Friday, September 25, 2015

Let's Eat at El Mercado Las Palapas

Wow! What a transformation. It’s been a while since I’ve dropped in at El Mercado Las Palapas on Broadway, and I hadn’t realized that it had become a restaurant as well as a store. But it makes sense. After all, the store is owned by the same people who own Las Palapas Restaurant. And the store always sold lots of Mexican food products.

The bold, bright colours of the tables and chairs in the window seating area will cheer you up on the even darkest, dreariest day. And so will the food.

I had tacos stuffed with Vegetarian Scramble – scrambled eggs tofu with mushrooms and a variety of other vegetables – prepared on the spot by John. You can add your own salsa, giving you the choice of mild, medium or hot. The tacos are fairly small, so they’d make a great mid-afternoon snack as well as a light lunch.

You can also order Tortas on multigrain whole wheat buns or Molletes, open-faced sandwiches topped with broiled cheese. And you can eat in or order take-out.

Next time I plan to try the Waffled Churros. They didn’t want to install a deep fryer, so the churros are baked in a waffle iron and then rolled in Mexican cinnamon sugar.

I had a glass of Agua Fresca, an iced tea made with hibiscus blossoms sweetened with a little brown sugar and orange juice. Another option would be a Mexican pop made with cane sugar rather than corn syrup. Or you could have a Mexican hot chocolate or Mexican fair trade coffee.

El Mercado also has a breakfast menu. You can build your own Tacos or Molletes from a variety of different ingredients (scrambled egg, fried potatoes, refried black beans, cheese).

Every Tuesday there’s a feature taco that’s not on the menu. One week it’s vegetarian, the next it isn’t.

The menu is exclusive to the store although the flavours are similar to those at Las Palapas restaurant.

While you’re there, check out the merchandise. Nadine, the store’s manager, says that if a customer asks for something, she’ll try and find it. Now that they have a freezer, they’ve been able to add banana leaves for tamales and frozen empañada dough to their assortment of Mexican food products. (The freezer is out back: just ask.)

My thanks to Nadine for inviting me to lunch. It was delicious.

PS Here’s an article I wrote about El Mercado Las Palapas when it first opened.

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