Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chronic Tacos: A Tasty Taco Experience (despite a 5-0 Canucks loss)

Watching the Canucks is upsetting. Watching them lose a play-offs game is upsetting, depressing and can cause brief bouts of rage.

This week, I watched an extremely disappointing 5-0 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks in game 5 of their Round 1 Playoff series at Chronic Tacos on Broadway (at Yukon) and I gotta say, my pleasant experience with this casual and cheap eatery/bar took some sting out of the crushing defeat.

This is a fantastic place to watch the Canucks play.

*The Beer is cheap. Cans of Pilsner were 3.99.

*There are 9 giant flat screen TVs spread out all over the place and ample seating. Our group of 5 sat at;one of their many extremely comfortable and spacious booths. There is also a variety of tables available as well.

*Service here is friendly and easy going. There are servers that come by for drink orders but all food is ordered and paid for at the kitchen counter. Every Chronic Taco worker I spoke to that evening was laid-back, friendly, with a good sense of humour.

*The food is cheap and pretty tasty (although you can get cheaper and tastier tacos elsewhere...Dona Canta, but you can't watch the game there). The food tasted more Californian/Mexican than authentic Mexican and everything was really fresh . All the salsas and guacamole is made daily and the meats are all slow cooked and marinated overnight. The guacamole is awesome here. Unlike many other taco/burrito places in Vancouver - it’s free at Chronic - but you have to ask for it. The guy who made our food added guacamole with a bit of a flair by flicking a decent size dollop dramatically down on the dishes.

On the table:

I ordered a Fatty Taco- Grilled Mahi Mahi ($3.29)...

I couldn’t taste the fish at all. Mahi Mahi is like a more delicate softer Halibut and it doesn’t have a fishy taste.

Inside were 2 small strips grilled strips of fish. I got this "Baja style" with cabbage, lime, baja sauce which is like a savoury cilantro/chipotle mayo and guac.

The dressings and sauces were good. Unfortunately, I couldn't really taste the fish and wish there was more fish inside. All together- the flavours and sauces and textures blended together quite nicely and it was tasty.

Their fatty tacos are made with two corn tortillas which creates a sturdy, non-drippy taco eating experience. Flour tortillas are also available if you prefer, but you have to ask.

...And a Fatty Taco Al Pastor *spicy marinated pork with pineapple ($3.29).

Yum! The meat had a lot of savoury/smoky flavour and a little kick of spice. The pork was well marinated but tasted a little dry...but not enough to put me off. It was my favourite of the two tacos I ate.

Mis-ter sister had a Baja Style Fatty Grilled Mahi Mahi Taco (3.29). She loved the baja-style with cabbage (she had never had a fish taco before). She also enjoyed her Fatty Grilled Shrimp Taco(3.29) and noted that there were approx 4 small shrimp (which seemed a bit "shrimpy") but that the flavour of the 2nd was a bit stronger.

The Kiwi had a Pollo Asada (marinated grilled chicken) Burrito ($7.99).

 This Burrito was short, stubby, dense and jammed with fillings (white or spanish rice, black or re-fried or pinto beans, cheese, cilantro, onions, salsa). This hefty burrito weighed about a pound. He packed with the works and loved every bite. I tried a bit of the chicken filling- it was nice and savoury with some light citrus-y flavour. The kiwi was really impressed because towards the end of his burrito, all of the elements were still quite solid and not too juicy/greasy/drippy/messy to eat.

Dave got a Carne Asada (marinated grilled steak) Burrito ($7.99) done Chimi Style (deep fried).

This was one gorgeous monster of a burrito. Inside was a nice giant scoop of meat with pinto beans and rice. Essentially, with Chimi style- they load the burrito up with fillings (meat, rice, beans), deep fry until crispy, then load all of the pico, salsa, guac, and sour cream on top.He loved this dish but noted that the steak was more like ground beef rather than carne asada (steak). It was juicy and very flavourful, but Dave said the flavour wasn't really Mexican per se- but the addition of hot sauce seemed to improve the flavour.

The sous chef ordered a Fatty Taco grilled Mahi Mahi taco (without baja sauce) and a Fatty Taco Veggie with beans and rice. He thought these were pretty tasty and thought the tortillas were stand-out tasty.

Everyone at the table LOVED these hot sauces and added them liberally to every dish. The Gringo Bandito had a smoky, rich, full-bodied heat and the Cholula had more of a tomato-based savoury kick. Adding these definitely kicked the food up a couple of notches.

All in all, this was a comfortable, laid-back, reasonably priced place to watch the game and get some tasty grub. A hidden gem for Canucks fans!

Chronic Tacos on Urbanspoon

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