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Mexican in Vancouver


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We went to Chilo's yesterday.

We walked in and I felt I was in the right place for down-to-earth Mexican. We got quite a few stares for being asian in a room packed full of Mexicans. We sat down and 'mom' began asking us in spanish what we wanted. "Uhh...dos tacos uhh..pork? pour favour?"

OMG it was hilarious. Actually 'mom' got 'dad' who spoke english but he refused to speak it unless absoutely necessary "you have to practice your spanish". Let me tell you, speaking broken spanish from a 2 hour course at a resort on the Yucutan in front of what seemed like a room full of locals from Mexico City was intruiging :biggrin:

Wonderful people, simply the best Quessadilla I've ever had. Hands down. I'm going back and ordering like three of those next time. The beef and pork tacos were really good too. One of us ordered a soupa as well and it was very nice. You could taste the marrow fat mmmm.

I love the place. The owners are so fun, even their daughter was so talkative and social (in english thank goodness).

"Quessadilla est muay bueno"

"de nada"

God I had no idea what I was saying.

There is actually a taco place about 3 doors down but it didn't look as busy. We each got a Chili business card - cool little logo.

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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OMFG! i went to dona cata today. the place was full when i got there around 1pm. mind you, there's only 4 tables in the whole place. i was greeted by this sight:

gallery_24789_3640_824.jpg

i don't even remember seeing this many salsas in mexico! dr0000l! so i ordered an al pastor and a carnitas:

gallery_24789_3640_80024.jpg

i tried avocado salsa on the carnitas and mexicana salsa on the al pastor. there was a lot of meat in the carnitas :biggrin: i was so satisfied, i did something out-of-character for me...i stopped at 2 tacos. the al pastor tasted good too, but then i'm not an expert on the varieties of taco fillings, so i don't know if it was a good al pastor or an average al pastor...all i know is that it all tasted pretty damn good for my first meal of the day!

the place was sparkling clean and very comfortable (sometimes i feel slightly icky at chilos). all tacos were $1.25. it seems to be run by these 2 young people, a guy and a girl. they were very nice.

here's pics of the menu to whet your appetite!

gallery_24789_3640_57713.jpg

gallery_24789_3640_77314.jpg

...and just so there's no confusion a la chilos:

gallery_24789_3640_75828.jpg

happy eating!

album of the moment: Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling - 2008
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Mmm, skirt tacos...

Forgive my ignorance, but is skirt steak the cut used for "carne asada"?

Si, senor (or is that BC, Senor?) - skirt (or flank) steak is generally used for carne asada.

Memo, I don't know where you've eaten carne asada, but here in Mexico (where I have lived for the last 25 years), the cut used for carne asada is usually peinecillo.

Skirt steak is normally used for arrachera or tampiqueña.

I've yet to see a flank steak in Mexico.

Both Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless suggest using skirt/flank steak for carne assada.

In Oaxaca, for example, noone knows what peinecillo is.

Thanks for setting this straight. I now realize what I've been eating - in Vancouver, at least - is chupacabra!

Memo, maybe tomorrow, I think, perhaps, yes, tomorrow...

Ríate y el mundo ríe contigo. Ronques y duermes solito.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.

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Thanks for setting this straight.  I now realize what I've been eating - in Vancouver, at least - is chupacabra!

Memo, maybe tomorrow, I think, perhaps, yes, tomorrow...

But Memo, for a real treat you should see the supersized sushi we've been importing from Spain.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/08/13/...ain306253.shtml

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Just had dona cata tonight and it's easily my favourite place for tacos now.

Why? It's cheap, it's good, they have a menu and their hours are clearly posted.

Their selection of salsas was excellent, the mexican and avocado salsas being particularly notable. I could not get enough of the avocado salsa and wanted to slurp it from the communal bowl. The carnitas were excellent, but I didn't love the steak as much (though I rarely do). The staff were friendly and offered suggestions for pairing salsas to particular tacos.

The horchata was good, but not as good as the last one I had, but that was in Boulder, Co. The nachos were ok, but I think I'd trade them in for 4 more tacos.

I can't wait to go back and try the tortas and other items.

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Flowbee - you have removed a veil from my eyes - and now I can see delicious tacos....

