Taco Tuesday... the countdown begins

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Taco Tuesday… the countdown begins

2017 has officially seen Taco Tuesday becoming a thing, but after more plates of £1 tacos than you can fit in a very large room, we’re putting Taco Tuesday on the bench. That means the last Tuesday to get your first plate of tacos for just £1 is 24th October 2017.

To prove there’s no need to panic buy, and that Tuesdays will still be packed full of tasty, we’ve got new street food specials, a seasonal winter menu, an awesome week long Day of the Dead festival and a Christmas revolution all coming your way in the next few months.

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Taco Tuesdays means your first plate of tacos is just £1 at all of our restaurants, all day, for everyone on your table.

 

#TacoTuesday

*Your first plate of our 3 traditional street food tacos is £1 when you order at least one other dish from the street food or bigger food menu. Offer doesn’t apply to Baja tacos, Market treats or Specials. One £1 plate per person. Not available to takeaway. Available on Tuesdays until Tuesday 24th October 2017.

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The #YearOfTheTaco continues

For 2016, we’re celebrating our absolute favourite handheld flavour hit, the humble taco.

The tortillas-stuffed tasty continues a pace this summer, with a brand new selection of tacos inspired by the beaches of Baja joining our main menu, using a blended flour and corn tortilla to hold sweet & smoky ancho chilli marinated chicken thighs, and battered MSC cod.

Baja Tacos

These will soon be joined, from the 18th May, with a taco inspired by a visit to El Parnita in Mexico city earlier this year. The grilled British chorizo and cheese taco with melted sweet red onions is served with an avocado salsa and it’s hitting our street food specials menu soon. If you’re anything like us, you’ll remember the first day you eat this bad boy with the same fondness as your first toasted marshmallow. It’s flipping great.

Grilled chorizo and cheese taco

 

So what are you waiting for? These things aren’t gonna eat themselves. Get yourselves down to your local… Quick!

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TACOS AL PASTOR WHERE MEXICO MEETS THE MIDDLE EAST

If you’ve visited Mexico and whilst having a stroll… you, in amazement, spotted an enormous spinning skewer of meat roasting kebab-shop style, wonder no more. We’ve got the story behind what is probably the most popular – and some say most delicious – taco in Mexico… tacos al pastor.

In the 1930s, Lebanese immigrants arriving in Puebla, south central Mexico, were happily making their spit-grilled lamb shawarma, grinning from ear to ear. Until one day, a crafty Mexican decided to swap the meat over to pork and marinate it with his locally produced achiote paste (made from annatto seeds, oregano, cumin and other spices). The taco al pastor was born and the grins continued to grow. Nowadays, vertical “spinning tops” better known as trompos, cook the meat slowly with a rotisserie type flame.

tacosalpastor

The meat is topped with a fresh pineapple which the “taqueros” (taco bosses) slice along with the thinly carved, succulent pork into freshly made corn tortillas. These lush tacos are then sprinkled with chopped onion & coriander and served with a slice of lime for you to squeeze liberally (as Mexicans like to do). Tacos al pastor have fast become Mexico City’s most famous taco.

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As it evolved with the use of other chillies like guajillo, anchos and spices, legendary taquerias like El Fogoncito and El Tizoncito helped boost their popularity as taco parlours opened up around town, then expanded to the rest of the country and now the world.

So next time you visit Mexico watch out from early evening, as the trompos start rolling and tacos al pastor are served until early morning for those heading home after a night out. Yes, just like kebabs, but way tastier. Try them with the salsa “de la casa” and wash them down with your favourite Mexican beer. You won’t be sorry.

Watch out for trials of our own pastor grill being installed in Wahaca Charlotte Street as part of the Year of the Taco.

Photos by Gulliermo Villareal.

Love at first bite - Rene Redzepi

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Love at first bite – Rene Redzepi

During YEAR OF THE TACO, we will be bringing you various taco conversations with some of our friend musicians, chefs and artists, to find out what they are saying about the most mouthwatering of street food dishes.

Here’s how René Redzepi, head chef at two Michelin star restaurant Noma, recalls his first experience of real tacos in his introduction to Tacopedia.

I’ll never forget the first time I set off for Mexico many years ago. It was winter in Denmark, I was worn out from work, and I needed a beach. As I sat there on the long plane ride over, I couldn’t help but dread the fact that I was going to have to eat the food. You see, what we have here is a type of Tex-Mex, a tradition born in the U.S. that certainly has its rare pleasures. But imagine that variant being sent through a game of intercontinental Chinese whispers: what ends up here in Scandinavia is so far from its origins that it’s downright sad. I foolishly thought it would be the same in Mexico. “What the heck, you have your books & the beach,” I reassured myself. “Just live off fruit.” We landed fairly late in Mérida, at about 11:30 in the evening, and we were starving. I asked our host for something to eat. Stupid as I was, I requested pizza. He looked at me funny. I could almost hear him thinking “Stupid gringo.” We drove a good thirty minutes from the airport before stopping at a nondescript, overlit restaurant. There was outdoor seating, all covered in plastic and soft drink logos. “This is it,” he said as we pulled over.

“We’ll grab a bite here.” “Remember the beach, remember the beach,” I repeated like a mantra to myself as we sat down, but within an instant I forgot those words. Ice-cold beers arrived at our table in a flash, as our host signalled the kitchen to send us a round of tacos al pastor. As I stared down at the plate, the first thing I noticed was that the tortillas had a yellow hue to them that was so different from the white and dense variety I was used to finding in Denmark. The grilled pork was flaky and moist. There were fresh leaves of emerald-green coriander sprinkled on top, as well as some thin slices of pineapple. On the side, a little condiment of sour orange juice with habanero. “Put seven drops of that on your pineapple,” the host told me. I did, and folded the taco together. It was already levels above what I had experienced in Europe—the aroma, the very look of it. But then I sunk my teeth in. Immediately I felt the tenderness, the rich umami character of the meat. And the tortilla! It was sweet and smoky, with a gentle chew to it, like a good sourdough bread. Suddenly the spice from the habaneros hit me, kept in check by the sweet, succulent pineapple. That perfect bite made it a moment I’ll always remember, sitting on those plastic chairs in the tropical heat.

