Monday, January 28, 2008

Snow Day with Dona Cata

How do you deal with the snow? Last Saturday in Vancouver saw a one of our traffic-crippling snow storms (translation: any snow sticking to the road) and gave me an excuse to seek out some Mexican comfort food. Dona Cata has been on my "go to" list ever since it opened last year, and I'm not alone. It won "Best of the Americas" for last year's Van Mag Awards, and made many top 10 lists.

But honestly, it's not about the awards, it's about the honest, no-nonsense soul stirring food.

I hadn't been to Dona Cata since they'd moved down Victoria Drive to their new digs. A shopping trip with my youngest son (Ryan) and the aforementioned snow gave me an excuse to remedy that "problem". The new restaurant from what I can tell is about improving the kitchen area, because there's not much improvement in the front-of-house floorspace.

We sat down just before 3 to a full room, and nary an english-speaking table within earshot. Definitely a good sign. One end of the room featured a large projection screen television on which was a concert video of (apparently) a popular Mexican singer. The cacophony of the video, families conversing in Spanish and the racket of the kitchen brought smiles to our faces. "It's just like our trip!" remarked Ryan, recalling our visit to Puerto Valarta a couple years ago.

Dona Cata is essentially a taco truck ... just without the truck. The majority of the menu is tacos, burritos and that ilk, along with some newer items I've neglected to write down. Tacos are a couple bucks each, with a choice of about 5 or 6 fillings (pork, chicken, lamb, beef ... ) and a selection of 7 or 8 salsas. Our favorite was without a doubt the peanut salsa, with the salsa verde a close second.
Other items are available on the day sheet ... and as luck would have it Saturday was pozole day! I discovered pozole in Puerto Valarta at an all-inclusive resort of all places. Shredded pork and hominy in a spicey broth is a perfect way to fight of the winter woes.

Ryan and I sat in slurp-filled silence as we devoured the bowl, pausing occaisionaly to wipe our chins or finish off a taco.

Total dammage for the pozole, 4 tacos and a couple drinks was about $25. The surreal sensation of eating Mexican while the snow came down was a bonus.

Dona Cata Mexican Foods
5438 Victoria Drive
Vancouver, BC

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