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  #221  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2015, 12:36 AM
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^I just don't get it.

Vancouver's food scene is amazing for what it offers, but there are some serious, glaring holes in it. Mexican food seems like a natural fit. One can travel down the coast from Seattle to San Diego, and find insanely good and cheap Mexican food, but once you hit the border, it becomes a green chile and tortilla dead zone. Obviously, the lack of Mexican immigrants is a big factor, but Mexican food is cheap and easy to make. Even in 'high food cost Canada' you can make a basic, four ingredient taco for about $0.40, and sell it for $2. That's 20% food cost. Why do people in Canada insist on making these fusion tacos, and selling them for $6-$8?

I swear, if someone just went back to the basics, and opened an authentic, cheap Mexican hole-in-the-wall taco joint along Main St. or Commercial Drive, they'd clean up.
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  #222  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2015, 3:32 PM
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An authentic, cheap Mexican place opened up shop in Kingston last year. It opened in a spot that cycled through at least 3 or 4 fake Mexican places that kept failing before this one. And it's been a big hit; it's always busy.

By contrast, Westernized burrito joints in Kingston keep failing.
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  #223  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2015, 4:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giallo View Post
^I just don't get it.

Vancouver's food scene is amazing for what it offers, but there are some serious, glaring holes in it. Mexican food seems like a natural fit. One can travel down the coast from Seattle to San Diego, and find insanely good and cheap Mexican food, but once you hit the border, it becomes a green chile and tortilla dead zone. Obviously, the lack of Mexican immigrants is a big factor, but Mexican food is cheap and easy to make. Even in 'high food cost Canada' you can make a basic, four ingredient taco for about $0.40, and sell it for $2. That's 20% food cost. Why do people in Canada insist on making these fusion tacos, and selling them for $6-$8?

I swear, if someone just went back to the basics, and opened an authentic, cheap Mexican hole-in-the-wall taco joint along Main St. or Commercial Drive, they'd clean up.
I think this is a Canada wide issue. Not that many Mexican Canadians. The Taco market has gotten much better in Toronto though over the past 5 years. From almost non existent to being the new trending food here taking over from the burger scene which took over the sushi seen.

La Carnita is supposed to be really good. They just opened a second location right by me at Degrassi and Queen.
From blogto.com








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  #224  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2015, 5:18 PM
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Originally Posted by 1overcosc View Post
By contrast, Westernized burrito joints in Kingston keep failing.

I didn't realize Mexican was a cuisine that could be "Westernized" any more than it already was.
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  #225  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2015, 5:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MonkeyRonin View Post
I didn't realize Mexican was a cuisine that could be "Westernized" any more than it already was.

LOL
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  #226  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2015, 6:04 PM
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Holy Guacamole is the local burrito chain in K-W and seems to do very well. There are a few other burrito places in town and a Fat Bastard Burrito is about to open Downtown. We don't have any good Mexican restaurants, unfortunately, although a local Salvadoran place called La Guanaquita is pretty popular.
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  #227  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2015, 6:15 PM
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Zapatas is our only Mexican place that I know. It's good but doesn't specialize in tacos or anything. Fixed has pop up taco nights. Octopus and things like that. Never just a really good basic taco. Lots of places with fish tacos as an app. But meh.

People here a rabid for a Taco Bell. Which infuriates me. But any talk of a new restaurant coming to town and that's what everyone wants. The restaurant thread in our section makes me want to shoot myself in the face.
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  #228  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2015, 6:21 PM
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Lol, in retrospect Westernized was a bad word to use.

I meant "whitened/North Americanized", but you guys probably got that lol.
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  #229  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2015, 3:29 AM
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Originally Posted by 1overcosc View Post
Lol, in retrospect Westernized was a bad word to use.

I meant "whitened/North Americanized", but you guys probably got that lol.
The bolded part is still a poor geographical reference.
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  #230  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2015, 6:44 AM
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We may not have many Mexicans but 90% of the sushi joints are run by Chinese/Koreans so why can't some vaguely ethnic/tanned people do Mexican? There are lots of people from the smaller countries to the south of Mexico in Vancouver.

My wife gets confused for a latina sometimes, maybe I should do it.
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  #231  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2015, 4:03 PM
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We may not have many Mexicans but 90% of the sushi joints are run by Chinese/Koreans
It's exactly the same in Toronto though I think we have more Mexican places now.
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  #232  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2015, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by giallo View Post
One can travel down the coast from Seattle to San Diego, and find insanely good and cheap Mexican food, but once you hit the border, it becomes a green chile and tortilla dead zone.
Don't feel bad. Most of us in SoCal think the Mexican food anywhere north of Santa Barbara is garbage. I don't think Vancouver is much different from anywhere else that is not SD or LA. People in SF would probably disagree and point to "Mission Style" burritos, but anyone in Southern California will just smile and chuckle. Obviously there are some exceptions.
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  #233  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2015, 2:35 PM
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Confirmed by a fourth visit for breakfast this morning... Big R has the best toutons in the city. They're perfect. The dough has just the right balance of sugar/salt. They're thick and fluffy on the inside, but not too much, browned just right on the outside. They're just as good as homemade.

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  #234  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2015, 2:55 PM
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Originally Posted by spoonman View Post
Don't feel bad. Most of us in SoCal think the Mexican food anywhere north of Santa Barbara is garbage. I don't think Vancouver is much different from anywhere else that is not SD or LA. People in SF would probably disagree and point to "Mission Style" burritos, but anyone in Southern California will just smile and chuckle. Obviously there are some exceptions.
The first time I experienced the "ring of fire" was in San Diego......
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  #235  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2015, 3:42 PM
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Mexican-Canadian here. Loving the Mexican food scene discussion over the last couple of pages.

