Heritage Flea Market
7640 Blackfoot Trail SE
Not your average Mexican joint, El Mariachi, is located in the very interesting, and strange smelling Heritage Flea Market. After seeing this post, from a wonderful Calgary food writer, I knew that if Sarah and I were in the area, I would make a visit to this little restaurant possible. So with a quick stop at the giant box store shopping center near by, we took the opportunity.
Having never visited the Market, even when I was working at the nearby IKEA, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. The interior is basically a giant garage sale. Vendors are assigned (I imagine) a booth, and decorate it as they wish. Some are decent, some are down right depressing, but the magic isn’t with the vendors, it’s in the food. With two Colombian and one Mexican restaurants, I was in heaven.
I should have made a complete go around before deciding what to order, but when the first establishment I saw (D’L Valle) was offering a Colombian shrimp ceviche, I jumped. Full of plump, tasty shrimp, this little bowl was a good way to start our walk-thru. The cilantro and onion helped to mask the smell of the area, and we could have easily conquered a larger offering.
Not more than 100 feet away, we discovered El Mariachi. With Sarah game for whatever, I went to town and started ordering every type of taco they had. Unfortunately a few were not available when we came, same fate with the seafood soup, but they did have; lengua (tongue), carne asada, carnitas, al pastor, and tinga.
The taco’s were amazing, and as you can tell, not your standard fast food variety. Properly sized corn tortillas are topped with meat, onion, cilantro and that’s it. No sour cream or layer of cheese. No sir, not here. There is a small shelf area with sliced radish, pico, and a few hot sauces so you can garnish accordingly. As we went devoured our food, the soft, wet meats went to prove yet once again why they should double wrap the tacos. Sloppy taco drippings and all, we decided; the tinga was easily the spiciest, the asada carried a beefy steak flavour, the carnita had great depth, the lengua was rather bland (but smooth and delicious), and the al pastor was heavenly with the strip of pineapple offering a bit of sweet in every bite.
If things are true, this little shop might not be around long. So even with the $3/taco price tag, which adds up quick when you are eating 4 or 5 a person, make your way down and get in on this piece of awesomeness in Calgary.