Fayuca (Happy Hour)

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Fayuca opened up earlier last year in Yaletown and features a Northern Pacific Mexican menu. E, K and I decided to come here for a girls night out.

 

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The restaurant has a really nice patio with cute cushions and chairs. The only downside is there are no heaters or blankets outside, so only great on a sunny day.

 

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The interior is also uniquely designed and features a small bar.

 

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When we visited, we were able to check out their happy hour menu which is available Monday to Friday from 4pm-6pm (it used to be start at 3pm but has since changed). Keep in mind this menu was from the end of summer so may have changed since. Dishes are $7-$12 and are meant for sharing.

 

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There are quite a few drinks on the happy menu as well. Beers, wines, and cocktails are among the choices.

 

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Mezcal Jamaica

To start, I tried the Mezcal Jamaica which featured Sombra artisanal Mezcal with tart hibiscus “Jamaica”, cinnamon and orange. I actually didn’t end up enjoying this drink as I personally don’t enjoy cinnamon in my drinks and it was a bit too tart for me. Instead, I switched to a glass of Nate’s syrah which I enjoyed.

 

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Half-Dozen Sawmill Bay Oysters

Moving on to food, we ended up trying almost all items on the happy hour menu except for the grilled oysters. We decided on the Half-Dozen Sawmill Bay Oysters which were served with a daily aguachile. As expected, the Sawmill Bay oysters were rather small and not as sweet I’d like them to be. They were okay but nothing mind blowing. For $1.50 each, I would probably skip this next time.

 

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Sockeye Salmon Ceviche

Next was the Sockeye Salmon Ceviche which is served with a jicama aguachile. It was also served with this crispy cracker. The salmon was fresh and had just the right amount of acidity.

 

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Roasted Golden Beet Ceviche

The Roasted Golden Beet Ceviche looked almost like salmon ceviche! It was served with a carrot aguachile along with some avocados. I normally don’t like to eat beets, but this is a much try! The texture reminded me of salmon and the ceviche was served with corn tortillas.

 

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Guacamole with Crispy Sunchokes

Another dish I enjoyed was the Guacamole with Crispy Sunchokes. It was topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and Macedonian feta. The guacamole was so flavourful and the pumpkin seeds added a nice texture. Again, these were served with corn tortillas.

 

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Albacore Ceviche Tostada

Lastly, an order of the Albacore Ceviche Tostada comes with two tortillas and is topped with avocado and purple cabbage. The dish also comes with a habanero sauce but it was way too spicy for me! These tostadas were really enjoyable and flavourful.

 

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Tostadas

Almost all dishes on the happy hour menu came with a dish of Tostadas or corn tortillas. These were crunchy and lightly salted. However, because almost all our dishes came with tostadas, it got a bit salty after a while. I think we wouldn’t have minded them as much if we only had 1 or 2 dishes with the tostada.

 

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Overall, I enjoyed the happy hour menu at Fayuca but wished there was a bit more variety. I found most of the dishes were ceviches and therefore served with the same tostada to get a bit boring after a while. However, there are definitely some solid dishes during happy hour and I’d love to come back to try out their dinner menu. Happy hour ends up being not as discounted as you’d think as most dishes are around $10.

Pros:
– Solid dishes during happy hour
– Large variety of drinks to choose from on happy hour menu

Cons:
– Almost all dishes during happy hour are served with tostadas so can get a bit repetitive

Price Range: $25-$40 per person (happy hour)

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 4 Parking: Paid meter parking on street Overall: 3.5

 

Fayuca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Cuchillo

After being hungry at a beer event, J suggested we go grab some tacos at Cuchillo. I didn’t know this place existed and it is quite a hidden gem with only a skull on the outside of the restaurant!

We started off with some white wine and rose. I can’t remember the names of these but that they were rather fruity.

Baja Style Battered Rockfish

Our first taco was the Baja Style Battered Rockfish. The beautiful green coloured kale and hemp corn tortilla was topped with jicama slaw, chipotle aioli, and of course the battered rockfish. This had a good spicy kick but man this was good! The batter was light and the fish remained moist. Their tacos are quite packed for the amount of tortilla you get so it can be quite messy to eat!

