Wilbur Mexicana in Toronto

Wilbur Mexicana is where a group of friends can meet for drinks and a taco or even going out on your own for time alone. This is a spot where anyone and everyone is welcomed, while also offering cheap downtown eats with big flavour. Wilbur Mexicana is named after the chemist that discovered the Scoville scale of spicy heat, Wilbur Scoville. They offer an upscale but casual atmosphere serving up fast cheap eats that you would not expect in the downtown core.

Wilbur Mexicana
552 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1M3
http://wilburmexicana.com
https://www.instagram.com/wilburmexicana/

Once you enter the restaurant there is a sign up on the menu board that states, “Wilbur first timers, grab a menu at the door”, when you read this, you look to your left and see some menus hanging off the side rack. Once you figure out what you want to indulge in, you simply order and pay at the cash where you give you a numbered placeholder that contains a photo of a cartoon pepper. If you are dining in, just grab a seat at a table to you prefer and sit pretty; if take out, sit comfy on a stool right next to the cash.

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Say Yes to Busy Nights! Crock-Pot Chicken Enchiladas to the Rescue!

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The first time I made these amazing chicken enchiladas was back in February, while covering for a co-worker on maternity leave, and coming right off a week long ski trip to my entire sales team in town! I was extra busy and needed to learn to lean on my Crock-Pot. I have always thought of Crock-Pot meals as 1. Heavy 2. Unhealthy 3. Fat 4. Hokey Midwestern (no offense). In the last 12 months, my opinion on this incredible kitchen appliance has completely shifted. So after eight years of being used solely to make my specialty football season queso, we are now using our crockpot on a regular basis. This recipe is the current favorite in our household.

Crock-Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast per person
  • Can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • Can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • Can mexi-corn (drained and rinsed)
  • 1-2 chopped jalapeños
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 10oz can enchilada sauce
  • 2 tbsp hot chili spice
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • Option- 1 cup dry quinoa

Recipe:

  • Spray Crock-Pot with Pam
  • Put everything (except chicken in Crock-Pot) and stir
  • Add chicken (I would stab it a few times, so it incorporates all the flavors)
  • Cook on low for the 9-5 work day, or on high for 3-4 hours

My 3-year-old was able to pour all the ingredients (except the chicken) into the Crock-Pot this morning. I’m all about empowering kids to cook, and he is so proud when I let him run the show!

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I ran to the market after work to buy Funfetti cake mix for my daughter’s smash cake this weekend and saw a stack of tostadas out of the corner of my eye. So tonight, we have fully branched out. We made…Chicken Enchilada Huevos Rancheros. I mean. Oh. My. Gah. I had to try it. My husband was skeptical but went all in. We did two tostadas stacked (with just a little bit of the deliciousness in between, then more on top; then topped with a salt and peppered egg over easy, diced avocado, pickled jalapeno, and mexi-cheese.

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If you’re ever in a rush or need to bring dinner to a new momma, impress a girl, or feed a group, definitely give this a shot. In taco form or served up fancy, this meal has never let us down, and is always sure to impress! Can’t wait to find our next Crock-Pot favorite!

Salt & Lime Cabo Grill in Raleigh, NC

Happy #nationaltacoday!

The first time I stumbled onto Salt & Lime Cabo Grill, it was with my sister in law and her then 3-year-old. It was a beautiful, unusually cool North Carolina summer day, and we comfortably sat outside in the patio area with our two toddlers, eating salads and drinking margaritas. It was awesome (and surprisingly relaxing)!

Salt & Lime Cabo Grill
6006 Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh, NC 27609
http://saltandlimecabo.com/index.html

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Fast forward a year later, and this restaurant has become a staple for our Friday Family Date Nights! It’s so much fun to get the four of us together for a no-pressure meal. Over chips and salsa, we laze our way into the weekend. Over the course of the meal, our almost-toddler daughter nabs her way through the fruit at the top of my white wine sangria, and our 3-year-old son eats chips and salsa non-stop for about 45 minutes. Insane. The GM always stops by to play with the baby, and every single wait staff we’ve had has been both incredibly accommodating and extremely welcoming to our chaotic family. On several occasions, they have even squeezed us into a table that is reserved in 45 minutes, allowing us to get in and out and home before bedtime. As far as I am concerned, Salt & Lime has the best customer service in town!

