Mexican for less


Jessie Warren

Hunter enjoys her companion’s meal

Sadly, Vermont has a small selection of authentic Mexican restaurants, with the abundance being in Burlington. While going on my hunt for Mexican food, I particularly wanted fare that came with sides and was relatively cheap. My search led me to Bueno y Sano on College Street.

I got into Burlington around 8 p.m. and was rushing to get to the restaurant as it closed down for the night at 9 p.m. Bueno y Sano is located on upper College Street off of Church Street, next to The Stone Soup. My companion and I got to the door and were very surprised to see a packed restaurant.

The restaurant was more long than wide and had seating on both sides of each wall. Every table was filled with college students chowing down, which indicated the food was popular and appealing to my age group. The walls were covered in Vermont-esque art, ranging from farm scenes to whimsical scenes of Church Street and Lake Champlain.

Two men were behind the counter, taking orders and grilling. I marched up to the counter already knowing what I wanted: A quesadilla stuffed with cheese, sauteed spinach and garlic. On the side came pico de gallo, sour cream, black beans and rice . . . all for $7.

My friend ordered a burrito stuffed with pico de gallo, black beans, rice, lettuce, mild sauce and guacamole. We threw in a Heady Topper and another drink and her order was complete for under $10 as well.

Within 10 minutes most of the college kid influx had vacated and we got a big table all to ourselves. We had a short wait of about 10 minutes and our food was served on large tin platters.

My quesadilla, along with the sides, took up the entire platter. It was already pre-cut for me — which was very helpful — and I could smell the aroma of sauteed garlic. I piled all of my sides onto my quesadilla and went to work from there. The pico de gallo was fresh and the tomato and cilantro was very present and definitely homemade. The sour cream was also very light, with almost the consistency of a yogurt.

The possibilities are endless at Bueno y Sano because they have over 10 different toppings to fill in tacos, burritos or quesadillas. Interesting toppings include chipotle chicken, pulled pork, beef chili, grilled zucchini, and chickpea and red curry.

My personal affection for Bueno y Sano came from the fact that they have vegan options. You can stuff anything with marinated tofu, chickpeas, and grilled or BBQ marinated seitan, as well as veggies. These fancy extras are only $1 extra.

After our meal, the restaurant had a simple bussing system to break down our trays. We thanked them one last time and headed off to Church Street to finish our night. Thank God for Burlington, or I would have been stuck in Lamoille County with the same three food choices: pizza, Chinese or wings.