Sherman's Food Adventures: Doña Cata

Doña Cata

*Now closed*

Viv and I tried to eat at Doña Cata on Monday; but we had a brain cramp and didn't check if they were open before going. Undaunted, we tried again today because we are so committed in our culinary pursuits. No, not really. We actually wanted to try the Dim Sum at Western Lake across the street; however, they were crazy busy. I'm not sure when they do not have a lineup. You know how I love lineups. Therefore, we looked across the street and figured that we should eat at Doña Cata instead. Joining us for this meal was Whipping Girl. She had the week off and was available for lunch. I first tried Doña Cata's tacos at EAT! Vancouver and came away impressed. Today, we were going for the very same tacos and some other goodies as well.

For those who have only considered Taco Bell or Taco Time as your only source for Mexican food, be prepared to experience the real deal. Much like confusing Manchu Wok as Chinese food, Taco Bell is a poor representation of the cuisine. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with eating at Taco Bell (well, for some people at least), just don't call it authentic. Adorned in salmon, green and and purple, the dining room is not very big and modestly decorated. The late Doña Cata (Catalina Espejo Munoz) is enshrined in a portrait right in the centre of the south wall of the restaurant. Her granddaughter is now the current operator of the restaurant. Arriving at our table, as we were settling in, were complimentary tortilla chips beautifully present on a wonderful Royal Chinet plate. At any time, you can help yourself to the 9 different sauces. This is where you can customize your meal by experimenting with the sauces. I personally liked the Avocado which was a good combination of smooth and spicy.

We ended up ordering 3 pulled pork tacos to start. Unfortunately, they were not as good as the ones at EAT! Vancouver. Some pieces of the pork were dry and stringy. Compounding the problem was the copious amount of pork fat cascading down our hands from the tacos as we ate them. At the very least, the soft taco shells and the overall flavour were very good. Viv and Whipping Girl decided to get the Alambres. Viv settled on the Ballena which was a combination of Pastor, Bisteck, Carnitas, tomatoes, onions and peppers. Whipping Girl had the Dona Cata Special which consisted of Pollo, Longanzia, tomatoes, onions and peppers. Both dishes had a good helping of filling accompanied by their choice of tortilla. Flavour-wise, the fillings were pretty good; but didn't stir any excitment. Again, the true attraction here are the sauces. This is where you can make your meal into something outstanding.

Once again, I went for a completely different dish for variety purposes (for you Drea!). I went for one of their breakfast specials - 2 Chicken Enchiladas (which included a glass of OJ). As it arrived in front of me, I initially couldn't even see the enchiladas. They were buried beneath a whole lot of lettuce, cheese and sour cream. Taste-wise, the whole dish was a bit bland, despite a good deal of sauce. I think next time I'm going to add a whole bunch of chipotle sauce to give it a kick. Overall, the food was good, service was friendly and prices were reasonable. Bottom line - Doña Cata is a solid choice for authentic Mexican food.

The Good:
- It's authentic
- Many different sauces to choose from
- Friendly service

The Bad:
- Nit-picking here, but the washroom entrance is difficult for anyone with a wheelchair or walker

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