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Salt & Lime is a Baja-inspired restaurant serving everything from taco plates to fresh salads to delicious looking burritos and plated entrees. Everything is prepared fresh daily, which would be my only caveat with this restaurant. On one occasion the salsa was way too spicy for us, which ruined our son’s “dinner” – but one in twenty times is a blip; hardly an issue! They have a pretty extensive menu with several types of salsa and guacamole – one day I’m going to try that fire roasted tomato with goat cheese guacamole; it sounds amazing! I regularly order their Avocado-Tomato Salad with House-Spiced Salmon added. It’s one of my favorite things on the menu, so fresh, and the salmon is just perfect!

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Recently, I’ve been on a bit of a taco kick! This is our new go-to when our parents are in town, so it’s fun to order 3 or 4 taco plates and swap out tacos. My husband always goes for the BBQ Mahi taco plate – he loves it! My current favorite is the Bangkok Shrimp – they are sticky and sweet and a little bit spicy! My only albeit is that it is fried shrimp, but a little cheat every once in a while is good for the soul! (I’m sure they would grill it if you asked, as a whole, the restaurant seems very keen to please). The Jamaican Jerk tacos are also on point, but a tad too spicy for me! The last time I took the whole fam, my brother, a vegetarian, ordered the spicy gazpacho and the Baja nachos and was very impressed. I was pleased, to say the least, as he is quite the world traveler; Paris being the newest town he can call home. My sister and mom split the Quesadilla Grande, and we all shared around the table. Everyone was full and happy when we called it a night!

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They are constantly adding to the menu, and so there is always something new to try whenever you go! I’m excited – we are heading there Friday night to celebrate my babe Margaret’s first birthday! We rarely get dessert when we head out on the town, but you can bet I’m getting my girl something sweet to celebrate the big UNO!

Best Carnitas in Mexico City

IMG_5946Growing up in Mexico City I was always surrounded by amazing food and even more amazing tacos. But when it comes to tacos there were always some legends: who was the best? Who did this or that style better? I always heard about this joint that made the best carnitas in town: El Rincón Tarasco. The first time I visited the place I was a teenager and I fell in love with it. So for good all times I decided to go back and treat myself to some tacos.

 

El Rincón Tarasco
Av. José Martí 142
Col. Escandón
11800 México, D.F.
http://rincontarasco.mx

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The place is exactly the same as I remembered it. It hasn’t changed one bit. Somehow El Rincón Tarasco has found the way to stay old school in the most extraordinary way. The food is precious and it’s one of those places that closes when the food is gone. The restaurant itself looks a little bit sketchy but don’t be discouraged you are in for a treat at this  little hole-in-the wall with a huge reputation.

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To begin my meal I had the taco dorado de sesos, that is the pork brain taco. I know some people may feel intimidated by the word brain but there is nothing to fear. The brains are perfectly cocked with epazote, tomatoes and onions and it tastes smokey, creamy and flavorful. This taco is deep fried at el Ricón Tarasco and I particularly love this because it adds that extra layer of crunchiness to the taco.

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For my main meal I had the carnitas tacos. The carnitas at el Rincón are made Michoacán Style and they are its signature dish. The carnitas are pork that has been braised and slow cooked for hours. When it is ready the meat is so soft that it melts like butter in your mouth. The carnitas taco is a big hardy taco , you can easily make two tacos out of it and the carnitas portion is very generous. It is soft, salty, piggy and so tasty.

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For my dessert I had the taco de Costilla (the rib taco). Yes, that was my dessert because the rib tacos are super special. This is an item that you can only get if you show up early enough since it’s one of the first items to ran out. The ribs are perfectly braised. You know crunchy on the outside but perfectly soft and juicy in the inside. They have a smokey flavor and the meat is so soft that it falls of the bone.  It is absolutely delicious and a most try if they have it available.

