Sherman's Food Adventures: Maizal RMF

Maizal RMF

There was a time when we could count on one hand the selection of Mexican Restaurants we could choose from in the GVRD.  Of those, there weren't a whole lot of "real Mexican food", rather we had an interpretation of Mexican food.  To be fair, Vancouver was probably not ready for RMF anyways.  Recently, I was invited to try some of the eats at Maizal RMF (yep, it stands for real Mexican food) on Main Street.  The place has been open for about 3 years and is family run.  It may not be as sexy as say La Taqueria or Le Mezcaleria, but it serves up honest home-style authentic Mexican food.

There was no doubt we would be trying their Tacos and so we did with all of them!  Now everyone knows that a good taco starts with a solid tortilla.  They take things seriously here as they make them fresh to order.  Our first set was served on blue corn tortillas topped with Barbacoa, Pastor, Carnitas and Chicken.  All of them featured meats that were moist and tender.  This is not always the case with tacos I've had in the past.  Some have argued that Mexican cuisine tends to have drier meats, but I would like to challenge that as I've had otherwise in Mexico itself.  Anyways, I particularly liked the carnitas with the creamy avocado on top as well as the airy and crispy chicharr√≥n.  Our next set of tacos were served atop corn tortillas consisting of Chipotle Chicken, Beans, Chicken Mole and Pescado.  I would've liked to see a bigger piece of fish, but the pescado was fresh and bright due to the salsa.  I found the fish to be crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside.  Interestingly, my favourite of the bunch was the beans due to the richness and spice of the flavour profile.  The meatiness of the beans negated the fact there was no meat.

On that note, our next two tacos were also vegetarian being the Plantain and Tofu Verde.  Featuring roasted plantain, rice, beans, pico de gallo, sour cream and fresco cheese, this taco was not devoid of body nor texture.  I found the plantain to be firm enough without being too hard or stiff.    There was so much of it, the taco itself was rather filling.  Naturally, it was a touch on the sweeter side, but since plantains aren't incredibly sweet on their own, there was balance.  Loved the texture of the fried tofu puffs and the green sauce was pleasant, but there was an aftertaste that didn't really scream out Mexican.  Maybe frying regular tofu on the flattop might've worked better.  Our last set of tacos were the Shrimp with rice, pineapple and black bean.  This was predominantly sweet with some spice that worked well with the perfectly cooked shrimp.  The rice and beans helped balance out the sweetness.

Something new to the menu (not even on their website), they are featuring brunch items and we sampled the Chilaquiles and Sopes.  I found the chilaquiles plenty flavourful from the ample sauce.  At the same time, it did soften up quickly due to the thin cut.  Eggs were perfectly fried with runny yolks.  The sopes were topped with salda verde and sour cream which allowed for brightness to balance off the robust texture of the sopes.   Another item off their regular menu that we tried was the Chicken Flautas with served with beans, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, red and green salsa.  Essentially two crispy rolled tacos, these sported plenty of shredded chicken.  Possibly due to the frying, it wasn't as moist as the chicken we found in the tacos.  No matter, it was till good where there was plenty of ingredients to create a hearty meal.  With that said, maybe a little less saucing would've kept them crispier for longer too.

Almost an afterthought, theTorta was one of my favourite items of the meal.  Beyond the savoury and meaty barbacoa, the star of the show was the bread and its preparation.  Light and airy, the bread was toasted just enough that it was crusty and provided so much appealing texture.  It also succeeded in keeping the whole thing together while retaining its original texture despite the wet ingredients.  Onto the sweets of the meal, we had the Churros with ice cream.  These were pretty much textbook with a uniform shape and consistent crunchiness on the outside.  They were fried in oil that was hot enough so that there was little absorption.  Inside, there was a light fluffy chewiness.  There was enough cinnamon sugar for effect without being overwhelming.

Last but certainly not least, their version of a Tres Leche Cake was a lot lighter due to the use of a Japanese-style angel food cake as the base.  Soaked in just enough of the 3 milk mixture, it was moist and purposefully sweet and aromatic.  Loved the nuts on top as it added both texture and nuttiness.  Wish there was more though.  Overall, the food at Maizal is fresh and prepared with pride.  The food definitely reflects the influence from Rodrigo's mother.  As mentioned, Maizal may not have the cachet as some of the other higher profile Mexican spots in town, but it does dish up authentic eats at a reasonable price.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- House-made tortillas
- Solid home-style cooking
- Super nice people

The Bad:
- Chilaquiles could've been crispier


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