Thursday, July 19, 2012

La Carnita

Exactly one year ago, La Carnita (@la_carnita) became Toronto's first pop-up taco stand. Owners Andrew Richmond and Amin Todai, of OneMethod Digital + Design, had the brilliant idea of selling street art with tacos on the side (this was to get around the city's health code regulations). Torontonians quickly fell in love. We fell in love with not only their mouthwatering tacos and exquisite art pieces, but also La Carnita's concept as a whole. Nobody has done before what La Carnita was doing in the city (and to the city). La Carnita was new. La Carnita was edgy. La Carnita was EXCITING.

With frequent pop ups throughout the year, ending with UNO, La Carnita's biggest and baddest art show event in April, it was evident that Toronto has an insatiable appetite for La Carnita. So when La Carnita took over the former Briscola space at College and Bathurst last month, it became the talk of the town. We all wanted to experience La Carnita's transformation from a pop-up stand to a restaurant.

You won't find a "La Carnita" sign out front...only their Meathead mascot.

Notice the cool "telephone wires" light fixture at the bar.

The 2,000 square foot space is beautifully decorated and decked out with graffiti and original artwork. The colours black, orange, yellow and white can be found throughout the restaurant.

Another cool light fixture, inspired by chicken coop. 

Margarita ($11)

Mexican Street Corn - Mexican crema, queso anejo, arbol & ancho chili powder ($7)

Avocado Mango Salad - Cilantro, lime dressing, queso fresco & pepitas ($8)

Tacos ($5 each)

Paletas - Lime pie w/ salted graham crackers ($3.5)

Churros w/ housemade cajeta ($5)

The Meathead print that came with our bill.

From the vibe, the service, to the drinks and the food, La Carnita made an excellent impression on me. Why? Well, throughout the night, the music was awesome, such great beats! My margarita was also strong as $#@% (and thank you, Andrew, for the tequila :P) Most importantly, the food was excellent. Yup, I secretly wish that all the corn-on-the-cob that I will ever have from now on would be prepared like their Mexican street corn (a girl can dream, no?) The avocado mango salad was so fresh and had incredible textures and flavours (the sweet avocado, the tangy mango and the crispy plantain bits and pumpkin seeds altogether was like a party in my mouth). I did not get to try all five tacos but I really enjoyed the two that I had: the chorizo taco and the tostada. Both excellent. The desserts were spot-on too; the lime pie was creamy (I absolutely loved the graham cracker crumble dusted on top) and the freshly fried churros were hot and crispy. Simply delectable. I need to go back to La Carnita STAT for their tortilla chips and the other tacos!

Congratulations and Happy Birthday, La Carnita! Within one year's time, you have transformed yourself from a pop-up taco stand to an 80-seat restaurant. You have truly outdone yourself. Bravo!

La Carnita on Urbanspoon

 La Carnita at