FFWD REW

Cody Willis and Caballo de Misterioso Taco or No Taco crew

So what’s the event on December 23rd?

Cody: So basically this is round No. 3 of our Taco or No Taco pop-ups that we started doing. So pop-up taquerias that we started at Taste on First Street. This is the third installation and we’re hosting it at the No. 1 Legion. We’re having four high-flying luchadore wrestling matches all through the original Stampede wrestlers — they’ve trained a set of luchadores so they have their own identities and personalities and they’re actually really funny and seem like some interesting dudes that will be wrestling. So we’re going to be doing that and serving a bunch of tacos and a couple of Mexican street food items — stuff that’s going to be on the menu at Native Tongues the taqueria that we’re opening — serving a bunch of tequila and brown liquor and cheap beer.

What were the other two pop-ups like? This is obviously the big event.

Cody: The idea behind Taco or No Taco is that we opened at six started selling tacos and we were just open until we ran out of tacos. So it was “Taco” on Twitter and on our website when we opened and it was “No Taco” on Twitter and our website when we ran out. So that’s where that whole idea came from. They were pretty wild. Both nights we sold out of tacos in three or four hours we had huge turnouts and packed Taste. The first night we had a lineup out the door waiting for people to come in right at six o’clock.

And it was all through social media?

Cody: All social media. We made a little website that we put out. At the event we pumped old grimey ’90s hip-hop really loud and it was awesome. People loved it. Served a bunch of brown liquor and margaritas and some Mezcal cocktails. My brother who’s one of the owners of Vine Arts did all the bartending which was funny. He’s never bartended before and he was terrible. He was sweating and breaking stuff but he kept up. We put out 150 margaritas. The nights were super fun. It kind of pushed us to go forward with the restaurant but also we realized we have to step it up a notch. We were kind of messing around a bit with the tacos as well. We did an oyster po’ boy taco — smoked and then crispy fried oysters with a micro slaw and a green goddess dressing that we made. It was awesome. Then we did a tongue-in-cheek taco. So we did braised beef cheek with crispy fried duck tongues. We kind of treated the duck tongues like chicharróns [fried pork rinds] so we cooked them and pulled out the cartilage and partially dehydrated them and fried them so they got all gnarly and crispy like chicharróns.

So there’s obviously going to be tacos wrestling booze music. Will there be bands playing?

Cody: There’s not going to be bands. A friend of mine DJ Tokyo his name’s Richard Freeman he’s going to be DJing and spinning a bunch of old hip-hop. He’s got a pretty amazing set lined up during the matches so he’s going to be throwing down some awesome Latin music rolling with the theme of the wrestling when that’s going down. It’s going to be about a two-hour show. There’s an amazing storyline planned out. It’s going to be that classic super cheesy phoney sort of WWE style.

Caballo who are you going to be fighting?

Caballo: We’ll see.

Do you have any grudges?

Cody: Doctor Ferocious but that’s back in Mexico.

How did you get involved in this?

Caballo: I’ll let Cody do the talking.

Cody: I told you he’s shy. Ever since the incident.

What’s the incident?

Cody: Well he held about six titles in Mexico. He was kind of a big deal.

Caitlin Best (not pictured): He was a pretty big deal in Mexico City back in the day. He’s got about six championship belts on him and his nemesis Doctor Ferocious took him down in a knockout title in ’08. That was kind of embarrassing for him. He lost his fans he lost everything he lost Selma Hayek. It all went downhill from there. He’s kind of like Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler if you will.

Cody: Now he’s making a comeback in Canada. He couldn’t stand to face his fans anymore so he came to Canada.

Caitlin: When the guys from Taco or No Taco were in Mexico this summer the story is that they found him and brought him back thinking he was the perfect person to represent the business.

Obviously this is all for the restaurant that you want to open?

Cody: Well kind of. The Taco or No Taco started as its own thing. When I first came back from culinary school we did a pop-up but it was very Nordic driven. We did 13 courses and it was all paired with wine. We did it at Taste and it was a lot of work. It was a lot of fun I really like that style of food and cooking but it was just too much work. We wanted to do something else. I was talking to Brendan from Taste and I was like “Man I think we should just do an awesome taco pop-up. Just sell tacos blast hip-hop we’ll sell two types of beer margaritas bourbon everything’s five bucks.” It just took off from there. So this is still kind of its own thing but obviously there’s a restaurant that’s spawned from the Taco or No Taco events and from their popularity. Also I love Mexican food I love tacos. I could eat tacos all day every day.

Do you know where the restaurant’s going to be?

Cody: It’s going to be in Victoria Park. We’re still negotiating the lease but if everything goes well it will be just around the corner [from Vine Arts on First Street].

Where does the name come from?

Cody: Native Tongues originally for me is Tribe Called Quest De La Soul and the Jungle Brothers together are the Native Tongues. Also when we were talking about design elements and things of that nature you see a lot of luchadores and a lot of religious connotations in design in taquerias in Canada and the U.S. and we wanted to do something different. So we wanted to do more of an Aztec pre-Columbus Mexican sort of style design. So that sort of fit in with that. Also the pre-Columbus Mexicans were the first people who cultivated maize corn avocado cacao vanilla — all these foods that make up the staples of Mexican cuisine the food that we’re doing. We’re using these ingredients to speak the native tongues of these people through food. I’ve always loved the name and I’m a huge hip-hop fan.

Are there going to be more of these pop-events or big crazy luchadore events?

Cody: Definitely.

Caitlin: There might even be one for the grand opening of the restaurant.

Learn more at tacoornotaco.com

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