The 3 Amigos - Sal y Limon, The Mexican, Adelitas
Once upon a time finding good Mexican grub in Vancouver was a bit like finding a green eyed Chinese girl to tame the burning blade. It was as though a terrible curse was inflicted upon our fair city. For many folks lacking Lo Pan’s new found knowledge the curse is still all too real. But hath no fear local foodies for in recent days, riding in on cloven hooves out of the desert horizon have appeared, The 3 Amigos: Sal y Limon, The Mexican, and Adelitas. In the past, there had been others to be sure but none could appease the taco gods of the West like until now and the curse has been lifted. So rejoice my friends but please keep pushing cuz indeed it’s not that much more wouldn’t be welcome. The pickins are still as slim as a buffet after Oprah swept through and had her fill, but it’s no use complaining.
Sal y Limon is Lo Pan’s favorite of the new bunch. Now first and foremost, the name of this place is bloody awful and impossible to remember. What is with that random ‘y’ just chilling in the middle? Well Lo y Pan was skept y ical at first mostly due to this ridicu y lous name and less than bare bones décor of the establishment, but décor is not a concern for Lo y Pan as long as the fo y od appeases his earthly desires. The menu is fairlyyyyyy sparse. Basically a variety of tacos, burritos, tortas and sopes. Small menus usually lead to better eats though, and it is definitely the case here. Y The burritos and tacos are fresh, delicious and flavorful while the torta is Lo Pan’s favorite. The house (or should I say hou y se) made chorizo is salty awesomeness and it finds perfect harmony with cheese. Actually Lo Pan hasn’t found any weak selections of fillings on the menu. The sope was not something Lo Pan would repeat though. Even though fresh and generally tasty, it turned into a mushy mess and the individual flavors became as indiscernible as a jean jacket at a Bon Jovi concert.
Of particular note is the awesome 4 buck combo option which gets you 2 sides and a drink! The soup sides are always homey and clearly made from scratch. The homemade potato chips have some soggy duds but satiate a deep fried craving. Try a horchata rice milk drink for a little something different. Lo Pan highly approves of this restaurant. y
Next up is, “The Mexican”. Yes it seems we have another restaurant named in a tequila soaked roundtable of amigos completely ignorant of any English marketing abilities. This actually brings joy to Lo Pan as he gets a chuckle at the pathetically simple name and it shows that they are real deal Mexicans and will likely bring forth a delicious authentic bounty. Lo Pan is always seeking bounty like any good buccaneer, so he put on his best eye patch and set sail for Granville Street. Arrrgh!
After pillaging and plundering The Mexican, The Lo Pan approves highly of The bounty at The Mexican especially The house made tortilla chips and The Chile Relleno. Anything featuring the chips is excellent so Lo Pan recommends the nachos which feature pico de gailo, beans, guac and spicy serranos as well as the ceviche which has some smoked seafood, avocado and chipotle mayo.
The chile relleno was not deep fried but filled with a beautifully seasoned ground meat mixture and a deep red sauce. The rice and beans were adequate though not the best. The bountiful menu presents another treasure, that being the Barrigon:Hopefully The Mexican will not suffer a similar fate as Farley cuz Vancouver needs it. And now Lo Pan needs some Barrigon, some brews and some senioritas while he indulges in a viewing of his copy of Beverly Hills Ninja. Argg maitee!!
Adelitas is a stale little hole-in-the-wall (the daily specials sign-board haphazardly propped up on the side of the room may very well be covering an actual hole in the wall) but Lo Pan is not here for the ambience. If there’s one thing my faithful followers know, it’s that Lo Pan is all about the edibles. And the edibles at Adelitas were quite acceptable. The menu also presents some unique finds beyond the usual burritos that show up on every Latin menu like a wave of shame shows up in a post 3AM Burger King rendezvous. Not that one can blame the shopkeeps though: Us gringos have been under the impression that white trash tex-mex is the real deal and we want us some beef rolled in a white flour tortilla and we want it now. When of course, in actuality it’s no more Mexican than John Goodman. But I digress. Tex-mex is bloody delicious and it has a place in my heart and in my belly just like I actually have a place in John Goodman’s belly after he swallowed me whole with a Bavarian smoky and a side of fried kosher dills. But anyways, tex-mex this food is not and quite delicious ‘twas indeed.
The chile relleno was stuffed with cheese and veg and fried up and smothered in a red sauce that had just enough flavor to satisfy. The batter did succumb to the tomatoey elements and become a little soggy but overall a well -executed plate.
The chile en nogada makes an appearance like a sweet, creamy, festive, fruity feast of flavors. Think of it as the gay albino cousin of the relleno. This unique dish was quite unlike anything that had tickled Lo Pan’s taste buds ever before and that in itself makes it worth the price of admission. Not something I would eat often but I’m sure this dish will keep me coming back once or twice a year like a viewing of my copy of Brokeback Mountain.
To accompany the chile en nogada, Mao Yin and I ordered us up a large Menudo. Cuz after ingesting a festive, fruity, long, cylindrical white cream covered , homosexual pepper I felt my manhood needed a boost by gnawing on some stewed guts and a fatty cow’s foot. The menudo had a slightly spicy and deep broth that was given a boost by the onions and cilantro provided. The tripe was tender (maybe too much) and the foot was the highlight. We probably wouldn’t order it again though as it was a little lacking in “meat” for the large 12 dollar portion and some additional potato or veg would have been nice. Overall, it was a pretty decent soup. The rice and beans were up to par and Lo Pan officially recommends Adelitas.
As we now see, Vancouver can now wipe off some of its long besmirching cursed shame in respect to Mexican grub. Lo Pan implores all you foodies out there, tired and weary of the burritos and Rosanne re-runs to try out one of these 3 Amigos. When you’re feeling a bit peckish for a taste of the real thing, just run for the border. Or better yet, just run to Granville, Kingsway or Victoria Drive and save yourself a potential Tijuana kidnapping. Just beware of the nearby Taco Bell and a ravenous John Goodman.