What’s on the takeout menu at Tacos 101, the much-missed taqueria’s new Kensington Market counter

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What’s on the takeout menu at Tacos 101, the much-missed taqueria’s new Kensington Market counter

Name: Tacos 101
Contact: 178 Baldwin St., @tacos101_to
Neighbourhood: Kensington Market
Chef and owner: Julio Campos
Outdoor seating: None
Covid-19 safety measures: Strict mask policy for staff and patrons, frequent sanitization, limited capacity indoors
Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

Three years after being kicked out by a condo development downtown, Tacos 101 is back with a fresh Kensington Market storefront and (almost) the same menu. “This is a Mexican street-style taqueria,” says chef and owner Julio Campos. “It’s all about quick, delicious, healthy food.” The first thing you’ll see behind the counter is pork shoulder, hypnotically spinning on a spit as it slow-roasts while wearing a hat of onion and pineapple—that’s for the al pastor taco, the spot’s most-popular menu item. Tamales, taquitos, birria and sides like freshly baked tortilla chips served with house-made salsa or guacamole are also available. Soon to come: a few varieties of chilaquiles (corn tortillas fried with all kinds of good stuff) and moletes (an open-faced sandwich) for breakfast.

The most popular taco here is the al pastor ($6), with slow-roasted pork shoulder, guacamole, juicy pineapple, onion and cilantro. A heady mix of spices and Mexican chiles makes this a standout.

 

Here we have the pescado ($7) in which fluffy, deep-fried battered cod meets house pico de gallo, mango, cabbage, chipotle aïoli and green tomatillo salsa. (Pictured with Boing! pink guava juice.)

 

Chef Campos’ Michoacán-style carnitas are slow-cooked in a massive copper pot with oranges and spices. He serves them with zingy pico de gallo and guacamole.

 

A birria taco, pictured here with a drizzle of consomé, crisping up on the flat top. $5 for the taco, $6 with consomé, and $12 with a bowl of Mexican ramen.

 

For a noodle/taco extravaganza, you can opt to get your birria taco with a bowl of extra spicy Mexican-style ramen from Tapatio (yes, the hot sauce brand). $12.

 

All the makings of a deluxe taco fiesta in one shot. Campos is wary of over-salted tortilla chips, choosing to serve his unseasoned to let the guacamole or pico de gallo they’re served with speak for itself. Campos also makes house salsa in three levels of spice: green, morita (pictured here) and fiery Diabla.

 

Destined for tacos al pastor, pork shoulder is slow-roasted rotisserie-style with cumin, guajillo and achiote peppers, and other (top-secret) spices. It’s crowned with a juicy pineapple and scorched onion to give the meat extra flavour while it cooks.
The drinks

Aguas frescas, like creamy horchata or sweet hibiscus, are a house specialty. There’s also a full spectrum of Jarritos, the beloved Mexican flavoured soda; Mexican Coca Cola, which trades high-fructose corn syrup for cane sugar; and a few other imported pops and fruit juices.

Here we have some aguas frescas—non-alcoholic drinks made with fresh fruit or grain. Left to right: refreshing watermelon, cinnamon-y horchata, and herbaceous Jamaica (hibiscus). $5 for a small, $7 for a large (pictured here).

 

A rainbow of Jarritos, one of Mexico’s most popular varieties of soda. Many of the flavours—like the tangy tamarind, pictured here on the far left—are made with real fruit extracts.

 

Tell us you’re not thirsty now.
The space

When restrictions loosen, there will be limited indoor seating available, but the space is mostly made for takeout. With neon decals, oversized inflatable Jarrito bottles and a colourful mural depicting lucha libre wrestlers, Tacos 101 is a feast for the eyes, too. Fruta Libre—the taqueria’s sister business, which specializes in Mexican street corn, Tajin-spiced fruit and other snacks—runs out of the same location.

Chef Julio Campos, taking a much-deserved drink break.

 

The lesser-known sixth love language.