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Bandidas Taqueria

"I want to eat meat" is what Father D proclaimed as we were leaving Downtown. For a fleeting moment, I thought of heading to Samba; but we weren't that hungry. Besides, I was already robbed by the parking meter of all my spare change. I wanted to leave Downtown pronto! I figured we could go to the Brave Bull; yet it was not open for lunch. So there we were driving down Commercial Drive looking for eats. We drove right past Memphis Blues, Vera's and ended up at Bandidas. Uh... isn't that a vegetarian joint? Yup, I brought Father D to a veggie place when he wanted meat. And worst of all, I had to park at a meter. Scrounging up all the loose change I had left, which were mostly dimes, I fed the meter enough for 40 minutes. Well, we'd have to eat fast.

As mentioned, Bandidas is a vegetarian restaurant specializing in Mexican food. So instead of ground beef, we find tofu. That didn't sound all that appetizing to Father D. I'm not even sure if I did a good job in making tofu look good. I think I mentioned that it tasted like linoleum... Hey, I'm into tofu and wasn't all that concerned. We started sharing 4 soft tacos - 2 each of the Leona Gayle and the Camillo. Consisting of smoky-sweet chipotle organic tofu, pinto beans, cheese, roasted red salsa, romaine lettuce & sour cream, the Leona Gayle was okay, but not as flavourful as the ingredients would suggest. I personally wasn't a big fan of the corn tortilla, it was dry and hard. However, I really liked the Camillo with its spicy breaded walnuts, pinto beans, cheese, purple cabbage, fresh red salsa and sour cream. For me, it was the crunchy walnuts that made the taco. Just the texture and sweetness was all it needed.

For my main, I had Dave's Enchilada filled with jack cheese and sweet chipotle tofu topped by a house-made mole. From what I could taste of the mole, it was slightly smoky and sweet. The flavour from the tofu detracted from the mole; but not in a bad way. I really enjoyed the tofu (didn't miss the meat). Father D had the Heuvas Rancheros which consisted of 2 free range eggs on corn tortillas with ranchera sauce, sour cream, pinto beans, roasted yams and potatoes. Although everything on the plate was good, he wasn't a huge fan of the sauce. The whole thing became a bit watery. Like me, he wasn't a big fan of the tortilla; but he did really like the potatoes. By virtue of being meat fans, we were okay with the meal; yet slightly indifferent. We could see why Bandidas is so popular with its big portions, creative use of veggie ingredients and energetic vibe.

The Good:
- Healthy portions
- The place has a nice vibe
- Creative uses of non-meat items

The Bad:
- Not as flavourful as we would've hoped
- Service is a bit sparse
- A bit unrefined (and it really isn't supposed to be either)

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