Sunday, July 14, 2013


Taco tour 2013 took me back to Los Angeles and Baja this past month. I hit up a bunch of new spots and revisited favorites from the last trip. I managed to pack in a wide variety of tacos and tostadas, from old school street carts to traditional Mexican restaurants, hipster taco bars, pop-ups and gourmet food trucks.

So get out your bibs...and enjoy a photo diary of the taco madness (with honorable mention to a few of my favorite non-taco Mexican snacks!)

LEO'S TACO TRUCK (Los Angeles) - Al Pastor, Cabeza, Lengua

GUERRILLA TACOS (Los Angeles) - Chorizo/potato, Bean/bacon/fried egg, Kale/tomato/scramble

MEXICALI TACO & CO. (Los Angeles) - Vampiro Quesedilla, Pork Cachetada

LA GUELAGUETZA (Los Angeles) - Red mole & queso fresco nachos (I'm still dreaming about this mole..)

TACOS GUADALAJARA (El Faro Plaza, Los Angeles)- Tacos de canasta al vapor (steamed in a basket)

EL FARO PLAZA - Tostilocos!!!

TACOS PUNTA CABRAS (Santa Monica) - Shrimp tostada, Baja fish taco

COCTELARIA LOS ARCOS II - Shrimp and Octopus tostadas (and the Tijuana/San Diego border fence)

Mangos Preparados - Random beach vendor, Playas de Tijuana

 TACOS KOKOPELLI (Foodgarden, Tijuana)- Kraken and Black Harder 

Strawberry & Cream Paleta (from random vendor in Tijuana)

Midnight snack of queso fresco and chapulines from the Mercado Hidalgo in TJ.

LA GUERRERENSE (Ensenada) - Pulpo tostada

 LA GUERRERENSE - Erizo y almeja (sea urchin and pismo clam)

 TACOS FENIX (Ensenada)- Fish and Shrimp Tacos

 Gotta have some churros while at "La Linea" at San Ysidro...

AQUI ES TEXCOCO (San Diego/Chula Vista) - Brain, Tripe and Rib tacos.

JOHN SEDLAR/RIVERA (LA Street Food Fest) - Handmade tortillas pressed w/ flowers on the "plancha"

CEVICHE PROJECT (LA Street Food Fest) - Yellowfin tuna tostada with a yuzu sorbet and mango.

LA Street Food Fest - Taco, taco empanada (can't remember the vendor)

THE CHURRO BOROUGH (LA Street Food Fest) - Mini churro ice cream sandwich!

LA CHINA POBLANA (East LA) -  Milanesa Cemita

MERCADO OLYMPIC (Los Angeles) - Random giant trompo of Al Pastor

PETTY CASH (Los Angeles) - Pigs Ear Nachos

PETTY CASH - Kraken Taco (from Tacos Kokopelli in Tijuana...the chef is also now collaborating in LA)

MARISCOS JALISCO (Los Angeles) - Fried Shrimp Tacos (MY #1 TACO OF ALL TIME!!!)

KOGI BBQ TRUCK (Venice) - Short Rib Tacos 

TAQUERIA ESCUELA (Los Angeles) - Crispy beef and pickle

GUISADOS (Echo Park) - Chicharrones, Chicken Tinga, Steak Picado


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Street Food Ottawa

Hey street food lovers!! This summer is big for my hometown of Ottawa as the municipal government has issued 18 new street vendor permits. Look for a wide variety of food to start hitting our streets in the coming weeks as their trucks and carts roll out of the shops!

To stay up-to-date on all Ottawa information, news and events, please check out my Street Food Ottawa website. We're also found on Twitter @StreetFoodOTT.

I'll update the Kathy Eats blog when I travel, or if I just have random things to share (re. more tacos). And as always, will continue to be a contributor to the Eat St blog for Food Network Canada.

Have a great summer of eating, I'll see you on the streets!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tijuana Street Food

Mexican food is my passion.  The fresh ingredients and simple recipes combine to create true comfort food.  So when I was in southern California back in November, I couldn't resist a day trip over the border to Tijuana.

Tijuana is really starting to see true growth in the food industry.  Although most of the best street stands and restaurants have been there for many years, there appears to be an increase in the exposure these vendors are getting. Whether it's through social media or a resurgence of tourism, TJ's streets are starting to attract young entrepreneurs and visitors.  More than ever, we are seeing food lovers explore what this city has to offer.  Food bloggers and life/culture reporters in southern California are now regularly writing about Tijuana. A touring dinner club "Club Tengo Hambre" that has begun hosting groups of hungry gringos for a day of eating and drinking at TJ's hottest spots.

I had three street carts on my list to check out and they did not disppoint...


Check out "el gato" waiting on the bottom left side of the cart.

TWM has been in operation since 1964 and was originally located outside of a car wash, thus the name. Although the car wash is no longer there, they have continued the tradition of offering unbelievable tortas to the working class of Tijuana. TWM was my first destination after walking across the San Ysidro border. After a short cab ride dropped me off at a nearby gas station, I followed the smokey cloud to a cart that serves one item only; Carne Asada tortas (sandwiches). I joined the small group of older men, who all appeared to be friends, in line for my breakfast. Steak was sizzling away over charcoal and friendly local cat lingered along side of the stand waiting for bits of meat to drop. The large messy steak sandwich on a freshly baked bun was the perfect start to my day.


