OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: “Tacofino” On The Lookout For A Jesse Grasso Replacement

September 18, 2012 

Tacofino Commissary is located at 2327 East Hastings in the heart of Hastings-Sunrise | 778-870-6436 | Tacofino.com

The GOODS from Tacofino

Vancouver, BC | Tacofino Commissary is looking for new Sous Chef to fill some pretty big shoes. Size 11, in fact. Jesse Grasso is leaving us to take over a kitchen in Toronto. We are very sad to see him go but wishing him all the best in this awesome new persuit. That being said, now we need to find someone with enough passion and skill to work with our awesome kitchen crew to continue to make the food we are becoming known for. We have fun, we love food, we work hard and we hope you can join us. Email your resume to tacofinocantina@gmail.com or deliver it in person to 2327 E Hastings @ Nanaimo Thurs-Mon between 3 and 5. Ask for Chris or Jason.

INSTAVAN: Five Awesome Local Folks That You Should Follow On Instagram This Week

One of the more enjoyable means of procrastination in the Scout office these days has been tracking the best and most unique local users of Instagram. It’s been so much fun that we’ve decided to launch a new weekly photo column today in which we single out five accounts that we think you should check out, too. If you’d like to get our attention, make sure you’re following us and tag one of your shots of with #scoutmagazine. To start, we’re stoked to share the rather straightforward account of The Brave Bull, the little steakhouse on the corner of East Hastings and Clark. They only ever seem to use this facet of social media to post photos of raw meat, which makes it far and away one of the most appetizing (if hilariously one dimensional) food porn accounts out there. Check the next four after the jump… Read more

GOODS: Street Food Vendor “Cartel Taco” Has Joined The Growing Scout Community

We’ve invited one of the first of Vancouver’s new street food vendors, Cartel Taco, to join our GOODS section as a recommended company. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be publishing their news on our front page and hosting a page for them on our list of local and independent goodness. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support of our little website, and for their awesome tacos!

Psst! If you think your business would be a good fit for Scout, we want to know.

New “Cartel” Invades Georgia & Burrard With Korean Tacos…

by Andrew Morrison | Several months ago, Abigail’s Party owner James Iranzad (interview) teamed up with Jesse Grasso and Joel Watanabe (the two kitchen rulers at Chinatown’s Bao Bei) to create “Cartel”, a street cart serving Korean-style tacos.

They’d hoped to win one of the coveted 17 mobile food vendor slots given out in City Hall’s famously messed up pilot project lottery, but no such luck. With concept, brand and menu ready to go, they were forced to wait patiently until granted a location and an operational green light. That assent from on high came late yesterday, and today – their first day of trade – went down swimmingly on the southwest corner of Georgia and Burrard.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived during noon’s final prep was the smell. It was intoxicating. It caused hundreds of hungry passersby on their lunch break to slow down long enough to catch the quick zephyr wiffs. “What are you guys cooking?” was asked just about every ten seconds. You’d think “Korean tacos” would be the least expected answer imaginable, but no one was overheard replying “that’s crazy” or worse, “ew, gross“. The expressions on all the passing faces seemed to say “whatever it is, it smells freakin’ good”. It’s rare that a deadly fine aroma is also unfamiliar. Our brains trick us into thinking we know all smells, but when a new one comes along and it’s so rad that it makes your olfactory toot, it also quickens the pulse.

The tacos come in three guises: pork, beef and vegetarian. Both the beef and the pork are done in the Bulgogi style (a wet Korean marinade, literally “fire meat”). As mentioned, it’s very aromatic stuff. Both meats are local and organic, with the pork from Fraser Valley Farms and the beef from Two Rivers. Thinly shaven, they’re sizzled on a square flat-top before landing on corn tortillas (also local, from Burnaby’s El Comal). Once plated, they’re topped with cilantro, onion and a mild kimchi. The vegetarian version is with mushroom and tofu from Sunrise Organics, but I could give a damn about that (sorry guys).

The prices are reasonable. One double tortilla taco is $3. For two, it’s $5.75; three, $8; and four, $10. I had a pair, and I’m still thinking about them 10 hours later. I’ll talk about the taste in my column on five new and upcoming eateries in the next issue of the Westender. Some food porn above (video) and below (big photos) to tide you over until you bumrush the joint at lunch tomorrow… Read more

Cartel Taco


Web: www.carteltaco.ca
Email: eat@carteltaco.ca
Facebook: www.facebook.com/carteltaco
Twitter: www.twitter.com/carteltaco



Hamilton & Dunsmuir (effective May 2011)

The People That Make It Happen

James Iranzad – Partner (center)
Joel Watanabe – Chef/Partner (right)
Jesse Grasso – Chef/Partner (left)

About Cartel Taco

Cartel Taco is the first project by the Cartel Street Food Company, the rolling obsession of its three founders and their collective forty years of restaurant life. Cartel Taco specializes in hand-making Mexican fusion tacos, using quality meats prepared in the traditional Korean style of Bulgogi. Using grass-fed, free range beef ribeye from Pemberton Meadows Farm and free range pork from Fraser Valley Farms, our meat is marinated and braised before being barbecued and served quickly to order on freshly baked corn tortillas with finely chopped onion, cilantro & kimchi accompaniment. All Cartel ingredients are made or sourced locally, including our kimchi and hand-made tortillas (safe for gluten-free diets), and our amazing salsas are prepared from scratch daily in the Cartel kitchen. For the summer season we’ll also have an excellent fresh papaya salad with kimchi vinaigrette & toasted pumpkin seeds.



“…these are solid fusion tacos that are priced right…” – Alexandra Gill

“With Cartel Taco, it’s like Korea and Mexico had gone and eloped and found happiness.” – Mia Stainsby

“I was thrilled by the unique flavours and aromas. Almost as good are the prices” – Andrew Morrison