La Vaquita in Durham, NC - new location open
The taco cow has calved... and it's very good. As I was leaving the Kroger shopping center (intersection of LaSalle and Hillsborough Rds in Durham) today I happened to spot a banner in front of the Best Burrito (the BB sign is still there) announcing the grand opening of La Vaquita II. So of course I came to a screeching halt and went in. The place was deserted at 7 pm -- maybe because though they've been open a month, it only just occured to them to hang up a sign announcing that this was La Vaquita, no longer Best Burrito.
The owner was friendly and recommended I try the enchiladas poblanas ($9.50) or bistec a la mexicana ($9) or pollo a la crema ($9). I got the enchiladas and they were excellent, smothered in a most delicious and complex mole sauce, some of the best I've tried. I sampled a couple of drinks - jamaica (hibiscus flower) and tamarindo. Both tasted freshly made, and, amazingly, were not over-sweetened. Just the right balance of tartness and sweetness. He even brought out a tamarind pod and hibiscus flower to show me what they were made from.
The La Vaquita website (http://lavaquitanc.com/) doesn't have any mention yet of the new location. Prices are a little higher: $2 tacos vs $1.50 at the taco cow. The new location has an extensive menu, slightly different from the online version, and lunch specials.
The new location is an exciting development for those of us who work at Duke! The atmosphere is a bit fast food-like (this location used to be a franchise sub place) but it's great to be able to sample La Vaquita deliciousness and not have to stand up in a parking lot.
Location: 3409 Hillsborough Rd., Durham, NC 27705 (at the LaSalle St. entrance of the shopping center)
Actually, the prices at La Vaquita #2 are exactly the same as at the #1 store. The tacos have been $2.00 at the original taco cow for a while now. In fact, with the exception of a menu specific to lunch hours, La Vaquita #2 has exactly the same menu as store #1 and everything tastes just as good too.
I went to store #2 for a site down meal a few weeks ago and ordered the heavenly tamale. When it came out, it was every bit as good as the one made at store #1, the only difference was that it was served without the banana leaf wrap still on it. Holy tamale, that thing is good.
La Vaquita #2 was terrible!
I dont say this lightly:
I went there this Saturday night and wont be back. Period.
The food and service were terrible:
1. The red salsa was sweet
2. Green salsa was bland and with no kick to it
3. The beans were tasteless and the rice looked like "boil in bag"
Add poor service and this is a recipe for disaster.
I was very dissapointing after all the rave revues here and in Google, but if this is the best Durham has to offer as far as Mexican food goes, we have a looong way to go.
I had a radically different experience. Their tamales with a spicy chicken filling and steamed in banana leaves, are among the best in town. The tacos al pastor, while not as good as Los Comales, were decent. The guacamole and chips were very good as well.
2103 N Roxboro St, Durham, NC 27704
Just had lunch there today and I thought it was great! Their lengua is the best. It's true that the green salsa won't set your head on fire, but it's got that great tomatillo tang.