Puerto Vallarta Amigos, 500 Yates St., Victoria, BC
For months I've been reading and hearing the rave reviews for this humble food truck vendor situated at the bottom of Yates Street near Wharf. Today I finally had a chance to taste for myself. The YRS verdict: Olé!
Puerto Vallarta Amigos (PVA) serves up cheap, authentic Mexican fare, very similar to the kinds I recall eating during my travels through Mexico -- best delivered off the back of a truck or portable food stall. Like the real thing down south, PVA uses fresh ingredients and all dishes are made from scratch. My Chicken Quesadilla and Tortilla Soup were downright delicious and I can't wait to return and try their tacos. The older Mexican couple serving me today were full of smiles and easy going charm, a reminder of that wonderful Latin American hospitality I recall from my travels.
Puerto Vallarta Amigos is not quite as good as Hernande'z, but it's close enough to qualify as rival.
Cafe Mexico, 1425 Store St., Victoria, BC
In stark contrast to Puerto Vallarta Amigos is nearby Cafe Mexico, which is almost an abomination to real Mexican cuisine, highly gringoized Mexican food to the point that it ceases to be Mexican. This long time Market Square fixture is Mexican only in name; even the interior decor and ornaments seem inspired more by a Tijiuana souvenir booth than anything truly Mexican.
This type of "Mexican" restaurant buries bad food in sour cream, serves baskets of stale factory corn chips, leaves a big bottle of Tabasco sauce on the table and hopes that hoodwinked customers don't pick up on the grift. The fact places like this sell margaritas by the bucket is further evidence that the Mexican food aspect is but an afterthought, a marketing ploy, a way to sell an idea of Mexico and its food by getting patrons in the door and shit-faced on tequila cocktails.