Pulled Duck Y Cracklin’

The second taco we had was the Pulled Duck Y Cracklin’ which came with roasted garlic, blackberry habanero jam, pulled pork, crackling, and this all sat on top of a black bean corn tortilla. I really enjoyed the sweetness of the blackberry jam against the tender pulled pork.

Pork Belly Confit

We also tried one of their larger dishes, which was the Pork Belly Confit which came with a maple chipotle and tamarind glze, a granny smith puree and was topped with chicharon and patacones (or fried plantains). The ratio of fat to meat was right on and the meat was tender! So much fatty goodness.

This is definitely a great spot to grab some tacos and enjoy Mexican food. I like how the place feels more upscale yet it’s casual enough so you don’t need to dress up. If you’re feeling a little fancy but want tacos, then here’s the place to go. Great for a girls night out or date night.

Pros:
– Solid tacos
– Great ambiance and service

Cons:
– Not the cheapest for portions

Price Range: $25-35

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 4

Cuchillo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tacofino Taco Bar

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The Taco Bar at Tacofino has been open for quite a while now and it’s been on my list of must try restaurants. Finally, I visited the famous Taco Bar with A, M, and K. M and A had arrived early, but we still had to wait for over 30 minutes to get a table. This place is so busy, so be sure to arrive early and place your name on the wait list. They will send you a text message when your table is ready. Also, the Taco Bar is situated behind the Burrito Bar which is for take out. You can enter the restaurant from the front, or from the Blood Alley.

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The inside ambiance is super cool. I love the whole design of the restaurant with tiled floors and brick walls. Super hipster! Too bad it was rather dim inside, so it was difficult to take good pictures. They also have a patio outside, perfect for those sunny warm evenings.

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Pitcher of Sangria

We ended up sharing a pitcher of red Sangria, which seems to be offered during the summer season. It’s a rather small pitcher for the price, but we still managed to get 4 full glasses.

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Nachos 

M recommended the Nachos and said they were really delicious. When I saw it, I thought it looked average, but boy was this delicious! The nachos are crunchy and layered with salsa fresca, chipotle and sour cream. We also added guacomole on the side for an extra $4. The portion may look small, but it will fill you up and we shared this among four girls.

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Since we weren’t sure how much we could eat, we all started off by ordering one taco each for ourselves. In the end, this was just perfect for us. Their tacos are quite big and the filling is very generous. If you come here just for the tacos, you can probably fill up with just two. Most of their tacos are $6 to $7.

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Al Pastor

I really wanted to try all the tacos, but since I had to pick one, I chose the Al Pastor. The only reason I chose it was because it said “while quantities last” on the menu. I immediately thought this would mean it’s one of the best and they sell out quick! Well luckily, they weren’t sold out yet and this was amazing. It had roasted pork, pineapples, pickled onions and cilantro. I loved the mix of the fruity pineapple with the meat. Who knew they would go together so well! I also like how they sort of toast or grill the tortilla itself first, so it doesn’t taste as bland.

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Steak Taco

M went for her all time favourite Steak Taco, and I got to sample a bit of her steak bites. It was delicious, with a nice char and seasoning on the steak. The soft shell taco is filled with grilled skirt steak, pickled chayote and pineapples. Again, M commented that the pineapples surprisingly paired very well with the steak.

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Mushroom Quesadilla

A got the Mushroom Quesadilla, which featured two tortillas sandwiched with seasonal mushrooms, aged cheddar, and cotija. She said it was pretty good but had way too much mushrooms. I guess she likes her meat… This is more of a taco for vegetarians.

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Potato and Mushroom Taco

K got the Potato and Mushroom Taco. Unfortunately, the taco was a hard shell, which K was pretty disappointed about, since she had assumed all tacos were soft shelled. She found it to be a bit more messy to eat since the hard shell tacos usually crack at odd spots when you bite into it. It was filled with collard greens, almond herb crumb, chipotle crema, queso fresco, and of course potatoes and mushrooms. She said that there were way too many potatoes compared to mushrooms though.

