Dining out: Salsa & Agave

The Erickson Building

When I get together with my friend Michele, it’s usually on a Monday night and involves a walk along one seawall or another, then dinner. It’s a combination which is probably counterproductive to fitness, but certainly works wonders for friendship. Walking is a lot like living, I guess – it’s so much easier when you have good friends to keep you company.

So today we walked along False Creek, right up to the Erickson building, and then down Pacific Boulevard to the Salsa & Agave Mexican Grill, which is a rather atypical Yaletown restaurant: cozy and casual, with a reasonably priced menu (most expensive item = $13).

Earlier reviews describe a small place with only eight tables. This must have been their first location, which is still open during the day for lunch and take-out orders. For dinner, walk a few doors down and you’ll find yourself at the new Salsa & Agave, which is still small but with a few more tables, beautiful dark-red decor, interesting wall art and lamps dangling down from the high ceiling.

It was our first time to try this place so it took us a while to decide what to order. Fortunately we were served almost at once with a complimentary pottery bowl of tortilla chips and a smaller one of salsa, so we could munch as we perused the menu.

It’s the only menu I’ve encountered where I wanted to try everything – maybe because all the dishes sound so rich, meaty, and flavourful.

In the end, Michele had a glass of mango nectar and the enchiladas with rice and beans: a generous plateful for $12. I had the lengua (ox tongue) tacos. For the less adventurous, there are more conventional taco fillings, e.g. chicken, pork, and sausage. I have to say that the tongue is my favourite part of the cow – when it’s cooked well, that is, and this dish did not disappoint. The chunks of tongue were tender and tasty, served on soft tacos with minced onion and cilantro, a lime wedge, and a smoky-spicy dipping sauce on the side.
Good thing we had to walk a few blocks back to the car.

On my second visit to Salsa & Agave, I tried:

Sopa Azteca: broth spiced up with chipotle and swimming with tortilla strips, chunks of avocado, stringy cheese and sour cream…

…and more tacos: filled with chorizo and pastor (pork in spicy sauce)

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