One of our personal FLAVORite cuisines is Mexican. Being San Diego natives and so very close to the border, you could say that we are corn tortilla aficionados and spicy salsa lovers from way back. But the heart of the matter is that we’re just spoiled. Crispy rolled tacos, bountiful smoked meat burritos, fresh and spicy guacamole and homemade chips… all day, errrrrryday if we want. And we do. As we’ve been raised on veritable mother’s masa, we really aren’t quite sure who wouldn't want to munch on superb Mexican flavors any time of the day. But if you live in snowy Canada, maybe said tacos aren’t as readily available. until now.
This week’s #BrunchBucketList goes to a corn-tortilla-making cantina so good it’ll make you cry in Calgary, Canada where every day is Taco Tuesday. Ole!
It seems Calgary has undertaken a bit of a foodie revolution in the past few years and fast-casual dining is now at the forefront, for real. When this new, beautiful restaurant opened up last June, chock full of rustic vibes, homemade tortillas, fresh tacos served family-style, doughnuts AND a take-out window – it almost seemed to good to be true. Tacos for brunch?! YES PLEASE.
Helmed by owner Cody Willis, Native Tongues Taqueria opened in June to rave reviews. Rustic, relevant and modern, open concept meets Mexican cocina-chic. What does that mean? Think warm tortillas made fresh by hand (yes, they grind the corn, form the dough and press it by hand every day) giving you all the “hole-in-the-wall” food feels but with a super cool setting created by interior designer Amanda Hamilton and award-winning mixologists.
Mexican Brunch. Ole!
Settle in for the Canadian version of a tequila sunrise (or sunset) and expect bustling, loud and festive as folks get familiar around communal and high-top tables. Ivory and indigo walls are awash with found paintings and objects from trips to Mexico while they boast a unique & undone effect, giving the entirety of the interior a time-honored feel. Patterned tiles, macrame plant hangers and turquoise chairs are a bright finish and round-out the interior, making any angle utterly Insta-worthy.
Calgary’s not exactly known for an abundance of tasty taquerias, so you can imagine the hype and excitement swirling around this special spot. The best part? It’s completely lived up to it’s own hype.
Open for brunch with traditional breakfast Mexican foods 11:30am-3:00pm on the weekend. It’s a beautiful marriage between high, functional design details and delicious, homemade Mexican flavors with soul.
Corn Tortilla Aficianados Rejoice
Need more reasons Native Tongues will speak to you in a language you’ll understand? They bring in heirloom, non-GMO single-source corn from Mexico as the basis for their masa – a dough made from ground corn and a slaked line and water solution. The finished product takes two days to make and is molded into antojitos like tacos and tamales. It gives the tortillas an “earthy, nutty flavor” which is a sweetly perfect balance between the fillings which run the gamut from traditional (beef tongue) to the modern – braised octopus. All served family-style and in abundance.
The Mexican Brunch Menu has our mouths watering as we type this very sentence, so what would we choose to munch on alongside our coffee? We'll take one order of the 'ENFRIJOLADAS' with quesadillas, frijoles, crema, queso and white onions. We would also like to place an order of the 'CHILAQUILES ROJOS' with tortilla chips, hot salsa roja, crema, queso, cilantro and fried egg.
Whoops, we forgot to order tacos! Brunching here without tacos is a sin, so we will also throw in the 'HONGOS TACOS' that come with locally cultivated mushrooms, kale, cream, queso fresco and cilantro. Family-style brunch feast anyone?
Don't Mind If I Donos
They also serve up sweet specials like donos, original glazed donuts made in house daily. You may find chocolate dipped with plaintain, coconut and cocoa nib granola donos one day and vanilla glazed the next. There are limited quantities made each day so the early bird gets the dono!
Wash your donos down with the infamous Atole Agua Fresca - made from house nixtamalized, non-GMO landrace maize, lightly sweetened and flavoured with canela and fresh vanilla. Say that five times fast.
To Drink Or Not To Drink (Is That A Real Question?)
Brunches are often best with mimosas, but at Native Tongues they step up the brunch game with Mezcal. The hand-crafted cocktail program is centered around the Spirit of Oaxaca. It is a very unique and distinct spirit, sometimes smokey, made from a number of pieces of wild agave, pit roasted, crushed and fermented the old fashioned way. Native Tongues "Bar Titan," Samantha Casuga, has built an amazing selection of signature cocktails. You are eating tacos for brunch after all, so why not try the Mezcalgarita? Pelotón de la Muerte Mezcal, cointreau and lime in a delicously large glass. Don't forget the herb salt rim! Salud y Dixeebe!
Choosing to avoid the necatar of the gods doesn't mean you're out of luck. Native Tongues has a wide array of refreshing, non-alcoholic drinks that are sure to quench your thirst. Ranging from classic sugar-cane Mexican Colas, to house made Aguas Frescas - fresh juices and flavoured waters that rotate daily.
Proving once and for all, the universal human language we all converse in is food - and these bright, vibrant flavors will be a taste treat for your tastebuds at this modern tacqueria steeped in serious Mexican soul. Now get out and grab your Mexican brunch already!
Design:Amanda Hamilton| Photos: Native Tongues & Janis Nicolay