I do agree that the Mexican food scene is lacking in Canada. With that said, there are a few legit spots here and there where you can find some authentic stuff.

If you want authentic Mexican street food in Montreal then I recommend taqueria La Matraca on St Denis near Mont-Royal. The service maybe somewhat slow at times, but it's as close to Mexico as you'll get in Montreal. The menu consists of mainly tacos and tortas, the prices are reasonable (about $6.50 for three al pastor tacos) and the decor is the same you'd find in a random taqueria in Mexico.

With that said. I'll only eat Mexican food perhaps once every few months. Why go there (being Mexican) when you have cuisines from all over the world at your disposal?
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  #236  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2015, 5:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giallo View Post
^I just don't get it.

Vancouver's food scene is amazing for what it offers, but there are some serious, glaring holes in it. Mexican food seems like a natural fit. One can travel down the coast from Seattle to San Diego, and find insanely good and cheap Mexican food, but once you hit the border, it becomes a green chile and tortilla dead zone. Obviously, the lack of Mexican immigrants is a big factor, but Mexican food is cheap and easy to make. Even in 'high food cost Canada' you can make a basic, four ingredient taco for about $0.40, and sell it for $2. That's 20% food cost. Why do people in Canada insist on making these fusion tacos, and selling them for $6-$8?

I swear, if someone just went back to the basics, and opened an authentic, cheap Mexican hole-in-the-wall taco joint along Main St. or Commercial Drive, they'd clean up.
Well, we have Los Cuervos, La Taqueria and Tacofino - they all make very decent tacos, comparable to what I've had in the Southwest and LA.

What's missing is a full menu Mexican restaurant, rather than just a tacos place. There, I agree, Vancouver comes up short.

* * *

There are definitely some gaps in Vancouver's restaurant scene, including some of my favourite cuisines.

I mentioned earlier that Vancouver doesn't do Spanish well, but at least we have some restaurants, albeit mediocre ones. I can't think of a single Portuguese restaurant, even though Portuguese cuisine is some of the most exciting food I've ever had.

Vancouver, and particularly West Vancouver, has a large Iranian community, but it's Iranian food is just okay.

Finally, one of the most underrated cuisines in the world is Southern German cuisine. Most of us think of German food as sausages and currywurst - at most a Schnitzel served with potatoes and sauerkraut - but the dishes prepared in southwestern Germany border on French haute cuisine (no surprise, since it's not like a culture that values good food magically ends when you cross the Rhine), complete with heavy cream sauces and foraged mushrooms. If I had the stamina and money to start a restaurant, I'd definitely do a twist on southern German cuisine with Pacific NW ingredients.
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  #237  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2015, 2:47 PM
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We went back to Adelaide Oyster House yesterday for everything but the oysters. This place is alarmingly cheap for St. John's - and, like Piatto, it's more than good for the price.

They don't take reservations, have a common table for small groups, etc. They open at 5 and re-seat (everyone out so those who missed the rush get a second chance) at 8. So skip lunch and aim to eat early. I didn't have one (went with a hefe) but they've got a lot of interesting cocktails people seem to love. They read more like entree descriptions. And things leave the kitchen when they're done. The waitresses will warn you about that. No such thing as waiting for everyone's entree to come together, etc.

E. (visiting us from TO) left today now that it's hot and gorgeous. She didn't get a single nice day here, really.

Adelaide is in between Second Cup and Whink (and named for the street between Subway and Second Cup, lol. Also only just now realizing how mainstream this end of Water has gotten):





This being St. John's, no shortage of tattooed waitresses in rubbers.



Carnita taco. Paradise.



Korean chicken - not bad. The flavour was fantastic and the pieces even included some neck, etc.



Broiled oysters diavola.



Squid.



Dill mussels and fries.

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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Aug 2, 2015 at 3:15 PM.
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  #238  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2015, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1overcosc View Post
An authentic, cheap Mexican place opened up shop in Kingston last year. It opened in a spot that cycled through at least 3 or 4 fake Mexican places that kept failing before this one. And it's been a big hit; it's always busy.

By contrast, Westernized burrito joints in Kingston keep failing.
I assume you're referring to La Hacienda? They're the first restaurant in Kingston to serve pozole, and they do an excellent job at it. Their tacos are good too and near authentic. Where they really come up short is their enchiladas. I've eaten enchiladas in numerous restaurants in Mexico and the ones at La Hacienda were almost flavourless. Still, a much better place than what it replaced, which was overpriced burritos and slow service.

Also in Kingston, Dianne's Fish Bar does a great fish taco.
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  #239  
Old Posted Aug 11, 2015, 12:00 AM
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I've now lived in Toronto for a month and while I haven't had a chance to explore a lot yet, I've had nothing but good experiences with restaurants so far. For pizza my go-to place, though a chain, is Pizzaiolo. Cheap but great quality and always fresh. I still need to try Pizza Nova though. Any other pizza recommendations in the Spadina-Queen area?

I've been to both Burgers Priest and P&L, and I can't decide what I like better. There's also great burgers at one joint in Kensington Market - I forget the name but there's a shopping cart hanging above the entrance.

The only Mexican place I've been to lately in Toronto is Wilbur. Not particularly authentic but they have one hell of a hot sauce selection.
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  #240  
Old Posted Aug 11, 2015, 9:07 AM
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My new favorite place is the Simmons Building in the East Village. Haven't been to any of the restaurants in it for food yet, just to the rooftop patio for beers, but it is an incredible venue. Highly recommend it if you're ever in Calgary and I've heard nothing but good things about the food and drink at all three places. The rooftop patio is 2nd to none probably in the whole province, situated right on the river, with a great view of the skyline. It's perfect.











... and a great article about the place itself, from opening day - http://touristsite.com/the-simmons-b...g-destination/
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