Tacos + Art = La Carnita

La Carnita has been the talk of the town for the last year with it's pop up taqueria and it's chaotic taco + art party at the Brickworks which 1400 people showed up for!  It has finally landed on College Street and has been stirring up a rivalry between other taquerias in the city.  Namely Queen West's Grand Electric vs.  College West and it's La Carnita. 

When we arrive, there's a line up but not the gigantic line up that greets you when you go to the other establishment in Queen West - usually you are seated within 15 mins vs. 2 hours later. (thumbs up!)

They have appetizers, tacos and desserts and a limited edition art piece you can take home after your meal to collect and treasure.  Novel idea and I like it alot.

We go to town on our first trip over and order a boat load of appetizers.  We start with their house-made tortilla chips topped with ancho chili powder with three sides ($13) including a spicy pureed pumpkin seed dip which has a similar musky taste to humous, a zesty chunky guacamole and it's simply delicious and a silky smooth chicken liver pate that I adored but I am a pate fan!
We also have their swordfish cerviche - which is complimented with lime, jalepeno and mango.  We were not the hugest fans of this as we found it not as fresh and a bit bland for us!
The Mexican corn on the cob was one of the most talked about items on the menu so we needed to get it between the two of us.  Word of warning - if you are coming here on a date - do not order, it's messy and you need floss afterwards and the resto is only stocked with toothpicks.  2 slightly charred cobs drizzled with crema and cheese and spiced with ancho chilli powder were flavourful but I hate to say it - i have had better.  (NY city - cafe Havana)

So on to the tacos - we ordered my favourite type of tacos- fish tacos - "In Cod we Trust" ($5).  A little tortilla shell filled with deep fried fish and complimented with lime crema, pickled red cabbage, and a tart green apple and cilantro, and the secret volton sauce drizzled over top. Again this was good but not mind blowing!

We also tried the chicken taco with peanut mole sauce - which was the selling feature as I would generally never order any chicken off a menu as it's too 'granola' for me.  It was unique as I only know chocolate mole sauces.
But my very favourite of the tacos is their tostada.  I love this deep fried taco with all the trimmings - it was crunchy and yummy! But absolutely not the choice for the faint of heart as you are eating shredded beef tongue, grilled pineapple and hot sauce.  I thought the flavour combo was yummy!
For dessert, a must try is the paleta - which is their house made popsicles - they are great refreshing palette cleanser.   We had their peanut butter chocolate - heavenly, their key lime pie - tart but had a crust of graham crackers on it which gave it a nice crunch and a peach bourbon one which was again a sour sweet and tart flavour combination.  Really lovely way to end our meal!
It's definitely a fun and happening atmosphere to go and hang out.

*** 1/2 stars

La Carnita

501 College St  (Kensington Market, College West)

Twitter: @La_Carnita
La Carnita on Urbanspoon

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