TacoFino Cantina Food Truck: Flavour-packed Tacos and Spicy, Gooey Chocolate Cookies
Robson Square (Robson and Howe), Vancouver Art Gallery
I like to think of taco trucks as the vanguards of food trucks, armed with sizzling, spicy hand-held eats for hungry surfers, beach-side. I don’t surf so I’m lucky that TacoFino has parked their bright orange truck in the heart of downtown this summer. Hailing from the surf town of Tofino, you might have seen this truck on the Food Network‘s hit show, Eat St.
TacoFino has a huge menu so it’s hard to decide what to order, but after seeing them on Eat St., I was determined to try their famed Tuna Ta Taco and a spicy Diablo cookie. I also chose a pork gringa.
I love that TacoFino accepts both debit cards and cash. It’s a huge convenience.
I have to admit that $6.50 for a tuna taco is a little bit steep but when I saw my taco jam packed with quality ingredients, I could tell it was worth every penny.
To go along with our taco beach theme, we decided to picnic on the faux beach structure that the City of Vancouver has constructed on Robson Street. And no, the pokey Astro Turf is not the comfiest surface to sit on but I like the makeshift picnic tables and umbrellas.
As mentioned, the Tuna Ta Taco is huge, filled with lightly seared albacore tuna with wasabi and ginger mayo, shredded cabbage, mango salsa and seaweed salad, this was one messy taco to eat. Admittedly, I prefer corn tortillas for tacos, I just like the taste and texture a lot more than the flour tortillas. The bad thing about flour tortillas is the way they get damp and limp when wet so I was pretty petrified of my huge tuna taco breaking in the middle, mid-meal. I squeezed a tonne of lime onto the taco too which added a lot of moisture.
There’s no graceful way to eat a huge taco and my dining mates agreed so we just all dug in, messiness be damned! My first bite of the Tuna Ta Taco was an intense explosion of flavour and textures. The saltiness and crunch from the bunch of seaweed salad on top, sweetness and juiciness from the amazingly ripe mangoes and tomatoes, the tang from the lime juice and finally the delicately silky but fresh taste from the Albacore tuna at the bottom of the taco. You’d think the fragile tuna chunks would be completely overpowered by the ginger mayo and mass of other ingredients piled on top but magically all the toppings only enhance the fresh, smooth tuna flavours. Despite the size, this was a very refreshing and light taco with hints of spice from the mayo and seasoning.
I knew I would love the pork gringa as soon as I smelled the smokey pork, melted cheese with nice big globs of sour cream all mixed in. These are my three favourite ingredients in the world. The gringa (quesadilla) was a little easier to handle in terms of messiness since there was a nice sear on the outside of the flour tortilla forming a firm and flavourful crust. Although, I realized I should have eaten it before the Tuna Ta Taco. All the juices from the Tuna Ta Taco had leaked onto the pork gringa as I gobbled away. Good thing the gringa was protected by its seared crust!
Nonetheless, on my first bite of the pork gringa, I was hooked! The pork meat was braised to the point of being so incredibly moist, I barely had to chew it. Packed with smokey and spicy flavours, the gringa is definitely heavier and spicier than the tuna taco. The cheese and sour cream mix also adds some saltiness and really balances out the spiciness. And really, who doesn’t love the taste and soft and gooey texture of melted cheese!
Now onto this amazing chocolate chilli cookie. I saw it on TV and had to try it. I have to admit, I was kind of scared. I’m a bit of a spice-wimp but I didn’t let that stop me. To my delight, the big cookie was soft and chewy. Texture is very important to me and soft and chewy cookies are my weakness. I started nibbling on the side of the cookie first, just to be safe, sort of like just dipping my toe into the edge of the lake. There are so many layers of flavours to this cookie, it’s hard to describe: it’s salty, sweet and spicy. First, the cookie tasted salty from the salty sprinkles on top, then, I was hit with an intense gooey, densely chocolatey flavour and as I savoured the sweet chocolate taste, finally, it got me, the spice from the chillies silently, slowly but surely crept onto my taste buds and stayed. Literally, the spice left my tongue tingling till at least 10 or 15 minutes after I finished eating. I took a while to nibble on this cookie, it’s amazing how rich and dense this thing is. I was thrilled to find a soft, gooey, fudgy center as I got to the middle of the cookie and I was thankful for the sweet globs of melted milk chocolate on top of the cookie, they were the perfect cooling element to the hits of spiciness throughout the cookie. Honestly, I would go back to TacoFino a billion times just for this one sophisticated salty, spicy and sweet cookie. It’s a very pleasant surprise to find yummy cookies at a taco truck.