Our good friend Aaron, the Mystic Merman, always tells us about the greatest secret spots around town- we trust his recommendations, from vegan eats to hiking trails. He told us about Casa de Luz, he took us to Lotus Cafe, and he once mentioned a “vegan Mexican place” as it’s been elusively known around the house. Until today. We decided we had to know, we had to go. Luckily, I got a hold of Aaron and he explained that he knows Marcos Mouet who made his dream come true of owning Ranchos Cocina, a restaurant in Ocean Beach that serves fresh, mostly organic, home-made Mexican cuisine.
We all enjoyed our visit immensely. While it’s not a vegan restaurant by any means, they’re known all over town because their servers all speak vegan! Their menu indicates which selections can be made vegan or vegetarian and they offer vegan cheese, soy chorizo, and vegan chicken! All of us enjoyed the range of raw and vegan selections. Twice I’ve enjoyed their Rancho Escoba Salad, a sort of Mexican slaw with cabbage, greens, avocado, red peppers and onions with a wonderfully tangy house vinaigrette which was really fresh and delicious. I like to add black beans, and some of their delicious salsa from the table as well.
We eat so well with Ken making our meals at home, it’s honestly hard to get our value’s worth anymore when we go out, and it can be such an uncomfortable experience because we feel like the “difficult table” that needs a million sides and exceptions to make it vegan and still getting a full meal. But we still like to go out, socialize with friends and lead a normal life despite our diet being different than the restaurant scene norm. Now when we go out I decide right away to see my splurge meal as more just the enjoyment and experience of eating out and visiting rather than making the food the whole experience- I don’t do that at home and I always enjoy the meal. So before I see the menu, I’ve already made the decision I’ll eat the lightest thing on the menu- and if I need to, I’ll get two side salads or raw appetizers. It’s nice to be able to have a delicious full meal, and to have found a place where our friends and family all love meeting because it’s just really good, authentic Mexican food at really reasonable prices.
That dream of making nutritious and delicious food from scratch began when he was a young man in his 20s. He had fond memories of this time, before refrigeration, when most people lived on “Ranchos” and grew their own food. Thus, the restaurant Ranchos was opened with the traditional spirit of the “Ranchos” of Mexico. As Marcos always says, “Let’s get back to Ranchos!” His continuing vision of creating a real “Rancho” is on the drawing table. This will be a place where people can re-connect to the delectable visions and aromas of the fertile soil and feel the spirit of what living with nature is like. ~ Ranchos
After reading The Jungle Effect, I was convinced that the way we used to eat is far superior to the way we now eat. I loved the traditional recipes that were included in the book, and appreciated the in-depth modern-day explanation of the true wisdom of different ancient peoples and native cultures. Then when I read Born to Run, I was so fascinated with the Tarahumara tribe and the traditions that surround it. This was my favorite read of 2011, as it reads like an adventure-mystery, a true story of amazing athletes who can run all day long practically barefoot. And growing up in Southern California, I learned to make adobe bricks in school and took field trips to missions and Old Town. Add to that my mom’s love of salsa and making tacos, burritos and tostadas on a weekly basis with cilantro, peppers and tomatoes from the garden, and you might start to understand my love of all things South of the Border. So it’s easy to understand why I love and support the vision of building the ultimate Rancho here. There are really neat old photos of Mexico on the walls in the North Park location. But we all really love the Ocean Beach location too because it is very open and gets plenty of natural light. Basically whenever we’re near, within 40 miles, Joel’s mouth starts watering and he’ll eat my arm off unless we take him to Ranchos for vegan nachos. It’s a bold statement from anyone, but if you know Joel, you know that his nod for “best nachos” is not easy to come by. He emphasized that I would need to include the fact that Ranchos has the best vegan nachos ever.