just had a small tasting on the event, we decided to return to explore more of their full menu’s flavours.

I’d always been intrigued (and a bit worried) as to why it never seems busy when I walk past on my commute home from work, but have since realized that its clientele appears to eat later in the evening.  It was busier when we arrived about 7pm and then was quite busy when we left just over an hour later.

We sampled a few items from the menu and were pleased with everything from the taste to the price.  The varied menu and massive tequila & mezcal menu makes it a tough decision to settle on what to choose.

Starting off with the day’s special; Queso Fundido a rich and creamy zesty melted cheese and sausage mix, eaten with tortillas.
For a main, I chose Chorizo Tacos – spicy Chorizo sausage and creamy avocado in warm tortillas.
Billy (@billyforce) chose Carne Asada for his main; chile adobo rubbed, grilled Angus steak strips with rice and refried beans. We also added a side of house made quacamole & chips from their revolving $5 appetizer & drink menu.

Overall everything felt authentically Mexican (not that I’m sure of its authenticity) and judging by the patrons and staff, they seemed to agree.

Try El Azteca Mexican Kitchen & Bar for yourself and get your own taste of Mexico at 1130 Mainland Street, Vancouver.
Open for Lunch and Dinner Tuesday to Sunday.
Call 604.683.0127 or visit aztecavancouver.com for information.

 

Patron Tacos & Cantina

A recent addition to the east end of Robson Street near BC Place, Rogers Arena and a cluster of hotels, Patron Tacos & Cantina’s large bar menu & 5 tv’s ensures it will be a hit for the sports and after-event crowds. However, based on the food alone, this is a rather average addition to Vancouver’s ever growing Mexican food scene.
The comfortable room, is welcoming and while quiet on the early evening my friend and I stopped in it soon filled with a number of tourists from the many area hotels. Warmly welcomed and seated quickly, served a small basket of taco chips and salsa the meal started on a good note.
The menu featured all the usual suspects; burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and of course tacos with a variety of meats – chicken, pork, beef or seafood. The tortas on Mexican bolillos (rolls) – $11 – were filling and tasty, albeit messy, and served with a pile of waffle fries, not sure how Mexican those fries are but they were plentiful.  The Burrito – $9.75 – was a bit underwhelming; decent tasting but a bit on the small size and accompanied by a bowl of fresh and spicy salsa (even though I’d asked for no salsa), a ‘salad’ on the side was a small handful of shredded iceberg lettuce and a couple of tomato slices, hardly eligible to be called salad, it looked like the cook forgot to put them inside the tortilla before wrapping. While the presentation and quality of food was adequate, the size and originality lacked.  Ending the meal by waiting quite a long time for our bill and then longer to be able to pay with a debit card, did little to ensure the meal ended on the good friendly note that it began on.  While Patron Tacos & Cantina may be a good place to drink and worth a second visit for a drinks night, there are definitely better food value for money restaurants in the city.