Finishing off nearly three months of restrictions by living large
By Steven Sandor | November 30, 2023
It’s over. It’s finally over. I have just wrapped up week 12 of my soft-food diet. The sound you hear (in your mind, at least), is me devouring a bag of chips. Crunch. Crunch. My gums are healed.
This week, I made my first visit to Marlo, the new taco spot in Old Strathcona, located where Pip used to be before it crossed the street. The menu is small, and that’s a good thing. Feels like this is a spot where the focus is one doing a few things well, rather than trying to do 50 things kinda OK.
Because I was in the mood to celebrate, I perused the cocktail list. While the tequila-heavy drinks were tempting, I knew I had to get back to work later. So, I went with the Sonora, which takes the gin and soda, adds coriander liqueur, plus grapefruit and agave. It’s a refreshing drink, with lots of tart pop from the grapefruit. Simple, but totally enjoyable.
Then came the tacos. I was told by the server that “two or three” made for a big meal. She was not kidding. The tacos that Marlo serves are sandwich-sized. I got a Birria and the Al Pastor.
In each case, the tortilla was coated in fried cheese. The Al Pastor married smoked pork with pineapple and onions, and went so, so well with smoky red house made salsa served on the side. (You have the choice of three salsas, so you don’t have to be married to what I’m suggesting, here.) The stewed pork was tender, rich and might have made for the best Al Pastor taco I’ve had in the city so far. Really, it’s not often when I will write that the pork taco was the star of the show, but in Marlo’s case, the smoked pork recipe must be the result of some sort of wicked sorcery.
Judging from some of the new Mexican spots that have opened in Edmonton over the last couple of years, the city is falling in love with birria tacos. And Marlo’s take on it is solid. Braised beef and fried cheese, served with a consomme for dipping, which carries a lot of onion flavour. I also heaped on some of the mild green salsa, which added a great peppery note to it all.