Tacomio creates authentic Mexican street food
According to the edicts of the prevailing market economy, competition is a good thing. The theory is that numerous options ultimately result in consumer power and a higher standard of available products. In the food and beverage space, I would agree with this idea to a point. Smart competition is a good thing, but oversaturated competition is not.
Tacos are ubiquitous and I think Vancouver is getting dangerously close to playing out this casual favourite, if it has not already. On the North Shore, we are still a few choices shy of a market glut, but we’re not that far behind. Authentic players like Taqueria or Cilantro & Jalapeno have held down the fort alone for an admirable spell. Meanwhile, every West Coast casual chain (of which there are more than enough on this side of town) offers some incarnation of the popular taco, usually with fish, either on the share plates side of the menu or, in rarer cases, as mains.
New Central Lonsdale player Tacomio carved out a niche for itself in its original Gastown location by offering high quality fare for remarkably good prices. I interviewed Tacomio’s ownership a couple years back for another project and learned that their early success was partly predicated on preparing the majority of items in advance at an offsite commissary kitchen. The efficiencies and consistency of product that resulted from this approach quickly found favour with local diners and Tacomio was eventually poised for expansion.
The Gastown location has since shut down in favour of an imminent new opening in Strathcona. Meanwhile, the business bookends our city with an outlet at UBC (where the authentic Mexican street food concept resonates with dollar and nutrition starved students) and, most recently, at Lonsdale Avenue and 13th Street, a location that has been “coming soon” for the better part of a year.
I dropped in with the whole family for an early dinner this past Sunday night and was impressed with the amount of food we were able to put down for less than $60.
The Lonsdale Tacomio location offers a communal table down the centre of the colourful room and a handful of countertop style seats around the perimeter. Ordering is done at the counter and patrons follow a simple but effective process to choose their meal. First, they select a vessel for their protein: taco, burrito, salad bowl, macro bowl, or nachos. I witnessed several of these two latter options being assembled and by my conservative estimate, I’d suggest that they could easily feed two hungry adults, making them excellent value at just $12.
Next, patrons choose from a thoughtful menu of proteins, both meat-based and vegetarian/vegan, ranging from traditional carnitas (slow braised pork, prepared at Tacomio with confit sour orange) to Beyond Picadillo (ground vegetable protein from Beyond Meat with crushed tomatoes, cannellini beans, and ancho peppers).
Finally, heat levels are selected for the various accompanying sauces. I would recommend starting with mild (with ancho and jalapeno) or medium (with tomatillo and serrano) and then supplementing your heat factor via the sideboard sauce station that sits near the till. I added a healthy dose of after-market hot sauce (made with arbol peppers) to my tacos, along with a brazenly weighty portion of the complementary vegetable pickles (which packed a fierce chilli punch).
The Dagenais family tried every protein on the menu via tacos and one burrito, washing them down with fruity Mexican sodas from Jarritos, along with a tasty but entirely unnecessary side of handmade corn chips with fresh, finely chopped pico de gallo.
Tacomio dresses each taco with their recommended selection of garnishes, including, in various combinations, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, cilantro, pickled onions, and hot sauce. I left this selection to the experts and didn’t weigh in on the toppings at all; I was happy I did as the kitchen team clearly has put a lot of thought into what garnish works best with each taco iteration.
The carnitas proved excellent, revealing succulent morsels of pork with a nicely caramelized finish. Earthy Champinones a la Mexicana (Mexican-spiced diced mushrooms) made for an unusual taco filling but for my taste lacked enough punch on the palate. Of the plant-based tacos, the Frijolitos was my favourite, packed with caramelized onion and jalapeno flavours, although the chiles asadas with roasted bell peppers, corn, and chickpeas was certainly tasty.
Two chicken fillings are on offer here, one made with a five chili spice rub (adobo) and the other with chipotle tomato sauce (tinga). The adobo is the way to go with the chicken, the spice rub and handful of pickled red onions both adding complexity. Remarkably, a turkey taco with salsa verde proved to me my favourite of the lot. In truth, outside of holiday meals, I find turkey to be a banal protein. Tacomio breathes new life into the thanksgiving bird, preparing it almost like a slow-cooked stew and then dousing it liberally in tart tomatillo and cilantro-lifted salsa.
A single taco is $3.50, but four tacos are $11 and six $18. Four tacos makes for a substantial meal, six would be ideal for two diners. An adobo chicken burrito was enormous, jammed with Mexican rice, beans, plenty of chicken, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.
Side dishes include chips and salsa, guacamole, rice, vegan roasted tomato soup, chicken chipotle soup with root vegetables, and pinto beans.
Tacomio, 1300 Lonsdale Avenue. Tacomio.com. 604-288-1999.
By: North Shore News
GuidedBy is a community builder and part of the Glacier Media news network. This article originally appeared on a Glacier Media publication.
Healthy Meal Prep Ideas
Salad Plate Healthy meal prep saves time and money and lets you fully enjoy cooking without feeling guilty about eating out....
