Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cartel Street Food Bar

Hey guys! A while ago this Summer a bunch of us decided to go to Cartel Street Food Bar for some tacos (on special at 2$ on Tuesdays) and then karaoke downtown. Daniel was leaving for about two weeks on an Euro trip so it we used it as an excuse to go out.

We got there quite early because the place fills up fast. We arrived at 5:30pm and by 6pm people had to wait in line to get a spot. We decided to sit outside because the weather was nice and because I felt like spotting the cute hipsters walking by from times to times.

Our waiter explained us that, on Taco Tuesdays, we have to order a drink in order to get the regular tacos at 2$. The braised lamb tostadas are not included in the special. So we ordered drinks. They're quite affordable, between 7$ and 12$. And they were also good.

Most of us ordered tacos but two of us decided to also go for octopus tacos, which aren't on the menu. They're not part of the special either but apparently they were really good.

Below is a Baja fried fish taco. The only item in the taco menu that's not gluten free.

The pink stuff on the side is pickled onions, that you may add or not to the tacos. It was very simple, with some mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, and fresh avocado, but it was very good.

Here you have some avocado and plantain tacos. The plantain is fried and crushed (but not pureed). I have to admit it was hard to eat because the whole content was a bit mushy but with the sweetness of the plantain it was just heavenly.

Cartel is also known for featuring Peruvian cuisine on its menu. I don't know if you've heard of Chifa, but it's basically Chinese influenced Peruvian cuisine. There is a great amount of Asians living in Peru due to past wars and massive immigration, and over the years the fusions of cultures have created very interesting results in terms of creativity and style when it comes to food. Peru is, by the way, one of the most trending destinations for gastronomy (and is part of my bucket list obviously).

Daniel ordered some pulpo barbacoa (barbecued octopus). It's basically a grilled octopus tapa with kecap manis and aji panca bbq sauce.

Did Daniel like his octopus? He loved it.

Here are the beef brisket tacos. They're slightly different than the other ones as in they're closed and topped with black beans, tomato, and the regular toppings. I found they were "harder" to eat, as in when you bite in your taco it doesn't come off as a clean bite. The beef tends to slide off in filaments out of the taco as you pull your bite out. But that's quite normal honestly, this wouldn't happen if it were ground beef. But don't worry these were good too.

For my part I also decided to order some rollitos de pato (duck rolls). They're crispy spring rolls with duck and shiitake mushrooms filling. As you may know already, if there's duck on the menu I have to give it a try.

The presentation was pretty cute, with the swirl of sweet sauce. I found the spring rolls were pretty fat (well it's deep fried, what do I expect) but moist inside. The little problem is I was sort of disappointed in the duck. The only other time I had fully cooked duck was in that duck Shepherd's Pie at Le Saloon but it was different. I found it sort of dry, losing the mythical moist delicious savor of duck. Now that doesn't mean it wasn't good. But it could have been something else than duck if it was intended to have this texture.

Overall we had a great time and we found the food was good. The prices were also quite good, I don't recall anyone complaining about their bill when it was time to pay (my friends are pretty cheap). Our waiter was really cool, laid back, and yet professional. I think it's a very good spot to chill between friends or coworkers after a long day. Unless your date is very chill it might not be the right spot for something romantic. But it's perfect for being relaxed and getting to know each other.

So do I recommend Cartel Street Food Bar? I do! When the weather gets nice ask to be seated on the terrace and look at all the beautiful Mile-End hipsters walking on the street. Also, don't forget to ask the waiter if they have anything special, because sometimes the guys in the kitchen just come up with stuffs on the same day.

And so that's it for today. Until next time!

For more information on Cartel Street Food Bar : http://cartelstreetfood.com/

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