4140 Meridian Street
I love to eat at ethnic hole-in-the-wall restaurants. These little joints plug away making tasty food oblivious to the ongoing debates about culinary authenticity and ethnicity. This insulation from such gastronomic banter is what makes good holes-in-the-wall so endearing and finding them such a satisfying experience. One such place is the humble La Gloria – part restaurant and part grocery store – located just south of the 49th parallel in Bellingham WA.
It is no secret that Vancouver has dearth of decent Mexican food. It is an issue of demographics and immigration patterns, of course. We just do not have the population of Mexican immigrants to support many authentic Mexican restaurants. La Gloria serves some of the tastiest and most authentic Mexican food within a day’s drive of Vancouver.
The concise menu sticks to the standards: tacos, chili rellenos, tamales, mole, pozole…that sort of thing. Everything we have had there was very well executed. The tacos (which were well priced at $1.50 each) were excellent – the carnitas were a proper flavourful “greasy” confit of pork, the chorizo tasted bright and fresh, and lengua was tender and mild. The corn tortillas were soft and fresh. The chile relleno is also quite good – having a nice toasty charred flavour imparted by the process of flaming and peeling of the Poblano pepper’s skin.
La Gloria is also a well stocked Mexican grocery. In my most recent visit there, I was with my father who lived in Los Angeles in my youth (my family kept two residences back then – one here in Vancouver and one in LA). He was elated to find proper freshly made chicharonnes. He immediately purchased 5 pounds of chicharron….and two cases of Mexican Coke.