I was so happy to see that this place continues to be legendary. The staff was so friendly and accommodating and  the food was exactly as I remembered it: humble and just plain good, without a doubt it still has the best carnitas in town….

Taco Tuesday at Joyride Taco House in Gilbert, Arizona

I have lived in Arizona my entire life; born and raised. Which, I would consider pretty lucky. With thousands of authentic and delicious Mexican style restaurants around, it is pretty easy to always find a place to try something new. Enter, Joyride Taco House.

Joyride Taco House LogoJoyride is a part of one of my all time favorite companies in the valley; Upward Projects. Upward Projects are all about creating inspired restaurants that are connected to the communities they serve. Upward Projects began 11 years and has since grown into something many Zonies still get excited about when they announce a new location or restaurant.

Joyride Taco House (two locations)
302 North Gilbert Road
Gilbert, Arizona 85234
www.joyridetacohouse.com

Joyride Taco House, set in the ever growing and vibrant downtown Gilbert, Arizona, has an insane atmosphere. The good reviews, the location, and of course, the delicious food draws you in. It is the music, the employees and the house made cocktails that make you want to stay.

Joyride Taco House mealBoth locations of Joyride Taco House (Gilbert and Phoenix) have some really great deals on Tuesday nights. From 2:00 PM to close you can get $2 tacos such as braised beef, chicken tinga, crispy fish and more.  The chicken tinga taco is one of my favorites. It includes avocado, cabbage, cilantro and white magic. White magic is essentially just a house lime aioli sauce, but it sure is delicious. The Tuesday night specials also include great deals on their house made margaritas or pitchers of your favorite Mexican beer for $5. One of my favorite margaritas that they offer on special is their blood orange margarita. It is a blend of tequila, triple sec, house blood orange sour and hibiscus syrup. To make things even better about Joyride Taco House, from 2 to 6 p.m you can double up on deals by taking advantage of the their weekday happy hour. Those specials include $4 quesadilla or $6 ceviche. But you don’t have to stop at what is on special that night. Why not splurge on some of their other delicious items including burritos, enchiladas or one of their agua frescas, which are made fresh daily. You can order pineapple, ,cucumber mint or almond horchata; virgin or spiked. And the best part? You get to decide what type of booze you want to add. You can choose from tequila, vodka, rum, gin, amaretto or frangelico.  I would highly recommend the pineapple with tequila. It is absolutely delicious.

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I am telling you guys, they know what they’re doing. So when you get a chance to visit Arizona, make sure you hit up Joyride Taco House. I would recommend visiting the Phoenix location over the Gilbert location. Phoenix doesn’t seem to have quite as long of a wait time as the Gilbert location does. Either one you chose, you are sure to enjoy!

We also recommend you check out our friends at the Village Bakery for more cooking tips and recipes.
Joyride Taco House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Indian Taco Tuesday: California Chutney in Pasadena

I have a confession to make and I must come out clean about this so there are no questions about it in the future I’m addicted to tacos: soft, fried, corn or flour. I am a tacoholic at heart. I love them in all of its forms and presentations. So when I heard that California Chutney was serving naan tacos I had to have it.

California Chutney
45 N. Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA
(626) 396-6947
www.calichutney.com

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California Chutney is located in the heart of Old Town Pasadena just north of Colorado Blvd. The place is modern, bright and minimalistic. It is introducing a new approach to traditional Indian food by adopting the “ordering in line” kind of method that we all know so well. You stand in line and order exactly what you want in your naan taco, bowl or roti burrito.

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I had the Cali Naan Duo and for my first taco I went with the braised chickpeas and tandoori chicken with cucumber yogurt raita. It was so flavorful. The tandoori chicken was spicy and well balanced with the cucumber raita. For my second taco I had the Paneer Tikka with the roasted chili chutney. I was delightfully surprised to see that the Paneer had kale instead of spinach. The chutney was spicy almost like a Mexican salsa. It was delicious.

