Last Saturday we came by but their Taco Challenge entry was so popular that they had run out. To be honest, I am not surprised as this was a very good taco. A layer of rich, melty Oaxaca cheese forms the base on the corn tortilla and is topped with with lots of shrimp, peppers and onions and a chile de arbol salsa. The shrimp retains excellent texture and is delicious because it is basically ceviche style but warmed in the oven. Wonderful!
From there (flying solo today), my next stop was Patron Tacos and Cantina on Robson.
This is a noisy, fun restaurant with sports on multiple screens, an impressive bar and a patio. I am guessing that things jump around here in the evenings!
The Caribbean Vibes Taco seems to be Chef Andres Lopez' creation and is only available Monday to Friday from 12 to 5 when he is there to prepare it for you! It starts with a plantain tortilla, which is amazing. No flour or anything other than plantain and it has very good texture and flavour. Little crispy bits of deep fried tilapia and chicharon are the next features with cilantro aioli, mango and habanero chutney. This all works very well and left me with that silly grin that I sometimes get!
I also had a Steak Torta. I know this plate does not look overly Mexican but this is a very good sandwich! I tried to get a picture of the inside of it but sometimes a description is better! A soft inside, slightly crunchy outside bun with a generous amount of cubed meat cooked with Mexican style spices, avocado and a ridiculous layer a melted cheese which I wouldn't be surprised to learn is cooked right n the flat top tuile style. Excellent! I'm not sure how waffle fries fit in at a cantina but they were also quite good. This is certainly not the least expensive Mexican food around but you are paying for a high level of service and comfort and atmosphere as well as good food.
And last stop on the Taco Challenge trail is Las Tortas.
This is another small and simple family style place. A menu of tortas and tasty home style Mexican food. Their offering for the challenge is the El Campechano Taco, the most expensive of all the entrants at $9.50.
It did not seem overpriced as this was a loaded taco. Grilled sirloin and chorizo on a chipotle tortilla were a good start. With chicharon, napolitos, black beans, habanero mango crema, queso fresco and pico de gallo. It is a combination of a lot of impressive individual elements that make an impressive whole! Not to be overlooked is a tasty little slaw of jicama served on the side!
I also tried a couple of tacos off of their regular menu; lamb and pulled pork. Uncomplicated, served on two tortillas with simple toppings, they were very good. This was some of the best and most distinctive tasting lamb that I have had in a while and I loved it. Order at the counter and your food is delivered to you. The folks are quite friendly and were happy to talk to me about their food.
As for my pick for the best taco of the challenge, I am a little torn. Every one of the offerings had its distinct flavour and story and I would declare a 6 way tie if that was an option. I will be picking Maizal's Ebi Chamoi for number one because I loved the fusion approach but as I said, I really enjoyed them all! Thank's again Vanfoodster for getting us out to new places and trying new things!