Location: 178 Baldwin Street, Toronto
After a long hiatus (their original location on Dundas East shut down three years ago), Tacos 101 is back, this time in Kensington Market.
I don’t think I ever visited the original location (or if I did, it wasn’t memorable enough to stick in my brain) so I can’t comment on how it compares to the Dundas location, but it’s a decent enough addition to the area.
Their specialty is al pastor, a style of taco that’s filled with pork cooked over a rotating spit, shawarma-style.
Mostly, it’s pretty good — the various sauces are zingy and tasty, the pork is nicely seasoned, the pineapple adds a brightness that contrasts nicely with the savoury pork, and the two corn tortillas are fresh and hold up very nicely to the overstuffed taco. But the pork is almost entirely lacking in the crispy bits that makes this style of cooking so delightful, and it’s crazy dry. They’re supposedly using pork shoulder, but the meat has the texture of the driest piece of pork loin that you’ve ever had.
Everything else about the taco is tasty enough that this isn’t a huge issue, but it’s a shame nonetheless.
I also tried the tortilla chips with refried beans and guacamole — both dips were quite tasty, though the refried beans were a bit underseasoned, as were the chips themselves.
In the case of the chips, apparently the lack of seasoning is on purpose to highlight the flavour of the dips, and, uh, I don’t think that’s the way food works? All of the elements of a dish need to be seasoned or the whole thing will lack flavour (this is why, for example, you have to aggressively salt your pasta water, even if you’re going to toss the pasta in a flavourful sauce).