Thursday, March 4, 2021
March 4, 2021

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Food & Drink: Taco Spaceship lands at Fortside Brewing

Truck’s fusion tacos pair perfectly with locally made brews

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4 Photos
A beer flight at Fortside Brewing Company.
A beer flight at Fortside Brewing Company. (Rachel Pinsky/for The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The Taco Spaceship recently landed at Fortside Brewing Company. This vessel doesn’t resemble the one at the end of “Close Encounters.” It’s more of an allusion or a state of mind.

Nonetheless, it easily fulfills the mission of intergalactic peace through tortillas filled with delectable things.

At the spaceship’s grand opening, Fortside offered a special three-mini-taco and three-beer tasting ($9). The first mini taco had huli huli chicken with tangy bits of grilled summer fruit salsa, raw onion, cilantro and a sprinkling of creamy, crumbly cotija cheese drizzled in a light barbecue sauce. A crisp, golden saison called Kanaka Ale melded nicely with the sweet, tender chicken and tangy fruit.

Mini taco number two was a roasted corn and poblano taco with chayote squash topped with escabeche (Mexican spicy pickled vegetables) sprinkled with cotija cheese and cilantro paired with a light, crisp Float Your Boat Lager.

The final stop on this mini-taco world tour was a meaty Korean beef taco with pickled cabbage and chili aioli paired with Fortside’s Future Gold Medal Winning IPA. Anyone who has sipped an Orange Whip IPA knows that Fortside can brew a luscious and obsession-worthy IPA. This new IPA is gold-medal ready and plays nice with tacos.

The thin, tender tortillas on all these tacos were stuffed to maximum capacity with a fresh, creative mixing of toppings. I’ve ranted against poorly executed fusion tacos in the past (yes, I mean you banh mi taco at Daily Catch), because it’s often a stunt, an attempt to follow a trend set elsewhere. These tacos show why fusion tacos became a thing. They’re a harmonious melding of unexpected flavors.

On a second visit, the fillings offered were spicy chorizo, huli huli chicken and Cajun-seasoned cauliflower. I ordered a spicy chorizo taco, a cajun-seasoned cauliflower taco and a quesadilla with the huli huli chicken.

Again, the huli huli chicken was a winner — tender, sweet, juicy. For the quesadillas, nice-sized chunks of chicken were placed into fresh tortillas with a sprinkling of cheese, grilled and cut into small triangles. The edges of the quesadillas had lacy frico along the edges, with spicy mayo and some pico de gallo on the side for dipping.

The chorizo taco was nice, but the meat was a bit bland. The cauliflower in the Cajun-seasoned cauliflower taco was showered with a mix of tongue-tingling spices and had a meaty texture. The zesty pico de gallo and fiery creaminess of the Cajun crema gave this vegetarian taco richness and complexity. I washed down the tacos and quesadilla with a fresh-hop pale ale called Straight Outta Yakima.

Nichole Davidson, the chef (or taco-naut) slinging tacos through the window of the truck, explained how she became the captain of this ship.

“I have worked closely in the craft beer community for the last couple of years,” she said, adding that Fortside has always been a favorite. “I was invited to come and work with them.”

Davidson’s taco toppings are the result of weekly meetings with the folks at Fortside Brewing.

“I most certainly don’t do this alone,” she said. “We meet every week and talk about the Taco Spaceship, upcoming events and, most importantly, the menu. A lot of ideas come from those meetings. Some ideas come from customer suggestions. Sometimes inspiration can come from seeing how our favorite meals could go into a taco. It’s all very creative and very fun!”

After a cool pint of beer and a plate full of tacos, a Taco Spaceship begins to make a lot of sense.


Rachel Pinsky can be emailed at couveeats@gmail.com. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @couveeats.

If You Go

What: Taco Spaceship.

Where: 2200 N.E. Andresen Road, Suite B, Vancouver.

Hours: 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 2 to 8 p.m. Saturdays; 3 to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Contact: 360-524-4692; www.facebook.com/tacospaceship

Health score: Taco Spaceship has received a pre-opening inspection and is scheduled for a routine inspection in the near future. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.

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