I was in Calgary for a wedding this weekend, and although it was a whirlwind trip, I had a great time. The wedding was fun and it was great to see a lot of faces I haven’t seen in a while. I didn’t get to see everyone I would have liked to, but a couple of days in my old stomping grounds is never enough time to get in and see all the sites.
Now, I love two things. Going out for food and Mexican cuisine , so one of the joints I was told to check out was a taco bar called ‘Native Tongues’. I had a couple of friends hype this restaurant up to no end, saying it was the one place I needed to hit up while in Calgary. So, me and my partner in crime Kat decided that after a long car ride, we would crush our hunger pains with some delicious tacos. I was really excited to make this taco thing a reality, so parked the car and sat down for some tasty Mexican food.
It was okay.
Here’s the deal. They were pretty good tacos. I wasn’t completely blown away, but they were tasty authentic tacos. The problem I had with them is that they were small. Adorably small, actually. Which would have been okay, except they were four bucks a pop. We both had four tacos apiece, which is what the server recommended. We could have easily eaten ten. It’s not like me and the girlfriend are huge eaters, either. We don’t get excited for all you can eat buffets. We don’t get giddy over the prospect of massive portions. On the flip side, it kind of sucks to go out for lunch, drop $40 and walk away hungry, getting what amounts to basically a snack.
I mention this to my buddy, one of the guys who recommended the place to me. When I mentioned the price and how it wasn’t really worth it, he put up his hand, stopped me right there, and said, “Don’t talk to me about price point”.
Hell yes, we are going to talk about price point.
It reminded me of the time I went to a Tapas place in Edmonton called Three Boars. Now, I’m going to start off be saying Tapas are bullshit. Not my thing. But Three Boars is a good place, has a nice tap selection and I was usually pretty impressed with the restaurant. The guys running it are creative and I usually walked away happy with the food. Except for once.
Me and my lady friend at the time, the good doctor, went to Three Boars and got a new item. The kimchi salad topped with foie gras. I thought, sounds good! I like some spicy kimchi, I love me some foie gras, how could you go wrong?
We get this dinky little bowl of kimchi, and there was foie gras shaving on top, layered so thin it might as well have been canola oil. To top it off, this little bowl of salad (I mean it was tiny) was set at $16. It wasn’t very good. I earned the title of honorary French man that night, as for the next forty-five minutes I raged about the salad being overpriced hipster garbage.
Before I went to Native Tongues, I was told it was a little hipster-ish. Now, I listen to eclectic music you probably haven’t heard of, shop at thrift stores, and think that punk rock was at its peak in the 1980’s. If I’m not a hipster, then I’m pretty damn close. One thing I don’t get pretentious over anymore is food. I don’t have a problem with paying four simoleons for a little taco, but that taco better be worth four goddamn dollars. The tacos at Native Tongues were good, absolutely, but they weren’t four dollar tacos. It was the kind of taco platter I’d expect at Hudson’s, not at a place of this hype.
The pork and chicken tacos were a little dry, the flavor on the pork was a little weird. To be honest, the best part of the taco was the tortilla, and it wasn’t the best tortilla I’ve had (that would be Jalapenos, which unfortunately shut down recently). They were dinky, slightly boring little tacos. The first bite at a restaurant should be “Wow, that is amazing” not “Man, I can do this at home with minimal effort”.
If some clown tells you that price doesn’t matter, tell ’em to stuff it. Price matters when you’re going out for food, and if the money your spending outweighs your enjoyment of the meal, then take your money elsewhere. Life is too short to be eating over-price hipster bullshit.
The Illustrious Mr. Charlton
p.s. Native Tongues did give me a bunch of great ideas for making my own tacos, though. The meal wasn’t a complete wash.
p.s.s. I’ll try anything twice, so maybe I need to hit up Native Tongues again at a different time. Maybe the cooks at night bring their A game.
p.s.s.s. The secret to becoming an honorary French man is to use the word ‘abomination’ to describe a salad.