Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page
Tracker Pixel for Entry

Good news, folks. I will probably not smell of burrito the next time you see me, for my quest has arrived at a milestone goal of sorts.

Did I find the best wet burrito in Vancouver? Signs point to yes!

Topanga Cafe, probably named after the artist-y area in California and not the busty teen co-star of Boy Meets World, is located just a little ways from my old house.  sigh.

It features about 10 4-person tables, and a line up that took my friend and I 35 minutes to wait through tonight.

The menu is long enough and yet still simple, covering all the basic Mexican foods you might want: enchiladas, chili rellano, tacos, burritos, etc.  The smell was fantastic as we waited, though I will say this was the most uniformly Caucasian wait staff I’ve encountered so far. Goes to show, you shouldn’t judge a restaurant by its employees.

The default serving for the burrito here is with an avocado sauce, green and creamy. (I can’t tell you how it tastes because I don’t eat avocado, but I’m told it was delicious.)  If you order your burrito “wet,” it comes with a red sauce instead, and costs $4 more.  Why $4 more? Is the avocado sauce subsidized by Big Avocado? It’s a mystery to me (though it would explain why every damn sushi roll in this city comes with avocado in it).

But no matter.  I paid extra for “wet” and extra again for my “premium” filling, pork tenderloin, ultimately driving the cost up to about $18.  My companion’s was beef with an chili rellano to match it, and everything was amazing.  My pork, though not stewed, was still spicy and fragrant. His was yummy through and through, though a little small, he said.

The rice was simple; spiced without any mixed-in vegetable matter like peas.  Hooray! The beans, perfect—more pinto than black in this case, which is as it should be—and cheese melted over everything in sufficient but not ludicrous quantity.

I should disclose that the accompanying beers, Negro Modelo and Dos Equis, really, really made the burrito go down perfectly, and the chips were so thin and crunchy they could have been made of formica.  Accompanying the chips was just enough salsa if you weren’t greedy (I was), and it was none too spicy, which suited my mood and beer consumption.

Two more points of note: despite the fact that it’s pretty low key and casual, the dim lighting and the coziness of the place would make it a good date restaurant.  And, if you do have room for dessert, I highly recommend you order the chocolate cake.  It’s really rich, totally moist, and tastes pretty darn close to freshly home made.  Yes, it’s not Mexican. Neither are you, so just order it and enjoy it.

The only two downsides: the wait, but how can you criticize people for wanting a piece of this action, and the prices, but then again, where else you gonna go for good and cheap Mexican food? Ultimately, It’s not exactly what I wanted, but it satisfices wonderfully, so I give these burritos a 9/10. 

Now what? With an actual good burrito found, I’ll probably have a few other Mexican restaurants to test out and share, but without the same strange sense of urgency that’s been driving me this past week.  Thanks for following along.  In the future, maybe… who does the best Thai food? Naw, that’s crazy.

Topanga Cafe
2904 4th Avenue West
(604) 733-3713



 
 

 

Previous entry:
The Best Burrito in Vancouver - Day ???

Next entry:
Deodorant, sir?

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

Comments

 

 

 

 

 

I used to live across the street from Topanga and never tried their chocolate cake. A tragedy for sure. It even made the VanMag 101 list of local foods to try before you die.

The only criticism I've heard of Topanga is from a Texan friend who is happy there's a good "Mexi-Cali" place in town, but still a dearth of good "Tex-Mex." Who knew!

 

Posted by Jen
  at 7:58 am on Oct. 23, 2008

 

 

 

I think you should come to London and do the restaurant tour here. There are MANY excellent Mexican, Salvadorian and Spanish establishments. How weird is that?!

 

Posted by Kathryn
  at 8:44 pm on Nov. 26, 2008

 

 

 

thank god someone has undertaken this much needed quest/research and posted about it. i will be visiting topanga cafe soon...i had written it off because i knew they were famous for their cake. (not possible in my mind to simultaneously serve good cake and burritos). nevertheless - sounds like the best this ex-SF resident is going to find in Canadia.

 

Posted by CC
  at 6:02 pm on Jan. 27, 2009

Add a Comment

 

 

Name:


Email: (optional)


URL: (optional)


Submit the word you see below:


 

 

 

Your comment:


Remember my personal info


Email me about follow-ups


 

Syndication Links


Click here for the main
XML feed for this blog.



Column only



Side links only



Quotes only

 

I'm Listening To

see more at Last.fm

MetaBlogs

AboutBlogs

Clients

Humor

Journalism

Los Angeles

Mac

News

Personal 1

Personal 2

Photos

Politics

Other A-F

Other G-Q

Other R-Z

SocialNetworking

Tech 1

Tech 2

Travel

Vancouver 1

Vancouver 2

Vancouver 3

Vancouver 4

BizBlogs

Back to Main

 

Powered by
Expression Engine

 

Copyright 1995 - 2017 Nov 17

 

 

Want Column?

Enter your email address:


It will NEVER be shared.
Unsubscribe

You can scroll right easily by holding down the SHIFT key and using your scroll wheel. (Firefox users trying this will end up jumping to old Web pages until a) Firefox releases a fix, b) they change their settings like so.)