Dos Caminos (New York, US)

Dos Caminos Interior
Inside Dos Caminos**

Dos Caminos is a chain of Mexican restaurants with several locations in New York. I passed by the Times Square one when I saw a sign with a specific mention of a vegan taco (served with vegan cream!). So I knew I had to check it out!

Dos Caminos is a bar and restaurant. It prides itself on having many different types of tequila, and the food served is Mexican, both street-food style and classic dishes. They also do delivery and take-away.

Dos Caminos interior

Dos Caminos has a brunch, lunch and dinner menu, but I believe the latter two are about the same. The menu is quite extensive, and at first glance not very vegetarian/vegan-friendly: the dinner menu is divided as follows: a guacamole section (several veg*n options), seafood dishes, street-food (several vegetarian options), taco’s (1 vegetarian that can be made vegan), traditional plates (1 vegetarian option), house specialities (no vegetarian options) and sides. There were some salads that seem vegan-isable too. I was happy to spot empanadas too, but unfortunately they cannot be made vegan.

Nachos at Dos Caminos
Nachos with three salsas

I was not surprised by the lack of vegan options, since the Middle-American cuisines tend to be pretty meat heavy and I came for the taco’s anyway 🙂

We started with the nachos with 3 salsas from the guacamole part of the menu. We expected there to be in fact guacamole, but we got indeed nacho chips and 3 salsa’s, but no guac! It seems that the guacamole here just means that it is a starter of some sort. The salsa’s were quite liquid-y and a bit sauce-like rather than chunky. They tasted okay, a bit spicy as expected. The nacho chips were nice, and we actually got a free refill since we were still snacking on them while waiting for our mains. So in true American style we took some home 🙂

Vegan tacos at Dos Caminos
Tacos with vegan cream served on some artsy contraption

The vegan tacos come in a set of 3 and are served on some metal construction, a bit strange, but I guess it is to keep their shape. It was not very easy to eat from though (#wewantplates). The filling consists of mushrooms, guacamole, onions, tomatoes, vegan cotija cheese and vegan cream. The filling is a bit spicy, but definitively not too much. It is also possible to order the tacos as a bowl, but I prefer the original format:)

Sides at Dos Caminos
Papas fritas with mole ketchup and plantains!

For sides we also tried the sweet plantains and ‘papas fritas’ with mole sauce. The plantains are very nice, and the ‘papas fritas’ (which are fries) nicely crisped, but needed some extra salt. This may sound like a weird combination with taco’s but we wanted to test some different things!

Papas Fritas as Dos Caminos

Unfortunately there are no vegan desserts available. Overall Dos Caminos was a nice place to have some taco’s and huge amounts of nachos. I am sure that in New York there are many more places to find good Mexican food though.

Type of place: Mexican restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no

Website (English): https://www.doscaminos.com/

** When editing the pictures for this post I noticed a lot were not properly focussed and very dark 😦

Taco Rico (Geneva, Switzerland)

Sign outside Taco Rico

Fresh, quick, authentic, delicious. That is how Taco Rico, a TexMex bistro in Geneva (at two locations) describes themselves. I cannot vouch for the third point, but the rest seems very much true.

Interior at Taco Rico

A while ago I wrote about the Burrito Brothers and there are some interesting parallels between the origin stories of both these places. The Burrito Brothers was founded by two Mexican-born, California-raised brothers. Taco Rico was inspired by a Swiss person staying in New York, who, after eating a delicious Mexican meal, decides to open a Mexican restaurant in Geneva since such a thing didn’t exist yet. The staff at Taco Rico was trained by a Mexican chef, and all food is home-made. The founders’ family also work in the restaurant.

Taco Rico
Ingredients for the filling the tacos

The ambiance of the place is quite nice, with cheerful 80s-90s music (a tad loud maybe). There is some nice art on the wall and comfortable seats. On the menu you can find the usual suspects; burritos (also available as salad), tacos, quesadillas and nachos. The nice thing is that for both the burrito and the taco a vegan *and* a vegetarian option is possible. Many burrito places offer just a vegetarian option!

