1425 Store St. | Victoria, BC | 250-386-1425 | www.cafemexico.com
My friends and I have a little tradition we refer to as “Cafe Mexico Friday!” It’s how we celebrate summer and cheer ourselves up through the winter.
It’s been going on for more years than I’ll admit to, and is becoming rather frightening, to tell the truth. I’ve recently noticed my subconscious is catching on. I’ve been waking up on Fridays with an extra spring in my step, instinctively wearing brighter colors, looser pants, and decent walking shoes. Also, I’ve found myself suffering from peculiar bouts of absolute optimism, even in the middle of November. Torrential rain? Snow (well, Victoria’s version of)? Crackhead screaming obscenities at me? Doesn’t matter, I’m headed to Cafe Mexico! Yes, people, a great restaurant (and a devoted group of friends) can change your life, one drab Friday at a time.
The rules are simple:
Rule #1 – Everything starts with Mango Margaritas. Don’t waste time ordering just one, get the entire pitcher!
Rule #2 – Everything ends with Mango Margaritas. If the pitcher is empty and there is still food on the table, you must order another!
Of course all fresh Fruta Margaritas have an ‘unleaded’ option, for those workday lunches or non-drinkers (who I’m sure have stopped reading by now, appalled by my blatant pro-Margarita agenda).
The Fruta Margaritas are made with real strawberries, mangoes, bananas or raspberries, and blended with ice. Jose Cuervo tequila and Triple Sec are added to the ‘adult’ versions. Of course, other varieties of margaritas and blended drinks are abundant on the drink menu, but I have discovered my favorite (through many years of strenuous research and taste-testing), so I’m set in my ways. Besides, I can count it toward my daily servings of fruit, right?
Now that I have gone over the “Margarita Rules,” I will share some advice on the amazing food:
My favorite meal is the Tacquitos with pulled beef. No, wait! Chicken. No, beef. Definitely chicken.
I find it the ‘lightest’ meal that I can force myself to almost finish for lunch. I only need to walk around for about 1/2 hour before I no longer want to explode (this is where the loose pants and walking shoes come in handy).
There is a “Lunch” version of Tacquitos available, but the best sides I have ever tasted are the Re-fried Beans and Mexican Rice, so I have never had the heart to order the Tacquitos without them. The Re-Fried Beans even have melted cheese on top! But I digress…
Another outstanding item on the menu is the Tortilla Soup:
Made with fresh vegetable and chicken broth, avocado, cheese and home-made tortilla chips, this soup is offered as a side dish with certain items, or alone as an Aperitivos (aka “appetizer,” but I wanted to show off my Spanish. Alright fine, I copied it off the menu). If you can pry yourself away from the Re-fried Beans and Mexican Rice, give it a try! If you can eat all 3 in one sitting and not die, you are a better “man” than me.
I was going to take some time to list my other favorite dishes, but you would be better off just to read the entire menu. I will, however, give a special “shout out” to the Chimichanga. Not only is it the most fun to say, but it is the most incredible meal I have ever attempted to finish. It is, however, strictly a ‘Dinner” meal, where time is of no consequence. If you attempt to eat it for lunch, you will be asleep at your desk/on your couch for the rest of the afternoon.
Yes, I am aware restaurants offer boxes for those who can’t (or shouldn’t) finish their meals, but people like me usually shove them in the fridge and forget about them for a week or two. That leads to regret over a whole slew of issues, from “I really should clean out and attempt to use my fridge more often,” to the ” there are starving people all over the world” speech you got when you wouldn’t eat your Brussels sprouts. I’d rather go for a long walk and say “I’m never eating anything ever again!” for a couple of hours than deal with childhood issues about leftovers and sprouts. But that’s another post for another website…
So the next time you’re in Market Square or need a little cheering up with some amazing home-made Mexican food, head to Cafe Mexico! Be careful, though, the place is addicting. You may find yourself with “Cafe Mexico Friday!” listed on the calendar for years to come. And yes, I’m the girl in the bright clothing with the same group of friends month after month. Feel free to send over a jug or two of Margaritas.