Tested by John Lucio and Mary Rose
Shortly after Tampicos had opened in Cornwall, my wife and I tried their food and were very happy. Ecstatic. We’ve been eating their food religiously ever since. This far from Mexico, finding exceptional Mexican food is not easy. I know. I’m from Texas, where delicious Mexican food is everywhere. But here, before discovering Tampicos, trying to find cuisine like this was like trying to find poutine in Texas. It is extremely unlikely that you will find poutine in Texas, let alone delicious poutine, the kind you savour. I’m just putting that out there to help convey how fortunate Cornwall is to be home to Tampicos. So, a few weeks ago, at the onset of Tampicos’ First Year Anniversary, I met with chef/owner, Ivan Contreras for an interview over his first year’s success.
He’s delighted with his success! All has been going very well. From Tampico Mexico, the “Taco Man”, as his customers call him, has been a resident of Canada for 6 years. Ivan, who has a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering, saw instead an opportunity here for authentic homemade Mexican food. “Canadians travel to Mexico and have experienced authentic Mexican food” he said, illustrating for me the opportunity he’d eagerly embraced to put on his plate. Against all odds, he quit his job at SCM (Walmart’s warehouse) to launch Tampicos. The “Taco Man” followed his dreams, and exudes the passion for it. As Dylan Jones would say: “Recipes don’t work unless you use your heart!”
His heart & soul is probably the secret ingredient to his success, I would say. But importing ingredients straight from Mexico makes it all possible, he informed me. Ahhhhh! Like the salsa de guajillo in his chicken and steak enchilladas–it comes from Mexico! Mmmmnnnn…. The ingredients are impeccably fresh, the cuisine made to order, and the prices are more than reasonable. Deliciously decadent, every meal is fresh and homemade. Even the flour tortillas are homemade! Service is very friendly, accommodating, polite and efficient. Tampicos is mainly for Take-out Delivery and/or Pick-up, but there is some seating usually available.
This past Tuesday, Ivan’s wife gave birth to a baby girl. Daddy of 2 girls and 2 boys, family man, successful restaurateur, the “Taco Man” has goals, and the vision to add more Tampicos locations to the city of Cornwall. Wow!
JOHN Mary Rose
Food ***** *****
Service ***** *****
Value ***** *****
Atmosphere ***** *****