Nachos with guacamole at Taco Rico
Nachos with guac because of course

When I visited I tried the vegan version of the burrito and the tacos, and nachos with guacamole. The filling is the same in both cases: basically everything that is available that is vegan, so rice, beans, corn, a bit of salad, tomato, onion, guacamole and peppers (you can pick & choose the ingredients as you prefer).  The spicy sauce is also optional, and there are several hot sauces available if you decide you need more spiciness. The burrito is pretty expertly wrapped, almost nothing fell out!

Burrito at Taco Rico
Expertly wrapped burrito with all the fillings

For drinks there are the soft-drinks, coffee, tea, beers and even Margarita’s. They serve some desserts, but nothing vegan.

Tacos at Taco Rico
Tacos!

Obviously, I cannot help but comparing Taco Rico with Burrito Brothers, since both places serve quite similar food at a similar price point. The variety of ingredients at the Burrito Brothers is larger, they have for example mushrooms as well, but they only have pre-defined combinations (obviously you can ask for stuff to be left out). For me, the big downside is that you have to pay (quite some) extra for guacamole, even if you leave out the cheese and sour cream from the vegetarian options.  Personally I preferred the ambiance at Taco Rico, it was just a bit less fast-foody, there is more space to sit and the chairs are more comfortable.

Hot sauces at Taco Rico
Need more spice?
Type of place:  Tex-mex Restaurant/take-out
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no

Website (French) : http://www.tacorico.ch/index.html

Burrito Brothers (Geneva, Switzerland)

The Burrito Brothers is a Swiss chain founded by Mexican-born and California-raised brothers. The dishes on offer reflect this heritage; a mix of Mexican recipes mixed with Californian street food style. Most of their dishes are meat-based but there are several vegetarian options which can be easily be prepared fully vegan. They do take–out as well.

In general, the Mexican cuisine is said to be easily ‘veganisable’. I haven’t eaten a lot of proper Mexican food, so I cannot really vouch for that, but that is something to keep in mind !

Table at Burrito Brothers in Geneva showing hot spicy sauces
Hot sauces at Burrito Brothers, Geneva

I have visited the Geneva and EPFL campus locations. The Burrito Brothers at the EPFL campus is in a food-court type space, so the sitting area is shared with several other restaurants. The Geneva location offers a more relaxed eating experience. You order downstairs, where the food is prepared, and there is a small area upstairs with tables. The food is then brought up to your table. The idea of the Burrito Brothers is very much street-style, so the food comes wrapped, in small baskets and you have to get your own utensils. The preparation is also very fast, in line with that philosophy.

The staff at the Geneva location were very pleasant and accommodating both times I visited. They are also quite knowledgeable; when I asked for the vegetarian burrito without sour cream and cheese they correctly deduced I was vegan 🙂  I have tried both vegetarian burritos (the Berkeley and the Presidio) in a vegan version (sour cream &  cheese replaced by guacamole) and the nachos with guacamole.

The first time I visited I believe I didn’t have to pay extra for subbing sour cream/cheese for guacamole, but the few times I visited after I had to pay 2.50Chf for the “added” guacamole, which is a bit unfortunate.

Nachos with guacamole at Burrito Brothers
Nachos with guacamole

Both the Presidio and the Berkeley have a base filling of rice, black beans, corn and pico de gallo. The Presidio has mushrooms in epazote (a type of Mexican herb) and the Berkeley has peppers and onions in addition to the base. While only the Berkeley is mentioned on the menu in the small “baby burrito” version, the staff were fine with making the Presidio as a small version too. The first time we went I was very hungry, but having half the nachos+guacamole plate and a normal-sized burrito was quite a lot of food! The next time we opted for the nachos+guac with two baby burritos (for two people) instead. So just a heads-up, you won’t leave this place hungry.

 

Wrapped burrito Berkely at Burrito Brothers
Baby burrito Berkely

I have not yet tried the soft taco plate or the salad, which might be made vegan. The quasadillas are always made with cheese, which is not so surprising:)

In addition they also offer some interesting drinks from the German soft-drink brand Fritz Kola with e.g. sparkly melon flavour. They also offer their burrito in bowl-form, so without the wrap, as a gluten-free option.

Type of place: Burrito Restaurant/Take out
Completely vegan: no

Website (English, French, German) : http://www.burritobrothers.ch/