Here’s a weird fact about me: up until recently, I had not eaten Mexican food outside of Mexico. Home made burritos and drunk nachos don’t count.
How crazy is this? I love Mexican food. Tequila is my friend. I happen to think I look good in a sombrero. And yet, save for a burrito here and there, I hadn’t sampled what my Mexican-Canadian (/Australian) compadres had to offer me.
A visit to Rancho Relaxo on College St quickly fixed that. I’ll be blunt: from the outside, this place looks like a dive. If I didn’t have a Groupon for it, I probably never would have set foot in there. Don’t judge a book by its cover, guys – inside, it’s decked out in Mexican decorations and has a welcoming, homely feel.
We immediately ordered margaritas (they were only $6. Ole!) and were served some yummy chips with some average salsa to start. D ordered the chicken burrito ($10.95), and I initially ordered the mole chicken enchiladas ($10.95), without sour cream and cheese (homegirl been eatin’ too many cakes). This dish came with two enchiladas, and our friendly waitress suggested I ordered one mole and one salsa, as the mole flavour could be quite overpowering without the dairy to cut through the flavour. I appreciated the suggestion and decided on a green salsa enchilada to go with the mole.
D’s burrito arrived and we resisted the urge to do bicep curls with it. This baby was big – and delicious (but filling). The doughy tortilla contained thick chunks of tender, lean chicken. Coupled with rice, salad, and refried beans on the side, this was one big meal.
The waitress was right – my mole enchilada did indeed have a very powerful flavour, but it was one that I liked. The mole sauce was rich, smooth, and smokey, with a bitter cocoa taste at the end. The green salsa enchilada was just ok; I think a little bit more spice would have improved it. The refried beans on the side were terrific, and the rice was fine. I mean, it’s rice; how often do you put down your fork and exclaim, “dear God. This is the best rice I’ve ever had!” You get it.
To finish off we shared a Pina Colada (also $6. Ridiclous!). This was very good; creamy and sweet, but not sickly.
It’s worth it to note that Rancho Relaxo cater to our vegan and celiac friends. We eavesdropped on a conversation at the next table, and it seemed that any vegan/celiac-related request would be met with a smile and no problem at all.
In my opinion, this was pretty authentic Mexican. It’s cheap, the portions are huge, and the service is friendly and helpful. Turns out you can get dirty cheap margaritas and good tacos outside of Cancun.
300 College St, Toronto (College & Spadina)