Mediocre Tacos at Wilbur Mexicana

Wilbur MexicanaLocation: 552 King Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://wilburmexicana.com/

Wilbur is one of those places with a perpetual line out the door, and having just tried it for the first time, I’m not sure why.

That’s not to say it was bad. I just had two tacos, and they were both fine.  But in a city as suffused with taco joints as Toronto, “fine” isn’t much.

Wilbur Mexicana

I will say that their hot sauce selection is impressive.  They have a few dozen bottles to choose from, not to mention a bunch of homemade sauces as well.  If you want to add some spice to your taco, I can guarantee you’ll find something that strikes your fancy.

I tried a couple of tacos: al pastor (“pork, grilled pineapple, onion, cilantro”) and bulgogi (“Korean beef, cabbage, pear, sriracha, sesame seeds”).

Wilbur Mexicana

I was most excited to try the al pastor, which is essentially Mexico’s take on the shawarma.  But there were none of the crispy bits you associate with shawarma; it was just dry, personality-free lean pork brought to dessert levels of sweetness thanks to whatever they marinated it in and the pineapple.

It came on a corn tortilla that was dry, crumbly, and stale.  A note to all restaurants serving corn tortillas: cook them fresh or GTFO.

Wilbur Mexicana

The bulgogi, surprisingly enough, was way better.  It was also quite sweet, but it had some savoury complexity to round things out.  The beef was a little bit dry, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the pork.

The tacos came with a handful of tortilla chips on the side.  They were a huge upgrade over store-bought; they were way better than the tacos.

Grand Electric

Grand Electric
Location: 1330 Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: http://www.grandelectricbar.com/

I don’t need to tell you about Grand Electric.  It opened in 2011, and since then, everyone in the GTA with even a vague interest in food has been there and has raved about the place.  Everyone.

I was afraid that it had been over-hyped to a level that no restaurant could reasonably reach.  I was wrong.  It is crazy delicious.

The small, no-frills restaurant is laid out with the menu written on a blackboard on the back wall.  And yes, as you have heard, it is very loud.  They like their hip-hop here, and they like to crank it up.  I could converse with my dining companion without having to raise my voice too much, so it wasn’t too bad (though I went for lunch and I suspect it gets louder in the evening).

Grand Electric

The menu is very reasonably priced, with all the tacos being sold individually for $3.60.  I went with Pork Tinga, Beef Cheek, and Scrapple.  I also  got an order of the Pig Head Fries, because how can I resist a menu item entitled Pig Head Fries? (the answer: I cannot.)

Did I mention that it was crazy delicious?  Because it was.  All three tacos were pretty great, though the highlight was the scrapple.  Featuring a rectangular, crispy-on-the-outside-and-deliciously-porky-on-the-inside patty of pure deliciousness, which is topped with avocados and green onions and features a perfectly complimentary sweet sauce, it is one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while.  If you told me this was all I could eat for the rest of my life, I’d be cool with that.

The other two tacos were more traditional and were perfectly delicious, though they never quite reached the levels of transcendent awesomeness of the scrapple.

As for the Pig Head Fries, they were crispy and salty, with a creamy interior and a delicious dipping sauce that tasted vaguely like the Big Mac sauce from McDonald’s. They were quite tasty.

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La Tortilleria

La Tortilleria
Location: 817 Kipling Avenue, Etobicoke
Website: http://www.latortilleria.ca/

La Tortelleria is apparently a chain, though I hadn’t heard of it until I drove by today looking for a place to eat.

It’s an interesting place, with a small seating area, some Mexican groceries against the wall, and a voluminous area behind the register where they make their own tortillas, among other things. I’m assuming they have some kind of wholesale operation, because the large, squeaky conveyor belt was pumping out fresh tortillas the whole time I was there.

There were a few interesting looking things on the menu, which was posted on a board above the register, but the Los Campechanos caught my eye. It’s described as “grilled steak and chorizo tacos topped with onions and fresh cilantro.”

After a wait of about ten minutes, they were ready to go.  Wrapped in a double layer of fresh, tasty corn tortillas, these were pretty good, if nothing I’d go too nuts over.  The steak was a bit on the tough side, but the chorizo was quite good.  It was a bit bland, but the very spicy fresh salsa they had out definitely took care of that problem.

It came with a side of creamy guacamole that complimented the tacos fairly well.  The best thing about that? The crunchy, fried tortilla bowl that you can eat like a big nacho when you’re done.  Good stuff.

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