Bandidas (Commercial Drive)
My friend Beth Snow and I were chatting on GTalk earlier on Sunday, and she tweeted that she had a hunkering for Mexican food. Despite my vast knowledge of the state of the Mexican cuisine in Vancouver, I hadn’t tried any restaurants in the geographical proximity of the neighbourhood where she was located. So, we went back and forth thinking about where to go for an early dinner. We thought about Las Tortas on Cambie and 17th, but settled for Bandidas.
I’m glad we did, because (a) it gave me an opportunity to try a new restaurant and write a review and (b) allowed me to try a new Mexican (or sort-of) place, particularly one that has only vegetarian options, as well as (c) hang out with Beth, with whom I rarely spend enough time, although we chat on Twitter and GTalk all the time.
I recently told a few of my friends that, contrary to common misconception, Mexican cuisine is primarily vegetarian. The main staples of Mexican cuisine are, as accurately indicated in the Wikipedia entry, rice and beans, although chiles are also an omni-present element of Mexican dishes. Well, Bandidas very smartly exploits the nuances of Mexican cuisine and adds a few changes here and there.
Someone wrote on Yelp that Bandidas is kind-of granola-munching, hipster central. It kind of looks that way (all due respect to hipsters). But that doesn’t detract at all of this place. It’s really good. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The burrito I ordered was the Ronny Russell (with roasted yams and onions, fresh guacamole, black beans, green salsa, purple cabbage, & pumpkin seeds).
It was important for me not to order anything with cheese (which I hate) nor sour cream (which is bad for my stomach as I am lactose-intolerant). As for the food itself, the burrito was REALLY big and filling. I’m glad I chose it over the tacos. While flavourful, I wasn’t really excited until I added a bit of salsa to it. Admittedly, I continue to like Mexican food the way I was brought up – with lots of spice and chile. Both Beth and I were full around 3/4 of our respective burritos (she ordered hers with cheese, though), but we were brave and finished them all.
Overall, I now know why Glenn Gaetz, Hilary Henegar, Stephen Hui and Paul Jarvis rave about Bandidas. Add me and Beth Snow to the long list of Bandidas fans.