When I first heard the name Taco Farm, I didn’t have the highest expectations. Picturing a disappointing fast-food joint lit by fluorescent lights, it was a pleasant surprise when I saw the stylish establishment decked out in trendy street art and Spanish tiles. It also helped that I was given a complimentary bowl of warm nachos with salsa as soon as I sat down. It was as if they knew I was coming.
Generously seasoned and with the thickness of a fortune cookie, the nachos were gone in a few bites. Cutting our losses, tacos were ordered: the smoked pork belly and the camarón, along with the famous fried chicken and a bowl of feature calamari.
When our calamari arrived with a peculiar green appearance, all sense of dread was lost as soon as I bit into it. Encased in a light breading that still retained a definite richness, the brilliantly cooked squid shone through as the parmesan, pine nuts, and arugula melded together in perfect harmony.
It was the perfect precursor to our dinner, and if this was just the beginning, I couldn’t wait for the rest.
Service was undoubtedly fantastic, as the fried chicken arrived almost immediately after we’d finished the calamari. Yet another flavour explosion, the three-piece chicken meal that was glazed in tequila honey proved to be very tender, well-cooked on the inside with a delectably crispy skin on the outside. However, the unnecessary addition of honey made the chicken skin a bit too candied for my liking, throwing me off with sweetness as it cried for more lime and black pepper.
The tacos, although satisfying, were a let-down from the high of the calamari. The smoked pork belly taco was indeed “full fat” and sensuously so, with more than enough toppings, and the camarón was as well (with Labrador shrimp, creamy chipotle sauce, and avocado). However, the lack of flavour didn’t make the tacos particularly memorable.
Their value was also debatable seeing that it was $4 for something only slightly bigger than the palm of my hand.
Finally, in the dining aftermath, a $2 churro was in order. For its price, this churro went above and beyond its call of duty, being deliciously crispy on the outside yet buttery on the inside. It proved fantastic to share (or not) for $2, and its true fault was its greasiness — quickly forgiven as I dipped it into its companion, a spiced dark chocolate sauce that was layered in intensity.
Taco Farm, although a delicious visit, is not exactly friendly for the student budget. Three tiny tacos are required to maybe fill you up, and at $12 without tax, it’s hardly a steal. However, the venue itself is perfect for a first date (and a few more after that), and what it lacks in value, Taco Farm strives for in flavour, fresh ingredients, and its sensibility of quality over quantity. Until next time, I’m just going to keep dreaming about that calamari.