In December, Taco Cat moved from its shared space in Kitchen in the Market to a stall of its own (#118) just down the easterly wall of Midtown Global Market. The taco and burrito company used to be a delivery- and evenings-only proposition. Now a person craving a taco can get one (or ten) delivered by bicycle or over the counter for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. This is a very good thing. We have developed a pretty significant fixation on the Veggie Taco ($8 for 3), and find ourselves strolling up to the Taco Cat stall on a regular basis.
The Veggie taco is a marvel of texture and flavor: a double layer of corn tortilla filled to yawning with tender black beans, lush crema, crumbles of salty cotija cheese, and then the bright corn pico, radish, and cilantro. There are a few crunchy fried corn tortilla strips in there, too, and a charred salsa rojo that heats up the center of the tongue but doesn’t burn the lips off. But the thing that makes it super tasty, the thing we want to wallow in, is the rich smoky-sweetness below it all, pulling the taco together.
We asked Jordan Shiveley, Taco Cat’s executive chef, where that base note comes from. It’s the braising sauce for the beans, loosely described as smoked chipotle morita, ancho, guajillo, and Oaxacan pasilla chiles pureed together with roasted garlic, caramelized onions, and tamari sauce. “I really dislike the idea of a vegetarian or vegan special that’s just one of the meat tacos with the meat taken out,” he says. “The veggie ingredients should be just as thoughtful, if not more, as what we put into our meat tacos.”
That thoughtfulness comes through in a taco that is beautifully balanced — and satisfying. Three of these guys will do it.
And if we are completely at our taco-eating leisure, we like to pair it with a Belgian ale at Eastlake Brewery and Tavern (stall #119), where the folks don’t mind outside food and will sometimes even serenade us, singing over 1970s rock operas.
Tacos and burritos in Midtown Global Market
920 E Lake St #118, Minneapolis
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Yes
ENTREE RANGE: 7.99-9.99 ($2 deliver charge)
NOISE LEVEL: Moderate
10 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
Sunday brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
PARKING: Street and ramp