Mr. Charlton Goes for Tacos (Again)

I’ll try anything twice. Even if that means I’ll be eating my own words. A while back, you might have read about me heading to a Calgary taqueria called Native Tongues. And the first time I went, neither myself or Kat was impressed. I have a rule, though. If something is terrible, you always have to go back and see if it’s actually terrible. A place might have an off day. A place might have kids running the show on the weekend.

My friend took me out there, and I explained the situation. Which quickly turned into “You had a bad time? Then let’s go somewhere else”. I shook my head in true Mr.  Charlton fashion. Which meant I was bobbing around like a Muppet under a Jim Henson’s hand.

“Ahhhhwwweee no no no no.  We’re going to Native tongues for a rematch. The last time I went, it was bad. But people keeps telling me it’s good. So I’m going to keep going until it tastes better or that I’m sure everyone else is an idiot”.

My gripe last time was pretty straight forward. Even though they were pretty tasty, they weren’t worth the hefty price of $4 a taco, especially considering these seemed to be a lot smaller than the standard 6″ taco you normally get served. When I mentioned this in my last post, I had a few gourmand friends of mine call me out. “They are worth the $4”, they insisted. I wanted to believe I was right, but maybe living in Lethbridge for a year and a bit had turned me into a cheap skate.

So to my pleasant surprise, they lowered the price. All the way down to $3.50. You might think to yourself “Jeez, man, that’s not really a huge set of savings there”. But that $0.50 meant something. First, it’s a reduction of 12.5%, which is actually quite a bit for a restaurant. Secondly, it also meant the tour of tacos (every single taco on the menu) was going to run me $21 instead of $24. Thirdly, and most importantly, it meant I was right. I was right to call out this taco and its price. I need it to be known that on the subject of tacos, Mr. Charlton knows what he’s talking about.

Native-Tongues

This picture was taken from Yelp. Also, I know what the hell I’m talking about when it comes to Tacos.

The menu changed slightly as well. The last time I went, they had a beef tongue taco. It’s since been removed. I think this is a good call, as beef tongue tacos are pretty bland, to be frank. I thought about going through every single taco, giving it my personal review, but looking back on it, there’s only word going through my mind when I think about these tacos.

“Fresh”

From the handmade corn tortilla, to the salsas, to the queso on both the veggie tacos, everything about this screamed fresh. On a bite sized taco, this makes all the difference in the world.

So what did we learn? That it never hurts to give something a second go. I think that statement can be applied to other people as well. After two tries, then it might be safe to say something is not engaging you on some level. The other important lesson is that quite often I’m right. Especially when it comes to food.

Just saying.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I pretty sure the first time I went, they were just having an off day. I remember everything being pretty weak.

p.s.s. That’s not even close to the best meal I had when I was down in Calgary. Next up; 100 day aged steak.

p.s.s.s. It’s not even steak at this point anymore, people.

Mr. Charlton Goes for Tacos

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.

Sincerely,

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.