la carnita


A handful of friends and I went to la carnita (@la_carnita) for their second day of opening. Most of us have already had their tacos either during Toronto Underground Market or UNO so we mostly knew what to expect. And that we were craving some la carnita tacos BAD! ;D

Hey Andrew! (he’s the guy laughing in this photo). I wonder if they’ll still be at future TUMs now that they have a permanent location? Please keep in mind that we came on their 2nd day of opening so they’re still ironing out the kinks!

The bar. Oh! I just noticed that they have Mexican soda (Jarritos)!! You see the three bottles on the left side, orange, green, orange? I’d love to have a bottle of the grapefruit soda right now… ^_^

I thought the restaurant would be quite small. Turns out, I was completely wrong and I couldn’t be happier! The front section is quite narrow but the lighting is great for photos! ;)

The middle; a grungier-looking dining area has some awesome graffiti work done.

Then, it opens up into a semi-diner/canteen, classy, dining room. I’m not sure how to describe this place. The ceiling has this fun geometric moulding that makes it pretty classy, and then you get the chicken wire light fixtures with all the light bulbs inside to help diffuse the light. And it works!

TACOS = $5. That may seem pretty steep but you’d only think that if: a) You haven’t had la carnita tacos before or b) haven’t had them here, at their new home where they are a little bigger than their pop-up offerings.

Drinks. One of the guys, Andrew (@_aneb) came on opening day, had the “Who Shot Ya?” and said it was so good that he’s having it again. Yep, he’s already got his go-to drink! haha 

Don’t laugh. Yes, I took a photo of their water jug.”AGUA!”

Baller Champagne. I was about to make a joke about gold digging but then realized people might get the wrong impression of me…

Who Shot Ya? – 2oz Bulleit Bourbon, Jamaica Syrup, Ginger Syrup (10)
I had a sip of this, it’s good! I’ve still got way too much to learn about liquor so I can’t tell you exactly how it compares. When I drink, my reactions are very cavewoman-like, carmenlike or carmennolike? 

Carnita Pargarita – 2oz Tromba tequila, .5oz cointreau, lime juice, agave nectar (11)
Carmenkindoflike? It smelled like alcohol, purely. Just too much liquor in this drink. Luckily, after mentioning this to our server, she got me a new drink, with more agave nectar. That was much appreciated, thanks!! The new one was really good. :D

Tortilla Chips – guacamole, pumpkin seed, chicken liver pâté (13)
I think we all expected a little bit more. The dips were on the bland side. Out of the three, I’d say I preferred the chicken liver. 

Mexican Street Corn – Mexican crema, queso añejo, arbol & ancho chili powder (7)
I’ve had Mexican street corn once before and loved it! This one looks amazing, and tasted that way too!! Each kernel just pops with a burst of freshness. You get everything you want on this single cob. 

The grilled char mixed with the sweetness of the corn. And then the wedge of lime you squeeze atop. Oh this is definitely my favourite so far!

Chiles Rellenos – Oaxaca cheese, requesón, lime & adobo yogurt (7)
Stuffed jalapeno pepper poppers anyone? I expected the cheese to be all gooey but it wasn’t. :(

Avocado Mango Salad – w/cilantro, lime dressing, queso fresco & pepitas (8)
YES! More please! How simple this dish is but how delicious it was. It’s got the right amount of zing to balance out the creamy avocado. And mango + chili?! Awesome combination. 

Taco time! I didn’t realize how much we ordered, but as my eyes were glazing over, we quickly shuffled things around to make space. 

In Cod We Trust – Voltron sauce, lime crema, pickled red cabbage, green apple & cilantro (5)
This is one of their signature tacos. The pep of citrus, paired with a slight sweetness and heat is present everywhere. In short, the combination of flavours is just right. 

Pollo Frito – peanut mole sauce, pickled green cabbage & salsa fresca
This one is the chicken taco. 
Red & Green Chorizo – housemade chorizo, mango salsa, pickled onion, quesa cotija & cilantro
Besides the cod taco, this was the other taco I ordered. I didn’t expect the chorizo to be so crumbly or the sauce to be quite so spicy. Regardless, still very flavourful. 

With this taco, it’s imperative that you use a plate or else you’ll end up with half of it on the table.

Crispy Avocado & Frijoles – beans, crispy avocado, chipotle sauce, queso fresco & cilantro
Tostada de Lengua – westcoast verde, orange sauce, grilled pineapple, radish & beet sprouts

I didn’t have either of these. The others said that the avocado taco was amazing though. Meaning, next time I’m getting one of them! 

Carne Asada – skirt steak, queso anejo, lettuce, salsa verde
This looked really good! I kind of regret not ordering one of these. The bright sauce is so inviting. Piled high, you can’t quite resist. 

Paletas – lime pie w/ crumbled graham crackers & pineapple chili w/ guajillo & arbol (3.5)
Dessert time is always a good time!! We were curious about how popsicles could possibly cost $3.5!? It’s so worth it. The pineapple chili popsicle was the perfect palette cleanser to a great meal. 

And the lime pie popsicle?! So smart! And delicious. I’d stop by just for one of these. 

Awesome artwork! I also got one of their tees, which is vacuum-packed so it's like a cool-looking plank. :D

Nice greeting? haha 

Verdict? I’m coming back. For sure. In fact, a few friends organized to hit up la carnita next week! With the chill atmosphere, great music, and kickass food, who wouldn’t want to hit up this place?

Check ‘em out! http://lacarnita.com/

5 out of 5 NOMs
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