After having come home from Banff and telling Jason about the Mexican food I had at Magpie & Stump with my friend, Jay got the craving for Mexican. We were heading off to see ‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’ at CrossIron Mills, so it worked out pretty well to try Tacos Puerto Vallarta in Airdrie. It’s really easy to find, just south of Veteran’s Boulevard on Edmonton Trail. It’s on the east side of an old motel, facing the street. Once you see the old motel pull into the side road and park in the motel parking lot. I think we were lucky to find a parking stall right in front of the restaurant though – it looks like the lot can fill up.
The restaurant was larger than I expected. It was very colourful with traditional table cloths and place mats. There were tissue paper decorations hanging from the ceiling, although some were ripped and I’m sure they’ve been there for a while. The lady was nice enough to seat the guests far apart from each other in the long room. We were seated in the far south end of the room, near the fake fireplace and underneath a ceiling repair that wasn’t completely finished and likely wouldn’t be any time soon. We figured the half-assed patch job had probably been there for a long while. The restaurant could definitely use a makeover.
Regardless, the lady doing all the seating, serving and clearing of tables was prompt and polite. She took our order quickly and our drinks and food came out pretty quickly too. We were worried that it may be slow, but it turned out to be pretty fast.
We each ordered a margarita – they were really good. I ordered the Enchiladas Verdes and Jay ordered the Asada. We really don’t know much about Mexican food… but the tortillas were definitely homemade. They were kind of thick and chewy. I’m not sure if they were corn (they weren’t yellow) but they tasted different than plain flour ones you buy in the store. Jay’s Asada, as it turns out, is a build your own taco kind of thing. There were 3 kinds of meat, rice and beans, hot sauce, and 4 tortilla shells. He tried one as a taco and it turns out he didn’t like the tortilla at all. He didn’t like the flavour and he found it to be too chewy. The hot sauce was awesome – good flavour and a wicked bite! Because Jay didn’t like the tortillas, he ended up mixing all the food on his plate together, pouring the hot sauce over it, and eating it like a hash. All the meat was ground and fried and it had obviously been sitting for a while – it was all quite dry.
My Enchiladas Verdes were just ok. The chicken was a little chewy, and the dish was covered in the verde sauce so the chewy tortillas were sitting in the sauce, making them just a little soggy too. The flavour was nice, but I wasn’t a fan of the textures. The Mexican rice was mushy. Totally opposite to the rice I’d had the day before at Magpie & Stump – theirs was very dry and this was moist and mushy. The beans were ok. Thinner than many I’ve had, but they tasted just the same.
Maybe this restaurant truly is traditional – maybe the food is just like you’d get in Puerto Vallarta – but we wouldn’t know, because we’ve never been. I wasn’t impressed with the selection on the menu – just one burrito and a whole lot of tacos. We really wanted to love this place, but based on one experience, it was just ‘meh’… Will we go back? Perhaps down the road… I wouldn’t avoid it, but it’s far from the top of my list of places to return.