After some decent internal debate, I convinced myself to try the Taqueria El Mexicano at 8417 Georgia Ave in between Wayne and Bonifant. And I can't say I was terribly impressed.
I was really hoping to find a gem in the rough. But I left the place a little disappointed. I chalk part of my disappointment up to limiting myself to the vegetarian options - of which there were few. Perhaps unabashed carnivores would fare better than me. But given my own rigid rules about steering clear of meat unless I know its origins, I had to stick with what ended up being a vegan lunch.
But it was more than just the menu that disappointed me. I was hoping to find a bit of a divey-spot, especially given its location; one would think it could very well be a dive. In my mind I was thinking some place with a limited menu, cheap, kinda spartan interior, but with good food.
La Taqueria has the potential to be a dive, but it's unfortunately trying to strive for something more. This is not the kind of place that should have white tablecloths. Are they trying to appeal to the Anglos in the neighborhood and they think we need this? At least for me, I want the opposite! How about less spent on the decor and more spent on food quality and preparation?
While on the one hand they're trying too hard with the tablecloths, on the other they didn't have real silverware. I mean it's OK with me if they want to go cheap, but why use silver-coated plastic silverware that try to look like the real thing? Just give me a real fork or just the basic white or black plastic model. And I could have used a fork with my meal, but was only given a spoon. And since my Spanish is extremely limited as was the server's English, I had to make do with a spoon. I survived, no big deal.
On to lunch. Given the limited vegetarian options I was pretty disappointed when I was told no cheese papusas. It was time to get creative. I pretty much had maybe 2 or 3 choices. I ended up choosing a platter of 3 small tostadas, a taco, rice and guacamole. And I was thankful they had a bar so a couple cold Mexican beers with lunch did improve my mood.
The tostados were fine, but not exciting in the least. I'm not sure why, but at the time I didn't even notice it lacked cheese! It consisted of a tortilla, beans and cabbage. I also topped it with some green salsa and guacamole. I mean you can't go too wrong with that combination. But it was pretty boring. However, not as boring as the taco! When it was served it was simply warmed corn tortillas filled with beans - no mas. C'mon, couldn't the kitchen staff be a bit more creative? Have they never encountered a vegetarian in the restaurant? I had to send it back and ask at least for some lechugua - lettuce. Luckily I could add some salsa, guac and rice too. And a second time, I somehow didn't notice there was no cheese. I know I said queso when I put in the order, but not surprisingly a lot was lost in the translation.
So I'm doubtful I will make it back to the taqueria. Although their breakfast menu did intrigue me. Maybe one day I'll try what I can only imagine is a Latin bagel - or as they call it, a baguel. Sounds kinda good, huh? I think my next Latin outing on the Avenue I will give La Bamba a try. The wife of a Mexican neighbor of mine gives it good marks. I can't imagine it could be any less exciting than La Taqueria. Oh well, I am glad I tried it.