Tuesday, 24 December 2013

La Casita Tacos

A long day of walking around downtown really helps to build up some appetite. With two days until Christmas, a few Fat Rats went to enjoy some of the Christmas festivities in Vancouver. Stops included the German Christmas Market (a quick review: on weekdays, entry is $3, which is acceptable. But anymore than that I would not recommend going because it's really small, everything is super overpriced, and overall the market is not exciting at all), Gingerbread Lane at the Hyatt hotel, and Bright Lights at Stanley Park. The later two events were much more worth our time. 

When the Bright Lights started getting really crowded (as it gets darker and darker), we rode the bus back out to Denman Street and walked a few blocks to La Casita Tacos. The little restaurant seems to be newly opened, but they have an older sister restaurant in Gastown that is more sit-down style. I saw plenty of praising reviews for La Casita and it seemed to be the perfect place for me to curb my craving for fish tacos, one I have had since Palm Springs.

Counter Service
At 5:30pm on a Monday evening, the restaurant was empty except for a couple finishing up their meal by the window. We were unsure whether or not to take a seat first and expect table service, or to walk up to the counter and place our order. It's kind of a mix of both; order at the cashier first, then the food will be brought to the table. The woman at the front is very warm and welcoming to us Mexican-food-newbies. We all ordered 4 tacos for $10. I really appreciate being able to try multiple types of tacos with just one order. Since one can customize according to their preferences, it makes it easy to dine with a group of friends who may have different taste buds.

Top: Veracruz Fish; Bottom: Egg & Green Bean, Baja Fish

My four tacos were Baja Fish, Veracruz Fish, Egg and Green Bean, and Al Pastor. Just to begin, every single taco was phenomenal! So tasty! The Veracruz Fish was two small corn tortillas topped with sauteed cod with an extremely flavourful roasted pepper/tomato base tasting sauce that was loaded with spices (not spicy, but spices). The fish portion was generous enough for me to split the one taco into two tacos, and the taco needed no other seasoning or sauces. The Baja Fish taco was a decent sized piece of deep fried cod topped with fresh coleslaw and a drizzle of creamy sauce. The fish was meaty and moist and the beer batter was thin, light and crispy. This hit the spot right on and fulfilled my craving. Again, no extra sauces needed, the taco is perfect as is. The Egg & Green Bean taco may seem like an odd choice, but the word 'souflait' in the description caught my eye. (I'm not sure if souffle is spelt souflait in Spanish, or if it's a typo...) This was actually really good too! There was a lot of chopped string beans throughout the omelet brick, providing textural difference and some greens to the meal. The egg was fluffy and maybe (and I say maybe because I'm not sure if my taco was soaked from the steam) a bit too oily. However, this egg taco provided the perfect opportunity to try some of the sauces from their salsa bar, which will be mentioned later in this post.

Al Pastor Taco
What about the Al Pastor taco? All three of us Fat Rats ordered the Al Pastor taco, and it arrived a few minutes later in its own basket. I suppose this one just takes a little longer to prepare. This taco was topped with marinated pork, which was both tender and flavourful. It was slightly sweet and the charred bits brought this smoky flavour and crunch, really good! Now this taco is the one and only complaint I have from my first visit to La Casita: where is the pineapple? The description clearly says 'topped with pineapple', and photos from Urbanspoon support that. Whether they were out of pineapple for the day, or wanted to slack off on a few seemingly unknowing Asian girls, this taco was not as advertised. But because my overall experience here is five stars, I will pretend that I wasn't aware the taco was supposed to include a few pieces of pineapple. So, the Al Pastor taco is still a taco I'd recommend ordering!

Salsa Bar
By the front counter, there is a little station where the salsa bar, cutlery, and free water is located. The salsa bar is a great concept; customers get to further customize their tacos, adding a little more kick here or some acidity there. Thank goodness for the sign that thoroughly describes each and every sauce. Newbie's like me have no idea what anything is. Although the tacos are already flavourful enough, this salsa bar is a fun way to experiment with different Mexican sauces. In addition, I really appreciate how water is free of charge. There are tall plastic cups and multiple large jugs of water for guests to help themselves to. Especially after walking around so much, I'm thankful for plenty of water to drink.

Indoor Tables
Seating here is limited; there are about ten tables indoors (a mix of two person and four person tables) a row of bar seating by the window, and a few tables on their patio outside. The interior is warm and homey with all the artwork and casual wooden tables. The two single bathrooms are very clean. Whenever the lady working there has a free moment, she goes around wiping tables and cleaning up the salsa bar. It's good to know that the restaurant is well-kept. The open kitchen is also a good indicator for customers as the business is not worried about hiding how the food is prepared. Service was quick and friendly. However the speed of food coming out may differ depending on the amount of customers waiting. By the time 6pm rolled around, there was a steady stream of people coming in and the tables indoors filled up really, really quickly! 

Although I'm no expert at Mexican food (in fact, I'm quite the opposite), La Casita Tacos should most definitely be added onto your bucket list of restaurants to try in Vancouver. They offer quality tacos for a low cost. The service is friendly, the interior is clean, and the food is great. The food here is so good that I will be craving their food in the future. 

La Casita Tacos on Urbanspoon

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

La Casita Tacos Full Menu

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