Overall, I was very happy with Taco Bar. I can see why people love this place and will wait for it. If you’re in a rush, then you can visit the Burrito Bar, although they only sell burritos. It’s essentially the same fillings though. Otherwise, enjoy some amazing tacos and drinks inside the Taco Bar with a cool ambiance. Oh and if you didn’t already know, they also have their Tacofino Commissary in East Van and their food truck which is usually in downtown.

Pros:
– Nachos are the bomb!
– Tacos are filled generously and taste delicious

Cons:
– Long waits
– Service is average – our waitress wasn’t very friendly

Price Range: $15-20

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

Click to add a blog post for Tacofino on Zomato

La Mezcaleria

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After many attempts, S, J and I finally found time to try La Mezcaleria. The Mexican joint is located in the Commercial Drive area and is the newly opened sister restaurant of La Tacqueria.

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The inside is dimly lit and has a casual vibe with a bar table and a small section of seats against the other side of the wall. They are famous for their Mezcal and Tequila flights as well. Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from a plant similar to agave and is a typical Mexican drink. Unfortunately, we did not try their drinks this time, but I hear they are quite good.

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After ordering, we were given 4 types of sauces that we could add to our food. It ranged from mildly spicy to very spicy. Salsa Verde was the least spicy, then it moved on to Chipotle, Chile de Arbol and the spiciest Habanero. The Salsa Verde was good in the beginning, but once you tried the spicier ones, you got hooked onto the spicy ones! In the end, most of us were using the Chile de Arbol or the Habanero. You can definitely feel the heat with those two.

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It comes with around 6 soft tortillas. I found these tortillas to be just okay. To be honest, I didn’t find the cheese dish to be amazing. I didn’t like how the cheese cooled so quickly, and you were just biting into a chunk of cooling cheese. You really needed the sauces to add more flavour to this dish.

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I was told by the server to shake the bag up a bit, then open it and dump it on top of the rice. After shaking, you open the bag up, and this is what it looks like. Not too appetizing I know. We had chose the chicken, so it had been slow steam cooked along with a green tomatillo sauce, onions, cilantro and poblano peppers to add flavour. I thought this was just average. Not my favourite, and I found it quite pricey for the portions at $17.

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Meat Tacos – Asada, Pescado, Carnitas, Al Pastor (front left clockwise)

We also got the Meat Tacos which were priced at 4 for $11.50. I’ve had the tacos at La Tacqueria and the menu is essentially the same (although La Tacqueria has more choices). I got the Asada which came with grilled ‘AAA’ flank beef and onions. I loved the flavour and tenderness of the meat. Above the Asada was the Pesacdo, which included Zarandeado fish with a chipotle mayo, radish and pepitas. Next to it, was the Carnitas which consisted of pork confit and pickled red onions. At the bottom right corner was the Al Pastor which was pork marinated in achiote chili and pineapple. Everyone enjoyed their tacos, although it gets quite messy since they fill them up quite full.

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La Mezcaleria on Urbanspoon

Rosa Negra (2) – Barcelona

When N came to visit, I wanted her to try some of the best food I’ve had in Barcelona. Rosa Negra was one of my favourites, and although it wasn’t Spanish, she was up for having some Mexican food. When we got there, there was a huge line, and they told us to come back in 30 minutes. We took a walk around the neighborhood, and when we got back, our seat was ready.

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Nachos with Cheese Sauce

We shared an appetizer to start. We got the Nachos with Cheese Sauce, which of course had corn tortilla chips, and the toppings included beans, homemade cheese sauce, jalapenos, chopped tomatoes, onions, and coriander. It was cheesy with a kick to it and a great dish to share!

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Taco Variety Plate

N got the Taco Variety Plate so she could try the different tacos. It came with 4 different tacos and included grilled beef, slow cooked beef, chicken, and seasoned slow cooked pork. Looked really delicious and she said it was good!

