Salsa and Agave Mexican Grill: Amazing Mole and Thick and Tasty Corn Tortillas to Match
1223 Pacific Blvd., Vancouver, Canada
I finally got a chance to check out Salsa and Agave across the street from the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown.
We were famished so we ordered some soft tacos along with a couple of entrees. As we were waiting for our order, we were served some complimentary colourful and crispy tortilla chips with a sweet and mildly spicy salsa dip. Needless to say that we devoured these in less than a minute flat. We were that hungry. And the sweet, tangy salsa really whet our appetites for what came next.
We also ordered a couple of Horchatas (no, not the Vampire Weekend song): a beverage made of ground almonds, rice, barley with cinnamon, served with ice. It tasted like a cross between an iced chai latte and soy milk with cinnamon. I loved it. Thankfully, the dishes we ordered were not too spicy. But if they were, Horchatas would be the perfect cooling element.
First up, came our soft tacos: carnitas (soft pork) and lengua (beef tongue), each wrapped in two small corn tortillas. The double tortillas are very important to me, not just as a safety measure against leakage (I use a lot of lime) but also because I love the taste and texture of corn tortillas. La Taqueria also uses double tortillas.
The lengua was delicious, the meat was firmer than I would expect but still very moist. And these little tacos are really stuffed to the max with filling, I could barely hold mine closed as I was gobbling it.
The carnita taco was slightly more flavourful than the lengua but I think that’s because pork is more susceptible to picking up spicy flavours. The pork meat was more tender than the lengua, bits of it was literally melting in my mouth. The shredded texture of the pork meat also worked better to soak up the salsa and side of mole sauce we ordered.
Our next dish is one of my favourite Mexican dishes: mole poblano con pollo: chicken breast with chocolate mole sauce with a side of rice and beans and soft corn tortillas. It’s sort of a ‘make your own taco’ type of dish. The tortillas come to the table in a neat woven basket with a lid to keep warm. I love that the corn tortillas are thick and sturdy, great for holding a lot of filling and sauce.
The mole at Salsa and Agave is quite amazing, deeply rich, nutty, thick and creamy but also with a sprinkle of spice. It’s the best mole I’ve had so far.
Naturally, the chunks of chicken breast drenched in the mole sauce were tender and flavourful. It’s amazing how much better poultry soaks up spicy flavours than red meat.
The sides of rice and beans in this dish are definitely overpowered by the amazing mole sauce but they are wonderful substantial sides that round out the meal.
I ordered the chicken enchilada because I know Salsa and Agave is famous for it, and also because I wanted some melted cheese. And I was not disappointed. I chose a green tomato sauce with a side of mole but this dish can be served with just mole sauce or red tomato sauce.
Wrapped inside three fat corn tortillas was chicken, spices and some onions with a generous helping of green tomato sauce and a drizzle of sour cream and lots of melted cheese. All of my favourite ingredients on a plate.
I’m glad I ordered the enchiladas with the green tomato sauce as it gave the dish a fresh lightness to offset the cheese and sour cream (and gigantic chicken mole taco I had just finished eating).
The chicken inside the enchilada was tender and moist. There were some substantial pieces in there too. Salsa and Agave definitely does not skimp when it comes to filling.
The only thing I could have asked for was better cheese distribution. There was lots of melted cheese on top of the enchiladas. The only problem was that there was really only cheese on the first two enchiladas, I guess they forgot to sprinkle it on the third enchilada on the end. It wasn’t that noticeable only because the green tomato sauce and sour cream were so tasty. I also mixed in some mole sauce with a few bites and it really deepened the flavours and gave the enchiladas an extra kick.
I will definitely visit again. The service was fast and friendly and I am already craving another Horchata.