Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Eating off the Hill: Taco Tuesday at Toro Taqueria

After four years working on Parliament Hill, I'm always on the lookout for new and different lunching options, having tried most places at least a few times. So I was pleased during recent Google Maps and Yelp trolling to find a new taco option not too far outside my usual lunch walking radius: Toto Taqueria, on Slater at Bank.

Long-time Ottawa lunchers will recognize this location -- actually, the famed Germantown Deli used to be next door -- it's now a bubble tea place or something. Rising rents forced them out, but I guess tacos and bubble tea are bringing in more revenue.

Anyway, this ain't Taco Bell, so fancy tacos ain't cheap. The three I had would regularly run $13.50 in total, but as I went on Taco Tuesday when tacos were $4 each, it cost me $12. Another $4 for the guacamole and chips, and $3 for my Mexican grape Fanta. Still well more than my usual lunch budget, so this will be an only on Taco Tuesdays stop. Still, I do recognize that fresh and quality ingredients are worth a premium.

Arriving early at 11:30 AM to beat the lunch rush, I ordered:

  • Picadillo: Chopped beef and potato in taco potion, with lettuce, pico de gallo,  and salsa roja.
  • Guadalajara: Red chile rubbed tortilla, Pollo Asado, Chorizo.
  • Carnitas: Ancho, Guajilo, hibiscus rubbed pork shoulder.

  • So, one each of a chicken, beef and pork. I went from left to right, starting with the carnitas. It was OK, good flavour, could have used a bit more veg variety and texture. It certainly wasn't dry -- in fact, it was wet. Very wet. Dripping onto your shirt wet, so be careful. The Guadalajara was similar -- little wet, nice flavour to the chicken, but also some nice texture with a good crunch. This one came with a lime for added flavour. And the Picadillo was a nice ending, with nicely seasoned beef.

    I don't go gaga for Guac but this was good, but again could have used a bit more flavour. Do you put lime in Guac? Maybe it needed more guac. The chips were crunchy and thick and certainly seemed house-made. I almost went for the Orange Fanta, but decided to change it up and go grape, which I don't ever recall having -- not since I was a kid, anyway. It was good -- very much like a grape Popsicle. Needed more fizz though.

    All in all, a pretty good, if pricy, Mexican taco experience. Would like to see stronger flavours achieved though without resorting to hot sauce. Happy Taco Tuesday!

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