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For myself, I was reminiscing the previous time I had the Cochinita Burrito, which was basically a burrito filled with seasoned slow cooked pork. Last time I had this, I shared it with my friends along with other dishes. I didn’t realize how much this was, and I was thoroughly filled by the end of the meal.

Again, a great find in Barcelona for some Mexican food. To see my previous post, click here: Rosa Negra

Rosa Negra – Barcelona

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We had finished our Spanish History tour led by our professor to show us significant spots around the city. It was one of our classmate’s birthday, and she invited us to join her for dinner at Rosa Negra. I had actually never been to this part of town, which is one of Barcelona’s main street, Laietana. There were so many cool restaurants and shops around! Rosa Negra is a Mexican restaurant and had some of the best Mexican food I’ve had. The place is really colourful, hip and cool – perfect for young crowds. There are two floors, and downstairs is a bar. When it gets crowded, many people grab a drink while waiting for a seat.

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Raspberry Margarita

They have amazing drink deals, and we all got some Margaritas for only 3, 50 euros. K got the Raspberry Margarita.

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Passion-fruit Margarita

For myself, I got the Passion-fruit Margarita. We all agreed that the passion-fruit flavour was the best! We loved how the rims of the glasses were topped with some salt and sugar. It was mixed with a spice too so gave it a little heat when you licked it.

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Grilled Chicken with Guacamole Taco

Onto the food! A few of us decided to share some dishes, which got pretty messy, but this way we were able to try an assortment of food. We got the Grilled Chicken with Guacamole Taco, which was our least favourite. The chicken was a little dry since it didn’t have any sauce other than the guacamole.

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Seasoned Slow Cooked Pork Burrito

The Seasoned Slow Cooked Pork Burrito was by far our favourite! It was sliced in half, and even then, each portion was bigger than my fist! The flour tortilla was filled with the seasoned slow cooked pork, which was super juicy, moist and flavourful. It was also filled with beans, rice, cheese, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, coriander, and sour cream. The portions were just perfect so you got a bit of everything in each bite. I would suggest sharing this if you want to try other dishes because it’s huge and fills you up really fast!

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Sauteed Mushroom and Onion Quesadilla

The sauteed Mushroom and Onion Quesadillas came in a set of three, and were all filled with melted cheese. The cheese was melted perfectly so it was stringy. It was again full of flavour and it came with a small side of salsa (diced tomatoes and onions).

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Ceviche

Last but not least, we ordered an appetizer, which was the Ceviche. I was in love with this dish! It had diced fish and shrimp, and they were cooked in a lime juice hence giving it a bit of acidity. It was mixed with mangoes, tomatoes, onions, coriander, ginger and topped with a slice of avocado. This was great because it opened up your appetite! We broke the avocado a bit, and you would scoop some of it with your tortilla chip so it would be like a guacamole, and then scoop some of the fish. I loved this dish!

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Overall, I was extremely pleased with the food and drinks at Rosa Negra! Prices were quite reasonable and most of us agreed that the food was up to par with authentic Mexican restaurants. Who knew we would find such great Mexican food in Barcelona! I ended up coming here again as you will see in later posts! Perfect place for a chill, fun night with friends. It gets packed around dinner time though!

Cantina Mariachi – Valencia

For dinner, we were on the look for something on the student budget side. We headed to the nearby mall for our hotel again, and spotted Los jueves! Yes, it was a Thursday and my Spanish finally came to use. So on Thursdays at Cantina Mariachi, you can get two tacos and a beer for only 3 euros! Not bad at all!

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The place has a bit of a Mexican feel to it, but my god the service here is ridiculously slow. I guess I’m starting to get used to terrible service in Spain, but one would think this restaurant was more of a fast food joint. If you want to get quick food here, think again. The servers here, who are young boys walk ever so slowly and watching them move was just painful.

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Anyways, our beers came and they came in some pretty cool glasses. Europeans love head on their beers, contrary to what we Canadians like. We usually try to pour our beer so we get the least possible. Here, they try to get lots. Cold beer was still great for a hot day.

