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El Charro is a humble but super traditional Mexican street food spot near Broadview and Danforth. There’s not much seating here to eat your quesadillas and huaraches hot and fresh, so opting for takeout is a more reliable choice in an environment this tiny.
Jai Lopez and his wife operate the place, working hard to keep up with the demand.
I’m pretty sure I count ten kinds of Jarritos ($3) in the fridge, including flavours like tamarind and strawberry.
The pambazo ($8.95) is a mighty and traditional mexican sandwich, made with traditional antojito bread dipped in spicy guajillo sauce.
They couldn’t technically find Mexican bread in Toronto, so they went with the closest option, Italian. It’s stuffed with chorizo and potatoes and toasted on the griddle, topped with lettuce, crema and green salsa.
A queca is a traditional quesadilla, not smushed flat and floppy like what you’d expect to receive at a bar, but light and crispy.
They make all their corn tortillas by hand here, and fry them on the griddle for the quecas. We try the tinga ($6.95), pulled chicken spiced with adobo, guajillo, chipotle and chili peppers for a deep flavour.
We also try a huarache ($8.95), also on a handmade corn tortilla but in an oblong shape laid out flat with our choice of protein, carne asada, layered on top with beans, salsa, crema and guac.
Accompany the food with refreshing homemade agua fresca ($1.25). I tried the hibiscus flavour, which really had that sweet, sugary hibiscus punch.
The other flavour when we visited was watermelon, and they change up these flavours and beverages regularly, offering other options like horchata.
You have to try the hot sauces here, which rotate out regularly. There’s always an extra spicy habanero sauce, and it’s super hot but very flavourful and light.
There’s ledge seating against the front window and a lower table, and the cash is towards the back, along with a small area where finishing touches can be put on dishes.