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Food & Drink

Fast Foodie: Vida Mia

Photo: Steven Gilmore, License: N/A

Steven Gilmore

Vida Mia's torta de pierna: pulled pork, avocado and Mexican crema on a toasted bun.

I recently saw a short video about an American food truck that's knocking 'em dead in Paris — it's simple fare, but done with an attention to quality and detail that's missing from most of our culinary exports. (It's amusing to watch the French try to eat a burger.) The same dedication to tradition can be found in some of the new, unpretentious imports from Mexico that have been appearing on the shores of Sonterra recently.

Vida Mia is a chain from Monterrey that's all gussied up in cute graphics and festive colors; the lingua franca among customers is not likely to be English. With prices topping out at around $13 for a Tampiqueña, it's not aiming high on the de lujo (deluxe) scale, but what it does do seems to generally hit the mark. On average, at least.

I suspect one has to have grown up with sopa de fideo, however. Vida Mia touts "grandma's recipe," and though I'm sure abuela was a sweetheart, I found the light broth, bean option with toasted, broken pasta to be, well, boring. I added salsa; there are two, and neither is boring at all.

An order of three sopes fared better, despite demi-doughy masa. A tinga-like chicken was my favorite topping, followed by simple beans with a tomatillo/jalapeño salsa verde and Chihuahua cheese. The picadillo version with ground beef was the least impressive, though the cubed and chile'd sautéed potatoes were a pleasant bonus. The same potatoes accompanied a torta de pierna, "Mexico's most eaten sandwich." Presented in a toasted bun, the torta featured pulled pork, avocado, the thickish Mexican crema and if you chose to add it (go ahead), some knee-jerk shredded lettuce and cubed tomato. You should also make it known that you are a fan of chipotle sauce. It will be served on the side and is an excellent addition to an already very good sandwich.

The real surprise at VM, however, was the fish ceviche. True, it came with cubed piña, not the advertised mango, but that hardly diminished a dish that was impeccable in its texture, its flavors and its freshness. There's just enough fresh chile, and it's a delight to be served tiny tostadas in place of the usual saltines. A small and wonderfully flaky empanada (I chose cajeta) made for an appropriate bocadito at meal's end. The daily lunch specials actually do look special.

Vida Mia

19141 Stone Oak, Ste 803
(210) 490-2011

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