Decent Mexican Food at Tacos 101

Tacos 101Location: 178 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Website: https://www.facebook.com/tacos101toronto/

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.

Tacos 101

Their specialty is al pastor, a style of taco that’s filled with pork cooked over a rotating spit, shawarma-style.

Tacos 101

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.

Tacos 101

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.

Tacos 101

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).

A Towering Pile of Nachos at Sneaky Dee’s

Sneaky Dee'sLocation: 431 College Street, Toronto
Website: https://sneaky-dees.com/

The nachos at Sneaky Dee’s are frequently called the best in the city, and yeah, I can see why.

I ordered the King’s Crown (“crisp corn tortilla chips covered with salsa roja, piled high with frijoles, ground beef, tomatoes, onions, mixed peppers, jalapenos, melted cheese, topped with guacamole & sour cream”).  At 26 bucks, it seems like it might be overpriced until it comes to the table and you realize it’s enough to feed three or four hungry people.

Sneaky Dee's

It’s super tasty.  All of the components work really well together, and it’s so loaded with stuff that you’re never going to get a dry chip.

If anything there’s too much stuff — the tortilla chips can’t really hold up to the insane deluge of cheese and toppings.  It’s fine at first, but after a few minutes all of the chips in the middle are complete mush.

It’s also a bit one-note rich, though the bottle of vinegary hot sauce they bring with the plate helps out a lot in this regard.

I feel like it’s probably a bit too haphazard to be the best nachos in the city, but it’s certainly delicious.