Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Local Mexican options tempt students

There is a lot of Mexican food in Walla Walla. Finding the absolute best is a job for a stronger, more Tapatio-loving girl than I. Instead, here are some highlights of two of the most popular restaurants in town, El Sombrero and Ti Kalli. I suggest you start your quest with them. For less formal eating, check out last week’s review of Walla Walla’s taco trucks.

El Sombrero:
Have you ever noticed how every night is someone’s birthday in Mexican restaurants? It’s true. Start paying attention. People cannot get enough of sopapillas and the giant sombrero. This time, the birthday was at a huge table across from me, which lent the entire night a more festive air. El Sombrero is cozy and kitschy, with terrible paintings of horses on the walls and peeling paint. There were no other Whitman students there at the time, which made it feel more like a family restaurant and less like a hangout. As for the food, it came incredibly fast (I mean like three people were all served four minutes after we ordered), and it was very messy and delicious. One of the friends I went with said, after noting the sauce surplus, “Yeah, but Mexican food that’s not messy should not be trusted.” So if you travel to El Sombrero, expect super trustworthy food, nice servers, bad paintings and someone’s birthday. It’s a little pricey for Mexican food, but there are some enormous appetizers that can be shared by up to six people. Also: Lots of options for vegetarians and people with their hearts set on American food.

Recommended: Super Big Nachos El Jefe, and the best horchata you’ll ever have. Expect to pay 8-10 dollars a meal without drinks.

Ti Kalli:
Ti Kalli also had very good food but is on many levels El Sombrero’s opposite. Yes, it was still someone’s birthday. However, while I was there I saw at least two tables full of Whitman students, and it’s not a very big restaurant. If you’re looking to eat in Walla Walla and not at a Whitman satellite, try somewhere else. Of course, there is a reason Whitties like it so much. It’s sophisticated and brightly lit, where Sombrero is cozy and mellow. The paintings are higher quality, which means the place looks neater but lacks down-home appeal. The price range is about the same as El Sombrero, but the portions are literally almost double the size. Most of the entrees could be split easily between two people. Probably due to the size, the food took longer to get to us.

Another critique I have is that there are never enough rice and beans on the side. There’s also never enough salsa. Both of those things are important to me, so I docked points. On the plus side, I ordered enchiladas en mole, and the sauce was homemade. The last time I was here the manager told us the story of how his wife makes it. Plus 10 for sincerity. Veg note: Lots of food for vegetarians, not a lot for vegans. Both Ti Kalli and El Sombrero offer cholesterol-free beans (not fried in lard).

Recommended: Ceviche, Enchiladas en Mole. Excellent choices for cocktails. Expect to pay 8-12 dollars per meal without drinks.

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