Monday, December 28, 2009

It's No Secret: The Gardens of Taxco, West Hollywood

My beach volleyball partner and fellow ex-AVP pro beach volleyball tour intern, Trisha, took me out to dinner in celebration of my prime: 29 years. I got, what I thought to be, some special lottery coupon sent to the previous tenant for a "Buy One Get One Free" dealio to the Gardens of Taxco. It turns out they send (email spam) those to everyone on their mailing list, so the guy before really wasn't that special. But the deal was good, and Trisha is a starving law school student and fellow lover of Mexican cuisine, and WeHo was a good meeting spot between Brentwood and Los Feliz.

The valet was $3. My friend was running late so they gave me a freshly whipped margarita while I waited in the foyer. The margaritas are wine based so they don't hit quite as hard as the vive cuervo kind; Taxco's are smooth, mellow and on the sweet side. This made me happy.

Our waiter inevitably sold us on a pitcher of margaritas, which we actually couldn't finish even half, but then again I was pretty much the only one drinking. He also brought us a complimentary bowl of slightly spicy pickled veggies to start with. I was partial to the white veggies: the juicy jicama and the crunchy cauliflower.

The waiter went on to give soliloquy of the menu, first asking what kind of meat we preferred (me, vegetarian, Trisha, beef). He described the dishes with a cheeseiness passion:
"The chicken comes in a sauce like it was born in it!"
Since we decided pretty quickly on our proteins, the man didn't waste his breath singing the rest of the menu (which we heard him belt out for the neighboring dinners).
Our first course was a single wedge of textbook cheese quesadilla with a dab of guacamole, served at proper temperature - cheese perfectly melted. One wedge was enough to whet our pallets.

Next came the soup. It was a sopa de albondigas, which I've had before many times while living in Michoacan: a meatball soup with clear broth and veggies. Nothing crazy, except mine was sans meatball since I choose my vegetarian destiny for the night. Just a slightly salty mass produced veggie, brothy soup that I'm sure anyone's grandmother can put to shame.

The next course was a zucchini taquito for me and a shredded beef taquito with cheesy sauce for Trisha. I was really happy I went vegetarian. My taquito was made well: with delicate slices of zucchini and good amounts of my favorite fattening fruit, the avocado, and a dab of crema. It wasn't overly greasy allowing me to appreciate the prominent flavors of the green squash. Trisha's taquito, on the other hand, looked like a death sentence.

Our mains came next: mine was the one spinach enchilada and one mixed veggie enchilada. The spinach mixture inside was fresh and dense with spinach and not an overdose of queso. It was very refreshing to cut a piece off and not see ooozing cheese. The cream of cilantro sauce on top was a perfect compliment of the spinach. The mixed veggie version had a bit more spice and was quite wholesome as well.

Carne Asada: Trisha was offered A LOT of meat.

The waiter was quick to remove our plates and bring the house dessert offering of a simple banana pudding dish and shot of sipping sherry to go with it. The banana pudding, by no means cloyingly sweet, consisted of fresh banana slices in a slightly sour and runny Mexican crema mixture - and I liked it in between sips of sherry.

Psssssst! If you go to their website, you can get a deal for $14.99 for the entire 5 course meal.
Gardens of Taxco
1113 N Harper Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 645-1746


Diana said...

I think if I ever go back here (went once a couple years ago and got the chicken mole), I'm going veggie all the way! That spinach enchilada sounds super yum!

Banana Wonder said...

Diana, the veggie was where it's at! The meat all looked kind of scary.

sku said...

Nice review. I don't think this place has changed in decades. Right down to the "tastes like it was born in the sauce," which always seemed sort of gross to me...what does amniotic fluid taste like?

Banana Wonder said...

Sku, Greetings! And thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I don't think that "taste like it was born in it" line is too appetizing.