Feature taken from the current issue of Ola Magazine, which you can find at every Wahaca restaurant.

S.O.S. Save Our Spoons! The Mexican Spoon Amnesty Returns

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S.O.S. Save Our Spoons! The Mexican Spoon Amnesty Returns

In 5 years 25,000 of our specially designed Wahaca Spoons have mysteriously dessert-ed us and we want them back. So this January, the Mexican Spoon Amnesty returns offering our forgiveness in exchange for your spoon shaped apologies. In fact, we’d be so grateful we’ll also give you a free plate of tacos. No questions asked. Last year, we helped clear the conscience of hundreds of light-fingered cutlery rustlers and for them, redemption never tasted so good.

Good as Gold? Are you one of the few people never tempted to pocket a spoon? We salute you. You can help us combat cutlery crime by becoming an informant and could win a meal for 2. Just take a snap of your friend trying to escape with one of our spoons and post it on facebook.com/wahaca and the most creative photo each week will win. Offering the perfect opportunity to bring that spoon back.

Snap your pals and help us Combat Cutlery Crime

Tweet your support and get the latest scoop on twitter. #spoonamnesty.
Wahaca does not encourage theft of any kind. It’s very bad for your soul. Borrowing is forgivable though.

Competition time! Win tickets to come and see us at The Big Feastival

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Competition time! Win tickets to come and see us at The Big Feastival

It’s less than a month until we’ll be popping up at Clapham Common’s Big Feastival – A festival that’s raising money for charity, whilst you stuff your face with delicious food and dance around to a seriously sweet summer soundtrack.

We’re going to be serving up our festival sized pork and summer vegetable tacos to keep you revelling and judging by their appearance at last September’s Harvest at Jimmy’s festival, they will go down a storm.

The event is set to be a total blinder with acts such as Athlete, The Charlatans, Soul II Soul and The Cuban Brothers all playing throughout the weekend. The Wahaca Taco Stall will be amongst good company with great chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Giorgio Locatelli and Peter Gordon all whipping up their own treats. In fact it was these guys, along with our very own Tommi Miers who have been heading up the committee for this Feastival and helping to get all of the brilliant foodie partners signed up *Pats on the back for Tommi*.

And whilst you are having a good old time, you can be safe in the knowledge that the cash you’ve paid for your ticket and food is going to a good cause. The money raised will go to two very like-minded charities: The Princes Trust (a charity that we’ve worked with many times over the years) and The Jamie Oliver Foundation. They are going to be sharing the wealth, both using the money to maximum effect, meaning you can have an even bigger smile on your face, all weekend long.

If you fancy picking yourself up some tickets, then head over to the website www.bigfeastival.com where you’ll see that you can go for day tickets, or for the whole weekend, and include tokens to buy your food when you’re at the festival. Fun times.

Even more fun times – Competition time! We’ve got 1 pair of day tickets to give away! To enter, simply tell us which of the acts on the line up famously sang (and you know it’s going to be in your head for the rest of the day) “Back to life (However do you want me)” in 1989?

Just post the answer, in a random fashion, on our facebook wall and we’ll put you in the big prize draw. Feel free to include any descriptions of how hearing the song makes you feel, although this will purely be for our own enjoyment and will have little-to-no sway on the final winner. The tickets are for the day of your choice and include 5 tokens to eat at the various restaurnts on site. The competition closes on Wednesday 22nd June.

Good luck!

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Wahaca butchery day

We’re always looking for new ways to come up with recipes and to use different cuts of meat at Wahaca, so a couple of days ago Tommi invited all of our chefs over to her house for a day of butchery and recipe development.

Our lovely butcher brought along half a pig, along with a couple of more random cuts to see what we could come up with. It was brilliant to see all of the chefs’ minds whirring at the same time and the results were as tasty as you might imagine.

Dishes included Elki’s rather scary sounding pig head tortas, drowned in chipotle salsa (‘tortas ahogadas’ to you and me) and Leo’s slightly less Mexican, but no less delicious pork and herb sausages! There was also Mexican Pozole, chicken liver tacos and beef cheeks cooked in a red mole.

Are there any Mexican inspired dishes that you would love to see us try out for the Wahaca Menu? Or indeed that you’ve tried out yourselves and would like to share with the team? Don’t be shy.

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More menu testing …

We’ve just had our second round of menu testing for the new winter menu to launch in early October and I have been dreaming of some of the dishes since… below are a few of my favourite. 

Vegetable Tacos

Our new menu will be more seasonal than before and I am just loving the introduction of roasted squash to the Autumn Veg Tacos along with autumn greens, ancho chillies and  other goodies.

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Then as the weather gets colder we will introduce the winter greens and mushrooms – topped off with a little Feta which has a richer flavour. These will keep you happy and warm through the winter months…

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And the best of them all…

Tommi and our team of chefs created a new dish that we are really hoping to get on the menu as a main course. Our fish always has to be sourced from the best sources – and at the moment we still have a bit of work getting the prices down on this dish. It may not get on this menu but we are working hard at it! This dish has lemon sole goujons (from an MSC certified source) in tortillas served with salad, tomato salsa, chipotle crema with rice and Wahaca coleslaw on the side…

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We have a little more testing to do with some of the fish dishes as we experiment with grilled or baked options. We also aim to get as much MSC certified fish on our menu. We will update you on this shortly.