Address: 1308 Gladstone Ave (next to Aubergine)
Price: 3 for ~$11
Notes: Corn tacos & specials done Northern Mexican street-food style
Norte is the most recent addition to the explosion of taco trucks/little Mexican places in Victoria. Tucked into the former plant shop next to Aubergine Foods in Fernwood Square Norte is really more like a non-moveable food cart than anything else. The enterprising young couple behind the business started out selling taco shells in the public markets, slowly growing into a food cart in Vic West before opening up their more permanent space in Fernwood.
Their tiny taco stand is jam-packed, with just enough room to get in and order your food, but that's because the square footage is maximized for food production. The remainder of the space is taken up with the necessities of food consumption; a bar with a selection of fresh salsa lines the front of the kitchen area and a side bar for napkins and other toppings.
The menu change daily, but offers a selection of soft shell corn tacos filled with a variety of fillings and features BC meat. A side menu of beverages includes horchata and a selection of Phillip's sodas. These guys are doing a roaring trade at both lunch and dinner - in fact arriving after 6:00 PM may mean that many of the options rapidly become unavailable! I think they have been far surpassing their expectations for customers — I heard that their initial stock of propane lasted less than a week instead of the month of so they had anticipated!
Although they were briefly shut down by the kind of ridiculous bureaucracy that seems to plague city business ownership they have re-opened their doors to begin to accommodate the hungry villagers once again!
August 8, 2013
barbacoa, chicharon and nopalitos
Although it was barely 5:30 there were only three choices left on the menu (although we had just missed out on two of the toppings while we were contemplating our choices!). Although on my previous visit the prices had been lower the portions were also much smaller - in this case, three tacos was plenty of food! All three had well developed, subtle flavours. The barbacoa was the simplest with mostly the rich meat flavour shining through. The chicharon had more spice to it, but the pork flavour was still distinct and delicious. The nopalitos - cactus paddles - had a similar look and texture to green beans and were the mildest of all three choices.
Not realizing the portion sizes had increased, I also ordered a bowl of the frijoles on the side with pinto beans. The soup was incredibly filling, and we struggled to finish it between the two of us! It was very simply flavoured, but had the option of adding salsa, onions and fresh cilantro from their side bar to spice it up for the heat lovers like myself.
May 31, 2013
Chile Bomba, Chorizo & Papa Dorado
I convinced my coworker to work from the Fernwood coffee shop for the morning so that we could check out Norte (it didn't take much convincing!). Our choice for three tacos for lunch was just perfect (although as I noted above, the portion sizes have since increased; two would almost be enough for lunch depending on which ones!). The chile bomba was not as spicy as I was anticipating despite being a deep-fried chile and beans. The fact that the chile was stuffed with cheese made me drool; I could eat several of these (but probably shouldn't!). The chorizo also had a little bit of potato in it, and was nice and flavourful. The papa dorado was the simplest of all three, with just a hint of spice with the potato.
August 8, 2013
Despite it being the end of a long, hot day the owners were in great spirits, filling up the plates of the hungry dinner queue of people quickly and with plenty of smiles and warm greetings. They seemed happy to have gotten through their rough patch and back in business! We sat outside on the new set of chairs and table that have appeared, although it should be noted that seating is pretty limited!
May 31, 2013
They were pretty new to opening when we got there (both in general and for the day) and seemed to still be getting their feet under them, but were happy to help. Our food came up quite quickly, and we wandered away to the square to eat it, as their outdoor seating had not been installed yet (although as I noted above, this has since changed!).