Victoria Weekend Trip Part 3 – Hernande’z Cocina

For our last meal we went to another rather odd location, Hernande’z Cocina, for Central American food.  This is apparently as close as you’ll get to a traditional Salvadorean cocina here in BC, with two sides of a mall hallway doubling for a rustic village market stall.  Well, they didn’t quite deliver on the atmosphere, but it’s an interesting setup and it seems to be working for them.

Hernande'z Cocina

It is all very DIY and kind of confusing for a newcomer, however they have plenty of hand-written cardboard signage and if you’re feeling overwhelmed it pays off to start reading.  Or do what we did and browse the page after page of instructions and explanations on their website.  Many people have been complaining in various reviews about this style of service, or self-service to be more accurate, along with the various rules for dining there but after reading what the owners have to say about it I felt good about giving them our business and it all seemed to make sense to me.  Most of it has to do with keeping costs down and quality of food high, although it’s hard to understand the justification for a $4 side of rice or beans…I guess they must be HUGE.  Everything else was quite reasonably priced though.

They have a slow food and an express menu, the main difference seems to be that the slow food comes with their home-made tortillas and is served table-side via a strange (but cool) loteria card-based system that involves a bit of shouting and hand-waving.  Express food is picked up across the hall at the kitchen.  I think the only express item we ordered was the burrito, but everything seemed to come out of the kitchen at a good clip so maybe slow food is a bit of a misnomer.  Messier items come on a plate whereas finger-food is on butcher paper, however plates can be rented for $1.  Yes, things are done a little differently here, but read their website manifesto and then sample the food before you judge.

Hernande'z Cocina: Tacos de Carne

Tacos de Carne $6.00 – fresh, handmade corn tortillas with locally raised, naturally grown beef, salsa, chopped onions, cilantro and wedges of lime.

The Tacos de Carne were a bit less bang for buck at three for $6 than the other tacos which come with five for the same price, but the organic beef they use apparently isn’t always in stock so we had to try it.  And we were glad we did!  The beef was sooo tender and juicy, with a generous portion of cilantro folded in delectable home-made tortillas.

Hernande'z Cocina: Pork Enchilada

Pork Enchilada – $11.95

The Pork Enchilada came swimming in a very cinnamon-y sauce which reminded us of a mole.  Intriguing on first bite, but by the end we were getting sick of it due to the overwhelming sauce.  On the plus side the meat was juicy and there was lots of gooey cheese smothering it.

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Bandidas Taqueria

Bandidas Taqueria exterior

I had drove past Bandidas Taqueria quite a few times and it was last Christmas that I’ve mentioned to L and J that we should try it.  However this visit was with neither of them, but with G, purely because of our mutual love for sangrias.

Bandidas Taqueria interior

It was a very casual place, which was funny as G asked me beforehand if he had to dress up LOL.  It was indeed a very hippie crowd, a lot of people in tanks and flip flops.  You also seat yourself.

Bandidas Taqueria: red wine sangria

We started with a litre of red wine sangria to share.  To me it was actually only ok.  I enjoyed the one from Cafe Sevilla (San Diego) much more.  It wasn’t exactly as fruity as I would’ve liked and it actually tasted a bit watered down.  However there are a few other drinks on the menu I would like to try.  Plus they have daily drink specials too.

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Taco Bell

Our first dinner during our US trip was at Taco Bell.  This specific location is the one located near Seattle Premium Outlet at exit 202.

We’ve always liked Taco Bell.  They have great tasting, big and cheap combos.

Taco Bell: Fruitista Freeze

Currently they offer these fruit & creme slushie drinks called Fruitista Freeze.  There are 3 flavors: Triple Berries ‘n Creme, Strawberries ‘n Creme, and Mango ‘n Creme.  All three are topped with real strawberries.

Taco Bell: Strawberries 'n Creme Fruitista Freeze

This time we tried the Strawberries ‘n Creme.  It was really good.  That’s all I can say.  If you get the chance, try it, they’re only available until Dec 24.

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