Cape Fear Foodie: Taco Tuesday You Say?
Aye! Toro features some inventive takes on Mexican classics, with items that you might not find anywhere else.
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - It’s not often that I get caught up in the “National _____ (insert day here)” craze, after all we have to sift through everything from “National Burnt Popcorn Day” to “National Eat Chewed Bubblegum Day.” There are somethings that just aren’t that appetizing, no matter the allure of a faux “national” holiday tag.
However there was zero chance I would sit out the wonderful pairing of Taco Tuesday and “National Margarita Day.” Never mind the hoopla surrounding the once-in-a-lifetime palindrome day, this was all about enjoying some of life’s most wonderous culinary delicacies.
Wherever you chose to celebrate is fine, everyone has their favorite spot, and even my choice changes with the wind. I’ve ventured to just about every Mexican restaurant in town, but one place I kept seeing on social media and kept hearing buzz about was the rather new locale by the Independence Mall, Aye! Toro.
This is the third location in North Carolina, and it boasts a bright, vibrant interior with a beautiful Dia De Los Muertos mural on the wall. Everything was very clean, and very busy, a good sign.
Sitting at the bar, we dove right into the “National Margarita Day” theme and snagged a Toro Margarita and a Mango Margarita.
I love a spicy margarita, and the Toro Margarita came with a smoky and spicy rimmed glass, with some dried chili peppers tossed in the mix. It doesn’t beat my homemade Jalapeno Margaritas, but it hit the spot.
The Mango Margarita was heavy on the mango, but was a perfect 1-2 punch for a margarita with more heat.
Call me simple, but no trip to a Mexican restaurant is complete without a bowl of queso dip. Give me table-side guacamole, the various chorizo or shrimp laden dips that you can come across, or a flight of various salsas, but that warm, melted queso with fresh tortilla chips is a must with an ice-cold cerveza or tequila-laden concoction.
As for our meal, we ordered the Sincronizada, which you don’t often see on most menus. Think a bigger, brawnier quesadilla that’s laid out more like a sandwich in between two tortillas, then cut into wedges. While this one had a decidedly more Tex-Mex flair (we opted for the steak filling as opposed to the traditional ham) it was delicious.
I went with the Quesabirria Tacos, which are truly a rare sighting. Few restaurants make them, but they have quickly become all the rage given viral videos on social media. Three homemade corn tortillas are filled with shredded beef barbacoa and melted cheese, with fresh onions and cilantro on top.
Then you’re given a bowl of the consomme, basically the broth the beef is cooked in, as a dipping sauce. It’s essentially the Mexican version of a French Dip sandwich and it’s au jus. This dish was probably Top 5 of any that I’ve had in 34 years at any Mexican restaurant. It’s that good, and just about every table at Aye! Toro had someone devouring their plate of Quesabirria Tacos.
Those were just two of the dozens of options on the menu, ranging from a list of traditional Mexican tacos, to elotes and lamb chops. Writing a food blog makes it difficult to make back to some of my favorite locations because I’m always on the search for something new, but I know that I’ll be back here and pronto...those Quesabirria Tacos are too good to stay away from for too long, even if it’s not Taco Tuesday or “National Margarita Day.”
IF YOU GO:
Aye! Toro is located at 3540 Oleander Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403
Do you recommend a restaurant? Or know of a best kept secret that you want the rest of the Cape Fear to know about? Shoot me an email at email@example.com and I would love to feature your selection. Cheers!
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