*Now El Camino*
Over a month ago, I quickly did a same-day post about my meal at Mis Trucos. Was it because the food blew me away and I just had to write about it quickly? Well, not really. Although the food was not bad, that was not my inspiration. Rather, it was the playoff series with Chicago that got me going. Believe it or not, Viv and I were at dinner missing out on Game 6. Turns out that I got home in time to see the Canucks lose in OT. That capped off 2 blowout loses including the game prior. They did come back to win Game 7 in dramatic fashion thanks to Alex Burrows. Now here we are in the Stanley Cup Finals and after building a 2 games to none lead, the Canucks got their lunch handed to them via an 8-1 drubbing. No matter, it's only one game. A loss is a loss. Now, it is time to move on. I have confidence that they will return to their winning ways and that is why I had to post this in a relatively expeditious manner (however, they go on to lose again 4-0 in game 4... deja vu anyone?). Therefore, this post had to go up now since I really don't want to talk about this when the playoffs are already over! So, after the depressing loss, Bear, Milhouse, Emilicious and Hot Chocolate met up with me at Latitude for some after game eats. It was normally our softball night and we've been so conditioned to eat out afterwards, there is always and empty feeling if we don't.
We ended up at Latitude since it was somewhat central to everyone and it wasn't Asian. Yah, we're a bit tired of the Asian food thing; but that is almost an inevitability in Vancouver. There really are so many more Asian food options compared to everything else. Somewhat removed from all the "action" along Main Street, Latitude serves up mainly Latin-inspired food in a hip dining space. We decided to mostly share everything except for the Arepas, which are small round white corn pockets filled with choice of ingredients. Not conducive to sharing, we ended up having one each. I went for the Chorizo with avocado and confit tomatoes. This was a messy proposition. Everything was falling and dripping out. I didn't mind though, it had a nice kick from the meaty chorizo and a cooling effect from the smooth avocado and tart tomatoes. I found the corn "pancake" to be dense while still easy to eat and crisp on the outside. Emilicious had the Wild Prawns with arugula and smoked paprika mayo. It was bursting with crunchy prawns and mayo which made it as messy as my arepas. She really liked the smokiness and thought everything worked well together. Milhouse and Bear both had the Braised Beef with black bean, queso blanco and tomatillo salsa. They seemed to like it; but didn't say much about them. Hot Chocolate had the Smokey Pulled Pork with feta, pickled fennel and jalapeno. She as well thought it was pretty good with a good combination of flavours.
After the arepas, we shared a few items starting with the Baja Fish Tacos served with cabbage, chipotle creama, pickled sweet onion and red salsa. I really like the fact the fish was fried rather than being grilled. This way, the taco was much less wet and the crispiness of the fish added texture. Personally, I would've liked more heat in the taco; but in the end, it was flavourful enough with the pickled onions. Next up was the Calamares which was served with a citrus aioli. The squid was fried pefectly with a light crisp exterior while being tender on the inside. The batter itself was quite mild while the aioli didn't add much in the way of flavour. For me at least, it went so much better with the smoked paprika mayo that accompanied the Chickpea Fries. The flavour of the paprika mayo was more intense and impactful, which in my opinion helped with the flavour-challenged calamari. The chickpea fries themselves were not as crispy as I would've imagined. Rather, they were "cardboard-like". Personally, that was a texture that I did not enjoy; but again, chickpeas have their limitations as to their texture. I did find the inside to be quite good though. It was well-seasoned and fluffy. We also shared the Chicken Wings "Anillo de Fuego" because it was on special. Hey, we'd never pass up a daily special! Initially, we were expecting hot wings and nothing else; but we were pleasantly surprised that their house hot sauce which was quite good. There was a nice balance of smoky, sweet and tang which really amped up the perfectly fried chicken wings. And about those chicken wings, they were big, moist and juicy. There were 12 of them and it sure looked more than 1 pound. Strangely, a few nights prior, we had "1 pound" of wings and there were only 8 (and roughly the same size too) at the Thirsty Penguin.
After all the appies, we shared 2 entrees. The first was the Boneless Beef Shortrib served with Colombian papas chorreados and onion gravy. Despite being fork tender, the shortrib was dry and stringy. It was okay still. Just not as moist as we expected. The gravy was alright. I found it to be slightly sweet with only a modest amount of salt. This was a very mild tasting dish. The papas were pretty good being super soft on the inside while nicely roasted on the outside. Interestingly, we could all see the cheese on the potato; but it didn't have much of an impact. An okay plate of food, if not unmemorable. Lastly, we had the Paella de Mariscos consisting of smoky tomato saffron arborio stew, prawns, mussels, fish and chorizo. We found the rice to be slightly overcooked; but it wasn't short on flavour. Plenty of smoky and savouriness from the chorizo with a touch of the sea. We didn't detect any strong saffron essence though. For $20.00, we felt this was a tad expensive considering the size of the dish (although it did have a decent amount of ingredients).
By virtue of having Bear at the table, he exerted his sphere of influence which resulted in Emilicious and I sharing an order of Tres Leches Cake. As the name suggests, it is cake that is soaked in 3 types of milk - evaporated, condensed and cream. We both thought this cake was a winner. Prepared correctly, the cake was not soggy despite the generous soaking of milk. It had a nice consistency and texture while being only slightly sweet due to the condensed milk. However, what really put the cake over the top was the smashed candied walnuts. It added another layer of flavour as well as a crunch. Good textural and flavour contrast.
Milhouse and Bear ended up ordering the same dessert being the Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding. Man, they make it hard for me! Ordering the same thing again!!! Anyways, I gave the bread pudding a try and I found it to be rather dry. Furthermore, I didn't get much in the way of banana. In fact, the chocolate flavour was not really all that intense either. At the very least, that resulted in a modestly sweet dessert, which I prefer. Although I really liked the Tres Leches Cake much more. Overall, it was a fairly decent meal at relatively reasonable prices. As always, there were some highlights and some not so memorable items. That's normal for any restaurant. Latitude is a decent option for late night eats and drinks along Main Street. Maybe we all need a drink after the the back-to-back deja vu loses to Boston. Hey, they came back to win the Chicago series, so you never know. Keep the faith, that's all we can do anyways.
- Decent drinks
- Food is not bad
- Hip interior
- Very limited menu
- Very limited space inside