El Santo, is a Mexican restaurant located in New West that focuses on quality ingredients and sustainable food practices. The food is delicious and price is very reasonable. The environment or decor was fun and relaxing.
We went here for lunch and had one of the most satisfying meals we have had in a long time. I have read the reviews on Google and people were complaining about the price and portion. Relative to other dining Mexican establishments in the lower mainland and downtown that I have been to, this is right on par. El Santo, is more affordable than chains such as Cactus, White spot etc. where an entree will set you back $28. My pet peeve of other bloggers and reviewers. If you want cheap, stay at home and cook.
Whew, now that I got that off my chest.
My favourite dish was the braised ham hock with a side of tortilla’s and rice. This is a huge dish and meant to be shared. The braised beef was tender, juicy and packed full of flavour. Soaked the tortilla with some of the broth and I could have ended my meal there and be completely satisfied.
We had the verduras torta, which is essentially a sandwich. It comes with a choice of potato or salad. Stuffed with poblano peppers, zucchini, sweet onion, tomato, Oaxaca cheese. The bread held up to the sandwich, you get a balance of spicy, sweet, savoury and sour.
Finished up with churros, cinnamon & sugar dusted, dulce de leche. I may be bias because I have a sweet tooth but this was amazing. Reminds me of of the freshly made PNE mini doughnuts, but with a little more crisp, dipped with a milk sauce that had a tinge of coffee for punch.
So go and try it for yourself. Don’t get caught up in reviews or you will miss out on some amazing food.
La Mezcaleria is the first mezcaleria in Canada, brought to you by the same people who opened La Taqueria, a Vancouver favourite. Located on the eclectic commercial drive. The shared plates are inspired by traditional Mexican recipes made from local and organic products and meant to be chased with sips of mezcal (or mescal). The flavour profiles of each dish are creative and unique, not your typical tacos and salsa restaurant here.
Little Background on Mezcal
It is a distilled spirit made from the heart of the maguey plant, a form of agave. Is smokey in flavor. Fruits and herbs can be added during the fermentation and distillation process. Some bottles contain a worm or a scorpian. Quite controversial, some say it’s there to impart flavor others say that it is proof that the mezcal is fit to drink.
Mezcal was first made and drank by farmers. It has become quite popular in the past few years as people start to realize how complex and vast mezcal could be.
Similar to vodka, I always cringe when pretentious alcohol snobs proclaim,” ohh I only drink Grey Goose because great vodka is supposed to taste like water.” Well shit, I don’t know what kind of water you drink but, the water I drink sure doesn’t taste like vodka.
Daily Ceviche – snapper ceviche. Heavier on the lime than I’m more used to. Very refreshing tomatoes, cilantro and, fresh snapper, you can’t really go wrong.
I like that there was a bit of kick to it.
Mains: Tostadas De Pato: Fraser Valley duck confit, guava, fruit mole sauce, (manchamanteles), chayote, squash and radish. The fruit mole gave the dish a rich and earthy flavour and the candied guava for a bit of sweetness. A unique flavour combination that complimented surprisingly well with each other. It came with 4 house made sauces ranging from mild to habanero spicy.
Parillada: grilled beef shrot-ribs marinated in homemade pasilla chile sauce. Served with mexican chorizo, nopalitos, toreado peppers and green onions.
Traditionally in Mexico people like to play and suck on the bones, thus each rib had a bone. Served with 4 tortillas. You get two different tortillas in one dish. The chorizo tortilla paired well with chilli de arbio and the salsa de verde, rounded out the chorizo.
Agua Fresca del dia con piquette, spiked fruit water of the day was, white grape pear calvados, cinnamon and vodka. The cinnamon was quite prominent . Reminds me a a thanksgiving dessert. All my favourite fall ingredients in a delicious cocktail.
Espadin Mezcal Flight served with sangrita and lime with a little worm salt.
Sombra: very smokey, reminds me of smoked wood chips. mmm…
Fidencio Classico: mellower on the nose and quite smooth on the palette, when compared to the first mezcal.
Siete Misterios: very fragrant, floral with a hint of olive, especially in the end. My favourite in the flight
Scorpion Silver: This was delicious! Lime, cucumber and savory herbs and a hint of spiciness. You gotta try it with the worm salt and orange. NUTS! (I started craving this the next morning, I might have a problem)
For those who haven’t tried Mezcal, there are various ways to enjoy Mezcal.
How to Enjoy Mezcal
I’ve only drank mezcal once and because it is served in a shot glass I shot it down straight. Yep, big mistake, didnt’ feel so good after that. Thanks to our gracious host and co-owner Ignacio Arrieta, he educated us on 2 traditional ways to enjoy our mezcal. So before you shoot the shot down, read the glass, it said something like “sip don’t shoot”.
Method 1, Sip, Sip, Sip
Drink the lime juice before you a sip the mezcal and follow it up with a little sangrita. Sangrita is not locally available so La Mezcaleria made their own, from tomatoes juice and Mexican spices, garlic, garlic juice and orange juice. It helped cleanse the palette between sips.
Method 2: Sip, Suck, Sip (Noooo…don’t go there. Don’t go dirty.)
I found that it was tastier when the mezcal was followed by an orange slice that was sprinkled with worm salt. This way the mezcal doesn’t get diluted with the lime juice.
Worm salt, dehydrate worms mixed with Mexican spices and salt. Think of umami, or the japanese spice mix you add in your ramen. It goes sooo well with Mezcal and, I believe it would also go perfectly with good tequila.
To truly enjoy this type of food, you have to be more aware and interactive with it. From choosing your mix of La Mezcaleria house made sauces, to making your own tortillas and getting their hands dirty with the beef ribs. A truly enjoyable learning experience, I will be back.
Food Persuasion level : [rating=2] Value: [rating=3] Service : [rating=4] Ambiance: [rating=3] Price: $ Cuisine: Mexican Restaurant Location: Robson St., DonwtownVancouver Don Guacamole’s Restaurant Menu
Food Persuasion Level
It must be the pull of their large and always packed patio that drew us to Don Guacamole’s or, their guacamole dip in a martini glass. Whatever the reason, we were ready to explore Robson’s version of a Red Hot Mexican meal.
Starting off with a complimentary side of tortillas that comes with 3 dipping sauces. None, all too spicy.
The best value and my recommendation are the Tortilla appetizers $2.75/ each, it is equally as big as the tortillas sized entrees. We ordered the Birria, slow cooked lamb with as their menu terms it a “unique” mexican sauce. Really just a bunch of chillies, we started adding the dip from our chips to add extra flavour to a rather much too simple dish.
For the entree we ordered the Mulitas Campachenas – corn tortillas, ground beef and mexican sausage and guacamole -$10, it comes with two tortillas. This turned out a little dry, added a spritz of lime, extra gucamole and salsa which turned out great.
Gauging from my foodie co-horts this place is a hit or miss, depending when you go, the line-ups are always long and whether their cook is on the ball when he made your dish. For that reason and the fact that I was my own sit-down chef I am not persuaded.