Good good good - went with a bunch of people today and really enjoyed the food. The place is clean, service prompt and friendly, and they are open when they say the will be open (Chilo's - are you paying attention?) Tacos were the stand out - tremendous salsas - favorites being the avocado and spicy macha.

5 tacos and a Diet Coke for about $8 - great deal for great food. I'll post a picture later...

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Tonight my amigos and I tried Dona Cata with high expectations, and I am thrilled to say the tacos exceeded them.

On the menu we're 5 different Taco choices and I tried 1 of each chased by a refreshing Jarrito's. Each are fantastic in their own right but then you get to add from their choices of salsas which really sent them to the moon.

Jenner (sp?) the young owner was very hospitable and definitely knows his way around a taco. For $1.25 each it's hard to just have a couple.

As we sat there stuffing our taco holes, we couldn't help but compare with Chilo's just 2 blocks north. Now, it is unfair to really compare unless you have eaten both in the short term so after we finished we headed to Chilo's.

Now, I gotta say I am a bit biased because I absolutely adore Chilo and Lupe. But this excursion was on the merit of the taco and the taco only.

Sitting down I ordered 2 Suadero and 2 Cabeza tacos, and then a Suadero Quesadilla to share. Man Chilo knows his way around tacos! I have to give the edge to Chilo. IMHO they are a bit more moist and flavorful. Then when you add the other ambiance of getting to hear the history of Poncho Villa, and the wrestling mask of the Blue Demon. Well, again, I'm biased.

The food is really fantastic in both places and I look forward to trying many of the other items at Dona Cata soon.

We ended our Taco feast at Dairy Queen at which I had a small cone, a nice palate cleanser.

Ole'

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Does either Chilo's or Dona Cata have a cerveza license?

Chilo's does. I've had beers there many times. Dona Cata doesn't appear to be licensed, although there's "sangria" on the menu....perhaps a non-alcoholic sangria? i didn't see any beers there.

edit: yes, it's a non-alcoholic sangria.

Edited by flowbee (log)
album of the moment: Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling - 2008
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tonight we did dona cata again...to my surprise they had lengua (tongue) as "today's special"! we tasted, we loved! just as good as chilo's lengua :biggrin:

i noticed a lot more diverse patrons as well, so i guess the word is getting out!

some of their salsas have quite a kick! they've added a sign on the salsa counter that says "caution! our salsas are hot!" (or something to that effect) lol! i'm so glad they aren't toning their food down. :wub:

album of the moment: Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling - 2008
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tonight we did dona cata again...to my surprise they had lengua (tongue) as "today's special"! we tasted, we loved! just as good as chilo's lengua :biggrin:

i noticed a lot more diverse patrons as well, so i guess the word is getting out!

When I was there earlier this week, I said to the owner "Duuuuude, you have to make lengua!!!". he said it wasn't their specialty, but I said "duuuuuude, lengua is awesome!".

Hopefully this had something to do with it appearing on the menu now.

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last time i ate at dona cata, i noticed that they have an al pastor spit!

gallery_24789_3640_57.jpg

never thought i'd see one in my lifetime :biggrin:

album of the moment: Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling - 2008
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Wow - al pastor (literally - shepherd’s-style) tacos!

This is Mexico's take on Middle-Eastern spit-grilled meat - introduced by immigrants from Lebanon.

Ríate y el mundo ríe contigo. Ronques y duermes solito.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.

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  • 4 weeks later...

went again to dona cata last night and they had an interesting thing up on the specials board: cactus with longaniza for two for $15. it's served with rice, refried beans and tortillas. the cactus is sliced, so it resembles green pepper, but with a sour flavour. imho it was delicious! the guy there said they get it fresh from the states. too bad it's not a regular dish...

i also noticed they serve pozole now. have yet to try it though...

album of the moment: Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling - 2008
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Slivered and cooked nopal cactus paddles on their own have that hint-of-saliva quality similar to okra. But they accompany meats really well.

Although they're cultivated in the US and Mexico, I'm sure you can find them locally - try some of the markets on Commercial Drive. (On Vancouver Island, Thrifty's usually carries them. Of course you'll need to de-prick them before slicing!)

Memo - the succulent, won't pay the rent

Edited by Memo (log)

Ríate y el mundo ríe contigo. Ronques y duermes solito.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.

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