Une Lettre d’Amour

January 24th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Dear Virginia
Une lettre d’amour

Friday January 25th, 2008

by Jason Chin
Eat Vancouver Hack

Dear Virginia,

By the time you get this letter, I’ll be gone. I’m going back to that other ‘V’ in my life. Don’t look so surprised – we both knew this was coming.

But there are so many things I’ll miss: moments, tastes and experiences – all of them unforgettable. Do you remember the pupusa trucks?

Exterior of Comida Latina

Those shiny family-run vehicles peddling all manner of Salvadorian delights? Yeah, I know they sell tacos as well, but those were never the main draw were they? Of course you’re right, they were tasty little creations, full of beef fried with onions, topped with a healthy portion of pico de gallo.

beef tacos from comida latina

But I always thought the beef was a little dry and the tacos a bit overstuffed, more like a cheesesteak sans the cheese, really. Then again, why were we visiting a Salvadorian family for tacos, when pupusas were also for sale? Some of our happiest memories were just sitting over a batch of the mixed pupsusas, filled with beans, pork and cheese.

pupusa from comida latina

I just loved how the cheese would ooze out and then get crispy during frying. Topped with a tangy cabbage slaw and red salsa, they made it so hard to stray. (Comida Latina Truck menu)

Then, there are the tacos.

taco at el charrito

I don’t want to get into that old argument, but you should know that here with the other V, there are new options springing up all over the place. I know, I know, they’ll never be the same but some are, and I know I shouldn’t say this, almost as good as yours. But every time I think of Dona Cata and their unparalleled selection of sauces, I can’t help but remember all the good times I had with you at El Charrito.

El charrito's exterior

If there’s a better taco in Arlington, then we certainly never discovered it. Dona Cata and her wealth of sauces are fine, but when it comes to meat, I’ll stick with El Charrito. Oddly enough, the best option is always the goat . It’s like beef in texture with a little added flavor. And why can’t the other places seem to get the toppings right? Cilantro and onion (for flavor) and radish (for crunch) are just the perfect toppings for a taco. (El Charrito menu 1 & 2)

Of course, what really catches one’s eye is the celebrities, and both you and the new object of my affections have had your fair share. But with Rob Feenie’s trademark restaurants no longer associated with him, I have to give you the slight edge. It was so exciting to see if Michel Richard’s talents would transfer over to his new casual spot, Central.

central's downtown exterior

And for the most part, they did, didn’t they? The French onion soup ($8) was an exquisite example of the classic, and really, who has the balls to deconstruct chili ($8), and then reconstruct it as a soup (other than Richard, of course)?

de- then re- constructed chili

And yes, we had our rough times with the crab cake and leek remoulade ($19) that grew very tiresome as an entrée.

MIchel Richard's crab cake

Perhaps it would have been better left a mere tryst? But that was made up for by the perfectly crisp fried chicken and mashed potatoes, certainly an affair to remember.

It’s strange to say, but she’s starting to remind me of you, Virginia. Maybe it’s the relatively mild winters, or the diversity. Maybe it’s that I can finally find a decent taco here. I couldn’t say for sure, but it’s starting to seem more similar than it is different. But oh, if only I could find a decent kebab here with my new V.

lamb kebob from ravi kebob

So I’ll leave you now with a promise to return. Hopefully, I’ll do so with my heart intact, and with my stomach full.




Tags: Holiday Specials

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Desmond // Jan 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    “Eat, drink, man, woman: the sources of human desires.”
    It is true! Oh, the delightful joys of eating!

  • 2 Dan // Jan 26, 2008 at 3:12 am

    I don’t know what this article is about… but Jay and I are in Southern California right now and it is awesome.. plus amazing tacos.

  • 3 bass drame // Apr 16, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    merci bass tu le 8 guanti tu monde le plu ami de mon amour khadi et ton amour yama

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