Saturday, October 13, 2012

11.--Taquiera Jalisco

"We are serving your area since 2006"
Taqueria Jalisco on Urbanspoon
I love authentic Mexican food, which is why I make a point to stay away from any food chain with the word "Taco" in its name when I want some. Fortunately for the city of Surrey, there are now several restaurants to choose from when I have a craving for Mexican food, not the least of which is Taquiera Jalisco, whose sign boasts that "we are serving your area since 2006."

Table coverings brighten up the place
To call Taquiera Jalisco small and unpretentious is perhaps dressing the place up a little. If they didn't have aggressive signage out front you would never know it existed. Even then you hesitate between two doors that might very well lead to someone's apartment (choose the one on the right). Once through, however, you feel like you stepped into a small family-run place in Mexico. It has a well-used charm, and every square foot of clear floor space (there isn't much) has been given over to five or six tables, with just enough room for a little corner counter and a couple of shelves backed up against the wall like gringos on the losing side of a Mexican stand-off.

You don't get--or need--a lot of tortilla chips
The servers are quiet, almost shy, but a smile or two and a kind word receives a warm smile back. They bring you your menus (the front of which proclaims warmly that "Mi casa es tu casa") and, after ordering, they also bring you a small tray with store-bought tortilla chips and two decidedly not store-bought dipping sauces: what looks like a salsa roja and a salsa roja Mexicana. I can't be certain, though. Both salsas are very spicy, not so that you suddenly feel like you've taken up fire-breathing as a career, but enough to make you glad you ordered  something  cold  to  drink.  Dance,  taste-buds, dance!

My chimichanga looked like a bull
The three of us ordered, respectively, a chicken chimichanga, a chicken quesadilla, and a beef burrito. In every case the portions are large, nay,huge; healthy appetites are welcome here. We were impressed to see small slices of beef--not ground--in the burrito. The chicken in our quesadilla and chimichanga was diced breast meat, generously stuffed in along with the rest of the filling. Nothing is greasy; in fact, the chimichanga wrap was almost like a pastry crust; faintly crispy and very satisfying.  The rice was not terribly memorable but did have the benefit of being flavored lightly with something. Perhaps it was cooked in chicken broth. I found it acceptable, fluffy but perhaps a tad dry. The salad was that ubiquitous iceberg lettuce/tomato/green onion mix you find everywhere in North America, but at least it was fresh and crisp, and its texture balance the plate out nicely. For beverages my sister had tea, I had rice water--and very nice it was, thank-you--and my brother-in-law had a Mexican Coke. 
The much-desired Mexican Coke

A quick word about the Mexican Coke. Remember how (and I may be dating myself here), a long time ago around 1985 or so Coke replaced the old Coke with the New Coke, and then decided to bring back the old Coke and call it Coke Classic, but it never really tasted the same? Well, the Mexican Coke tastes like the original Coke, not that Coke Classic cra--er, stuff. It made me wish I had ordered it instead of my very nice rice water. A quick trip to Wickapedia (long live the 'Wick) informs me that most Coke in North America is sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, while Mexican Coke is sweetened with cane sugar. That truly may be the reason why it tastes like original Coke, and I mean Coke from waaaay back. But I digress.
The meals are very reasonably priced--all of our entrees were about ten dollars each.

The beef burrito
I can hardly wait to go back there. I want to check out the cooking implement I saw stacked on the floor by the counter, which I suspect might be an authentic metate y mano. I'm not certain, because I didn't take the time to really look at it. At the very least, it makes for a great excuse to return.

Do yourself a favor and go. Treat yourself to a good Mexican meal. Treat the servers kindly. Tip well. They deserve it.

Lower left--matate y mano?
I suspect the kitchen is tiny

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