Amazing and Easy Cocktail Recipes for Spring/Summer
As the weather starts to warm up, it's time to start thinking about delicious cocktails that will help you celebrate the...
4 Dishes to Make with Summer Peaches
Summer is the perfect time of year to experiment with different ways to use peaches. These juicy, refreshing fruits can be...
Comfort Food for Uncomfortable Times
In a year in which our lives have been completely upended, it’s often the simple things that manage to bring the most...
Safe and Cozy
Even Whistler’s finest restaurants offer a more casual vibe; such is the nature of ski resort dining where guests are often...
Everyone's whipping up dalgona coffee, the viral drink catching tons of buzz
Over the last couple of weeks, you might have noticed people posting photos of an unusual-looking coffee drink. What appears to...
Recipe: Amazing Apple Turnovers
When I was a kid, my family had a Saturday tradition where we would all pile into the car, go to the supermarket and do our...
Stuck At Home? These BC Breweries Will Deliver Beer to Your Door
Thankfully, a number of B.C. craft breweries offer online sales, with delicious craft beer available to be delivered right to...
New West chef “godfather of the city’s food scene”
Step aside Vito Corleone – there’s a new godfather in town. Sam Fabbro, executive chef at El Santo on Columbia Street and...
Chef Trevor Bird shares cooking tips and recipes for busy parents
We get it, parents are busy. In Vancouver at least, it’s typical that both parents work, which can make dinner time more than...
Don't be a jerk to servers - be a good egg
Everything we do is a choice. From the moment we wake up in the morning, until the time we come to the day's end, we choose...
Why this 25-year-old decided to be an egg farmer in B.C.
When you think about the industries the youth of today will enter in the future, egg farming isn’t the first thing that springs...
You can have a private dinner in a secret ice cave in Whistler this winter
The exclusive opportunity is available to guests at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler in partnership...
City of North Van approves Shipyards Brewery District
The City of North Vancouver is opening the taps and adding a new “brewery district” to Lower Lonsdale. Council voted...
This Burnaby macaron maker will steal your soul
Snoring might seem like a weird way to start a food blog about desserts, but trust me – there is a connection. See, I snore....
Blissful Buddha-Bus takes to the streets
Buddha-Full’s Buddha-Bus has added a blissful new dimension to the growing North Shore vegan business. The renovation of a...
Blog: Eating bugs can be good for you
Eating ants and other insects could soon be recommended to protect against cancer, and it is believed that us Westerners will...
Think plant-based recipes aren't worth the effort? Think again
Proponents of a plant-based diet tout its benefits for not only your health, but also the planet’s. But giving up meat can be...
Here’s how to pair beer with food and become the hero you were destined to be
Company’s coming, dinner’s almost ready, but you forgot to pop out to the liquor store to grab a bottle of wine. Obviously, you...
Chef Dez: I survived the 'keto flu' but it wasn't pleasant
By now, I am sure you have heard of the keto diet - or at least have heard the term “keto.” But what is it and, more...
This is the best pizza in Burnaby. I weep for those who haven't tried it
Pizza is a touchy topic. Trying to get a group of people to agree on pizza can be like pouring gasoline on a...
Profiles of Excellence: Atlas Steak + Fish
Sponsored Content Atlas Steak + Fish may be the crown jewel at Gateway Casinos’ Grand Villa Casino in Burnaby, but it’s only...
Chef Dez: You can expand your home menu without breaking the budget
Household budgets are in the news now more than ever these days and everyone seems like they’re searching for ways to tighten...
Want to check a Vancouver restaurant’s cleanliness? You can with new app Tomati
Do you ever wonder how clean your local haunts are, or how they measure up to other establishments in the Lower Mainland? A...
Helicopter tours, new restaurants lure B.C. wine tourists
The Okanagan Valley’s continuing evolution into a wine-tourism hot spot is on full display this year with established wineries...
I’m an atheist, but this Burnaby ramen made me see god
There are times when a meal can feel like a religious awakening. That first bite hits your mouth and it’s so shockingly good,...
New restaurants open at River Market
River Market has two new eateries for foodies to enjoy. Angelina’s Dutch Corner has taken up residence in River Market, after...
Survey serves up snapshot of British Columbians’ tastes in dining out
The end of the holiday season brings British Columbians hurriedly back to the regular routine. After many days of homecooked...
You can find heart and heat at this Burnaby restaurant
Sponsored Content Just like Nando’s beginnings in South Africa, the story of how one of the world’s favourite restaurants...
Explore the Mediterranean one bite at a time with Dinakis
Sponsored Content Mouth-watering, well-seasoned, falling off the bone slow-roasted lamb served in its own juices; skewered...
Three Vancouver brunch spots that might not be on your radar, but should be
My husband and I love to go out for brunch. Our weekdays don’t allow us the time for a leisurely breakfast and we rarely go out...
Local spot makes the list of top Canadian restaurants to enjoy a Big Night Out
El Santo has made it onto a list of the 100 best restaurants in Canada to enjoy a Big Night Out. OpenTable, which provides...