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Taco Ranchero, Mariachi Taco, Taco Beef with Cheese

The only thing about the deal is that you must get the same two tacos. That was fine with us though, as we all ordered something different so we could try each others. M got the Taco Ranchero, which had veal cooked with mushrooms , onions and green peppers. This was a very difficult one to eat as it was very soggy. S got the Mariachi Taco, which was beef stew with beans. Also more of a wet taco, but still flavourful. Lastly, I got the Taco Beef with Cheese, which had veal steak with melted cheese. Mine was the easiest to eat and I also really enjoyed the veal steak. It was probably my favourite. Each plate also came with a cup of salsa for you to pour over.

All in all, you can’t expect much here, but the Thursday deal is definitely a steal! Just don’t expect quick service.

La Taqueria Taco Shop

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M and I had wanted to check out Greedy Pig, but of all days, it just had to be closed on a Tuesday. That meant doing a quick Urbanspoon to see what was near. We found La Taqueria just down the block, and I had heard some good things about this taco shop. It’s painted bright yellow, so you won’t miss it.

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You can see the chefs prepare your tacos if you stand at the very front of the shop.

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The cashier was extremely friendly and asked if it were our first time here. Since it was, he thoroughly explained to us how the menu works. There are basically several beef, some chicken, one fish, and a variety of vegetarian tacos. Meat tacos are $2.50 each, but if you get 4 meat tacos, you are only charged $9.50.  Veggie tacos are $2.00 each, and if you get 4 veggie tacos, then it’s $7.00. You can also mix and match between meat and veggie. All tacos are also served with cilantro, chopped onion and lime. Other than tacos, they also have quesadillas.

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They also have a daily special menu.

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They have a large selection of beverages, including both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Some seem to be originated from Mexico.

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(Top center, clockwise) Asada, Tinga De Pollo, De Picadillo, Pescado and Dos Equis Lager Especial

M and I each got 4 tacos. The Asada is grilled AAA flank beef, and we both agreed it was the best out of the ones we tried. I think what was so great about it was that you could taste a bit of char from the grill, and it made it so much more flavourful. The De Picadillo consisted of sauteed ground tofu in chin chin’s secret recipe and is also a vegan taco. He said that this was one of his least favourites. We both got the Pescado and Tinga De Pollo. The Pescado consists of zarandeado fish with chipotle mayo, raddish and pepitas. We found the fish to be okay. I thought the fish was a bit too soft for my liking. The Tinga De Pollo had chicken with chorizo in a chipotle tomato sauce topped with mexican cheese and sour cream. This was probably the second best. Lots of chicken and very flavourful.

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(Top center, clockwise) Pescado, Res En Cascabel, Tinga De Hongos, Tinga De Pollo and San Pellegrino Orange

For myself, I chose two different tacos different from what M had.  The Res En Cascabel was their special, so I decided to give it a try. It had free range beef in a cascabel chili sauce, and I found it to be the spiciest of the  four. However, the heat was still bearable and wasn’t numbing. I enjoyed this one the most out of the 4 tacos I had chosen, although M’s Asada definitely beat this one. The other taco that was different was the Tinga De Hongos which had sauteed fresh mushrooms in a spicy chipotle sauce. This one was also a vegan taco. I thought this one tasted sort of weird and I didn’t even really feel like I was eating mushrooms.

To add, all the tacos have two soft tortillas, since I’m pretty sure if it only had one, the ingredients would seep through. You would think that 4 tacos isn’t a lot, but this definitely filled me up. The tacos are filled with lots of ingredients and they pour out as you eat. It’s going to be a messy meal, but it’s worth it! They also have an area with different sauces, with the mildest as guacamole, and the hottest as something similar to Tabasco sauce I believe. I think this was my first time having Mexican food at an actual specialty store, so it was definitely an experience! I was really surprised that the sauces that originally come with the tacos were not as spicy as they sounded too.

La Taqueria Taco Shop on Urbanspoon