My niece and her long time boyfriend finally got engaged. He was born in Mexico to American missionary parents, and has a knack for finding solid Mexican food. While in Jacksonville I gave them a call and asked if they wanted to meet up for lunch. They agreed, and suggested we check out El Sol de Mexico on Lane Avenue. I punched the address into my phone and was the first to arrive.
The restaurant sits in a small shopping plaza. A pool hall sits at one end, along with a scooter shop, and a pet groomer. The parking lot was largely deserted, except for a few people using the drive thru ATM. The only patron I saw walk in was a man with a limp and a shaggy mullet. The front of the restaurant was marked by a series of small Latin American flags and a simple sign. Several Mexican flags hung in the windows, along with some fake cardboard bricks and a few empty boxes. It looked fairly shady and I could not wait to check out the inside.
Sam and David eventually arrived and we walked into the restaurant. The mullet man was eating a bowl of soup. We took a seat in an electric blue booth right behind him. The restaurant was eclectically decorated and shared space with a small store. On one side you can order authentic Mexican food, while on the other you can buy a knock-off DVD, get a Cruz Azul soccer jersey, and shoot a game of pool. The walls were bright orange and sun sculptures hung on the walls. A fading projection TV played a Mexican soap opera.
A waitress came over and took our order. The tacos al pastor were highly recommended, and I ordered two of them along with a carnitas torta. A bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola completed the meal. Sam and David ordered some tacos along with a bean quesadilla. A short time after placing our order the food appeared and was brought to the table by the same friendly waitress.
The tacos were served in a small paper lined basket. Corn tortillas were topped with a generous amount of the spit carved pork, covered with a heap of fresh cilantro, and served with a lime wedge. I squeeze some lime juice onto the taco and took a bite. The meat was bursting with flavor and combined with the fresh cilantro and the bite from the lime was a winner. A huge smile came over my face as Sam took my picture and remarked that she told me it was amazing.
The torta consisted of large pieces of carnitas covered with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayonnaise, jalapenos, and avocado. The mass of ingredients was loaded onto a Mexican style bun and served with a side of listless unsalted French fries. I was told the fries were served the exact same way in Mexico, and only ate a few before turning my attention to the torta. It was a little heavy on the mayo for my liking, but the meat was juicy and the bread was fresh. While it did not live up to the taco al pastor, it was still very good.
I cannot wait to stop into El Sol de Mexico for another lunch. The restaurant is locate at 1265 South Lane Avenue in Jacksonville, Florida. The can be found on Facebook, and reached by telephone at (904) 378-7998. El Sol de Mexico is open Mon-Tue 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., and Wed – Sun 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
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