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It’s been said there’s no good Mexican food in Vancouver. By who? Oh, me, everyone from the U.S. I’ve talked to here, etc.

Some folks, grouped under the label “Optimists” say that they’ve tried food in one dining establishment or another, and have found decent Mexican food.  I’ve taken those recommendations and have tried to find something I truly liked, but so far, nothing has truly impressed, and I’ve honestly gone so infrequently that true comparisons are difficult.

So this week, I’m trying something different.  I’m going to go have a wet Mexican burrito every day until I find one that’s truly good, or I give up.

* * *

Tonight, I started cheap, heading to El Rancho restaurant, a walk-up at Kingsway and Broadway.  To be quite honest, though my initial expectations were low, the menu itself, simple and direct, raised my hopes.

I was going to start with pupusas, and have an Inca Kola (both on the menu) but was informed that both were unavailable—well, it was Thanksgiving, and we were the only folks in the restaurant at 8 p.m. Not that there’s anything wrong with an empty restaurant on Monday in the rain—Susie and I read our books and enjoyed ourselves just fine.

What they did have was a burrito special, that looked like this:

The refried beans were not too thick and had a smokey quality.  The rice was firm, though a little too plump.  The tortilla was fresh, and the cheese was white, not yellow, though kind of skimpy.  The salad—who eats that at a Mexican restaurant.  Beh.  They would have put quac on top if I hadn’t asked for none.

So, how was the burrito itself? Not bad, not bad except for one thing.  The spice was OK, but what ruined it for me, though, was the meat.  The pork was cut up roast pork, not stewed pork, and it was really, really fatty, bordering on gristle. Thankfully, there was also too little of it.

The restaurant itself was functional but completely unimpressive.  It reminded me very much of the places I ate at in L.A. that were so delicious.  The giant TV behind me, blaring Spanish pop rock videos, added to the ambience, but not to the conversation.  The food was cheap—the burrito special was $10 and included a drink, which in my case was fresh squeezed pineapple juice.

They took only cash and debit, no credit cards, which you should note.

Overall, I give El Rancho a 5 out of 10, with credit to their simple atmosphere and good price—but it could have been much, much higher, if only they had decent meat.

El Rancho, 112 Kingsway and Broadway, (604) 874-1363

* * *

Tomorrow, I may try La Casita.  If you have suggestions for me to try, let me know.

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

 

 

 

 

 

La Casita is good, though I think it depends on what you order.

I'd recommend Dona Cata on Victoria...tasted authentic to me!

 

Posted by col
  at 12:03 am on Oct. 14, 2008

 

 

 

erin went on a taco quest a few years aqo and blogged about it at IDC; http://kitchen.industrialbrand.com/?s=mexican
there may be some overlap for you.

 

Posted by degan
  at 9:50 am on Oct. 14, 2008

 

 

 

Is Budgie Burritos on your to-try list?

 

Posted by sio
  at 9:57 am on Oct. 14, 2008

 

 

 

Dona Cata is already skedded for Wednesday.

Budgie Burritos is now officially on the list.

 

Posted by Travis Smith
  at 11:02 am on Oct. 14, 2008

 

 

 

I'm looking forward to seeing the results. I haven't found anything that can compare to the Mexican food in the US.

I've heard the best Mexican is found at some place in White Rock.

 

Posted by Jason Landry
  at 1:59 pm on Oct. 14, 2008

 

 

 

try taco shack on broadway (there's one in kits, too). they're really awesome, pretty much authentic. and this is coming from an american!

 

Posted by stephanie vacher
  at 5:45 pm on Oct. 14, 2008

 

 

 

Poor Susie. 5 days of Mexican food... in a row!?!

 

Posted by hermitdeb
  at 9:51 am on Oct. 15, 2008

 

 

 

Best Burrito?
By thecritic of Vancouver (269 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, July 5, 2010 - 3:11pm [Dine in]

Anytime I see a restaurant with a declaration like "best", I immediately assume that it is not the best and usually far from it. So I have driven past this place many times and never thought to stop and actually try the "best burrito". Well, I finally did with lowered expectations.

The place has a modest interior with a grass roof decoration and a mexican blanket on the wall. There is also a few tables on a street-side patio.

I ordered the chicken burrito. It comes with beans, rice, lettuce and your choice of salsa from mild to raging hot. I decided to go with green tomatillo which was medium spiciness. I took it to go.

The burrito was actually better than I expected. It was a little dry with not enough salsa but overall I did enjoy it though so I am giving it the benefit of the doubt on the food rating. Is it the best burrito in Vancouver? No, probably not.

 

Posted by torrents
  at 2:50 am on May. 30, 2011

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