Sunday, May 18, 2014

Vive Sol


Locations: Palo Alto and Mountain View, CA

Food: Mexican/Comida Poblana

Close to: Lucie Stern Theatre (Palo Alto), Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts (Mountain View)

South Bay mainstay Vive Sol has been bringing delicious, authentic Mexican food to California for several decades now. The restaurant departs from the apparent binary of either takeout or experimental nouveau cuisine to serve upscale, old-fashioned meals that delight and satisfy.

Vive Sol’s menu is specifically Comida Poblana, food from a south-central region in Mexico known as Puebla, a stop for traders from both Asia and Europe. This gave the area a fascinating and varied set of traditional dishes. Visitors to Vive Sol will find that many of the items on the menu are substantially different from the Mexican-American blend offered by many other restaurants, offering their own flavor experience.

The restaurant’s specialty is the enchilada, and there is a great variety of enchiladas to choose from. The most popular item is the Enchiladas Al Sol ($13.95), a combination of one enchilada covered in creamy cheese sauce and another in sweet-spicy mole. My personal favorite is the Enchiladas Verdes ($13.95), which employ a tangy green tomatillo sauce. Most of these dishes come with a hearty amount of seasoned rice and beans, and you can choose your own protein, including a vegetarian cheese enchilada.

Vive Sol also offers the “De La Plaza Mayor” plate, a selection of two items from a menu for $13, alongside rice and beans. If you want to try a few items without breaking your stomach or wallet, this is an excellent choice; one of the options is an Enchilada Verde and is highly recommended. The other three depend on your taste: Whether you want a mild quesadilla or a chile relleno is up to you.

There are two locations, “Vive Sol” on El Camino near Mountain View and “Palo Alto Sol” in Palo Alto’s California Avenue shopping district. Each has their benefits and disadvantages: The Mountain View location is harder to access but is beautiful and has lots of seating, while the Palo Alto location is surrounded by parking but may have a large number of small children in the evenings. Which one you choose depends on your circumstances, but both of them offer an unparalleled Comida Poblana dining experience.

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