As Confucius once said, "when one pairs street art, street food, and street sounds, it's bound to turn out well" and thank god for La Carnita who took that philosophy and ran with it. From pop-up shop to College St, La Carnita's been killing it every step of the way. They don't take reservations and wait times are longer than my math class but our resentment vanishes once we're finally at home in their dimly lit interior.
Front left to right: Pollo Frito ($4.75), Tostada Ceviche ($6.25)
By this point, the prolonged wait and unnecessary deprivation of mexican food has justified a look at their drinks menu. It's December, so we pay an homage to Vampire Weekend and Biggie and order their Horchata ($3.50) and Who Shot Ya? ($11). Both drinks are reminiscent of their inspired songs – the Horchata is light, sweet, and poetic. Who Shot Ya? is La Carnita's notoriously famous cocktail made with house-made hibiscus grenadine, ginger syrup, lemon juice, grapefruit rind, two ounces of Bulleit Bourbon and truly proceeds to give us what we need. It's simple and complex, sweet and spicy, and perfectly boozy to boot.
Left to right: Horchata ($3.50), Who Shot Ya? ($11)
Mexican Street Corn (2 for $8)
La Carnita must be avid students of Chinese philosophy because they take another page out of Confucius' book with "all the best foods are phallic shaped". This is purely based on our interaction with their Mexican Street Corn (2 pc, $8). Somehow, they've taken corn, covered it in mexican crema, queso, arbol, and ancho chilli powder, and elevated it. Eating Mexican Street Corn is as amazing as eating Mexican Street Corn.
Right: In Cod We Trust ($4.75)
There are only six tacos on their menu but choosing three is one of the hardest choices we've ever made. In Cod We Trust, Tostada de Ceviche, and Pollo Frito ($4.75 each) make the cut.
In Cod We Trust is easily our favourite – battered wild Atlantic cod, voltron sauce (the chef's own mixture of cumin, cinnamon, chilli purée, and tamari), lime crema, pickled red cabbage, green apple, and cilantro. All the flavours work harmoniously to create a balanced, fresh, and intense flavour – a theme that's carried through all their tacos. The Tostada de Ceviche is messy: swordfish, guacamole, coconut milk, habanero tomato, and cucumber piled high on a tostada. This isn't a major downfall though because let's be real: once you pick it up, you won't want to put it down, both for fear of it falling apart and of a sudden, overwhelming desire to consume it on the spot. Southern-style fried chicken finds home in the Pollo Frito, covered in peanut mole sauce, pickled green cabbage, and salsa fresca. These are tacos that make you forget their $5 price tag.
Left to right: Cookie Paleta ($4), Churros ($5)
Despite the fact that La Carnita's entire menu contains less than 15 items, a consistent problem of the night is the inability to make a choice... so we order two of their three available desserts: Churros ($5) and a Cookie Paleta ($4). The Churros are served with homemade cajeta and the two are truly a match made in heaven. Forget Kimye, we're going down with Churreta. The Paleta is just as good – the Latin American ice pop is covered in oreo crumbs and makes us want to try a few more flavours. We restrain, only because we know we'll be back so many times they'll know us by name. In fact, we can't imagine a better place to become a regular at.