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One of the things I liked the most about this place is that they make naan to order. They have a modern tandoor oven where they carefully bake the naan for the tacos. You can see the whole process through the glass window.

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The place also has a chutney bar. There you can help yourself to all the chutney that you want I certainly spend some time trying all the flavors. My favorite chutney was the fresh cilantro and the mango ginger.

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California Chutney is a nice alternative to Indian food in Pasadena. There is nothing like this in the area and the food has all the Indian flavors you want with a modern twist. The place is vibrant, the servers are super friendly and most importantly the food is really good at a reasonable price. Who knew that naan tacos could be so yummy definitely a good option for taco Tuesday.

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California Chutney Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taqueria El Califa in Mexico City

When it comes to tacos in Mexico City everybody has their favorite spot; funny enough, most of us share the same feeling. Just ask anyone -and I mean anyone- where to find the best tacos and they will direct you to my personal favorite: Taquería El Califa.

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IMG_5730Taquería El Califa 
Altata # 22
06100 México, D.F.
elcalifa.com.mx

The place is located in the heart of La Condesa, one of the oldest and also trendiest neighborhoods in Mexico City. It has been there for over 20 years redefining the traditional concept of what a taquería should be. What sets El Califa apart from any other taco joint is that it specializes in serving full filet tacos with handmade tortillas. I’ve been coming here for the last 15 years. It used to be a small colorful restaurant that was always crowded. Although the crowds have not changed, a few years ago they expanded and renovated the place into a more vibrant and modern atmosphere. The only façade that remains from the old days is a memento of what was and what continues to be amazing tacos.

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We started our meal with the chicharron de queso. They fry Manchego and Chihuahua cheese on the grill and then roll it into the ultimate cheese wave. Once you’ve had it you can’t stop eating it. It is like the best chip you have ever had: cheesy, crispy and crunchy. This is a must-try appetizer.IMG_6148
Another famous appetizer is the jugo de carne. This is a beef broth/soup that has been cooked for hours. It has all the goodness of the beef. It is thick, strong and has a complex almost caramelized flavor. Specially made for all the beef lovers. Squeeze a lemon wedge and drink it up. It will make your belly happy, I promise.

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After that, we had tacos al pastor. The pork is lustily marinated in their secret sauce and then cooked over a vertical trompo (charcoal grill) until they are ready. Al pastor tacos are my favorite tacos and the ones at Califa are sublime, no exaggeration here.

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The bistec taco was what followed. Grilled tender flank steak on top of a fresh homemade tortilla. The steak is thin and cooked to perfection. Simplicity at its best!

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Then came the taco de costilla con queso. They add cheese on top of the rib taco and do a light burn on the cheese creating this cheesy crust on top of it. I like to eat this taco with freshly grilled green cactus. The costilla taco con queso is soft, fatty and tasty almost like having queso fundido on your taco.

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For our last taco we had the taco de gaona campechano con queso. Let me explain this taco since it has more moving parts than your average taco. The gaona is Califa’s signature cut. It is a high quality steak that is so soft it melts in your mouth. The term campechano means “with a little bit of everything” and the “everything” at El Califa is blood sausage, crispy pork chicharron and chile morita salsa. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a taco that measures up to this one. It is the king of all tacos.

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For dessert we had the pastel tres leches. A traditional old school Mexican cake that takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen when she used to bake it for us. It is made with three kinds of milk: whole, evaporated and sweetened condensed milk. It is covered with dulce de leche icing. It is decadent. Prepare yourself for sugar shock that’s  #totallyworthit.

What makes El Califa’s tacos so good? It is all about the ingredients. They use high quality cuts of meat and local produce. They also make their own cheese, salsas and handmade tortillas. El Califa has an amazing and professional staff of taqueros, cooks and waiters that make sure that the customer experience is like no other. El Califa is a Mexico City food landmark. Everybody knows it, everybody loves it and they all aspire to be like El Califa.