Jalisco, just south of Blvd Agua Caliente. (map)
Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or whenever they run out of food.


I was admittedly very excited about Tacos Kokopelli. This large food trailer has gained a reputation for some of the best tacos in town, and definitely a "must do" on any street food tour. It's not often you see chef coats on street food carts, but you will at Tacos Kokopelli.  Here they seem to perfectly combine traditional ingredients with the the hipster taco vibe. I ordered both the Kraken (octopus) and Gringo en vacaciones (shrimp and queso) tacos. The Kraken taco was to this day, one of, if not the best taco I have ever eaten. They cook everything over a proper mesquite fire and offer homemade salsas. The guys working the cart were friendly, helpful and at least one of them spoke English, which helped with my broken Spanish issues...

The Kraken Taco (pulpo/octopus)
2 locations; 

Calle Ocampo, between 11th and Blvd. Agua Caliente.
Paseo Ensenada 2098. Playas de Tijuana.


I learned about this truck from one of my SoCal blogger colleagues, "Street Gourmet LA's" Bill Esparza. For the last 20 years, they have offered extremely fresh seafood items such as crab and grilled clam. I was hoping to get an order of the Cocteles de Jaiba (crab cocktail) but they did not have any fresh crab that day. So I opted for the seafood cocktail instead. It was served in a giant glass goblet, and unlike most American and Canadian food trucks, I just pulled up a stool to the side of the truck and was served right there. I couldn't help but to giggle to myself when noticing that the ladies working that day had a TV and satellite hooked up and were watching Telenovelas right there on the truck. They did their best to speak to me in their limited English, while I did the same with my Spanish. In the end, it all worked out.  The cocktail was so big, I had to get it in a take out container and struggled to finish it later that day along my walk back to the border.


Corner of 8th & Quintana Roo. Tijuana, B.C., Mexico

After spending the day eating at these carts and shopping at the Mercado Hidalgo (link), I wound my way through the streets and back to the border. Hoping to grab a quick snack of chicken necks at Kentucky Fried Buches, I was disappointed to find them closed at that time. Thankfully there is no shortage of street vendors to keep you well fed and hydrated along the path back to San Diego.  I grabbed a bag full of fresh churros for $1 (USD) and an ice cold horchata for the same price. 

Fresh churros being fried to order
I was sad to see the day end and already planning what to eat my next time around. Definitely looking to hook up with the Club Tengo Hambre crew sometimes next year as well as getting to know some of the beach side vendors in Ensenada and some local craft beers.

Gracias Tijuana, la comida era muy rica!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tijuana Day Trip: Mercado Hidalgo

Mercado Hidalgo
As mentioned in my previous post; Tijuana Day Trip: The Basics, I spent a majority of my time in TJ at the Mercado Hidalgo. This market is located at the corner of Boulevard General Rodolfo Sanchez Toboada and Juan Sarabia in the ZonaEste neighborhood.  I took a taxi from the border and paid about $10 (including tip), or it's about a 25 minute walk.  I would suggest at least walking one way so you get to see some of the city, and eat at a few street carts/trucks along the way!

I was seriously the only gringo at the mercado, it was awesome, and exactly what I was hoping for. Everybody addressed me in Spanish and I did my best to speak back to them in their language. I not once felt unsafe or unwelcome. The colours of the produce, spices and decorations for Dia de Los Muertos were unbelievable. I wish I could have stayed longer...and eaten more.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Dozens of handmade quesos, many unpasturized..which basically just means they're better than any of our cheeses.

Sugar skulls for sale for all your Dia de Los Muertos altar needs.

Dried peppers

Gorgeous Habaneros

 Dulces (sweets)...which I somehow forgot to buy.

Huitalacoche, or "corn smut", is a fungus that mutates corn kernels. It creates a great earthy mushroom type kernel that is great in pretty much everything.

 Cleaning nopales (cactus paddles). These are great pickled or grilled. And put in everything else.

Giant chicharrons. One of my favorite snacks.

 Inside the mercado, Kiko's Carnitas often serves tacos de sesos (brain tacos), but sadly today I had to "settle" for a regular carnita taco.

 Kiko's giant pile of carnitas.

 Salsas at one of the taco stands

 Beautiful squash flowers ready to be stuffed and fried.

Charcoal warming up for carne asada. If the taco shop you're buying from does not cook their carne asada on open coals, go elsewhere, it's not real asada!!

 So cheap, yet so delicious. Better than any $5 taco you've ever eaten.

 Huge Dia de los Muertos altar in the middle of the Mercado Hidalgo.

I bought several items at the market and had no problem bringing anything back across both the US and Canadian borders. Obviously, I only bought small amounts for "personal consumption" and claimed everything when questioned by guards.  Be honest, don't buy too much and you'll likely get to come home with all your foodie souveniers!

Next post...TJ street food carts!!