This was our second trip to Vida Mexican Kitchen Y Cantina and again… it fell short of what we were hoping for. The ambiance and atmosphere is by far the best quality of Vida. Its proximity to Uptown Charlotte and all of the surrounding nightlife and shopping make it one of the best locations in Charlotte. The first time we came to Vida was during our “Carnita Quest” and we noted the carnitas were horrible and we wouldn’t recommend them to anybody. On the other hand we found the Pineapple Papaya Coleslaw to be the best side dish we had ever gotten at a Mexican restaurant. This time we opted for the carne asada and craved the coleslaw so much we got it as both of our sides.
Unfortunately…. when we were ordering our dinner our waiter told us instead of getting the carne asada plate and eating them as tacos, we might as well just get the carne asada tacos. We decided to go with his recommendation and ordered them with flour tortillas and two sides of pineapple / papaya coleslaw. We also got the pork barbacoa tamal, guacamole for the appitizer and I asked for the hottest salsa they had on hand for the chips.
The carne asada tacos ended up coming out with dry and flavorless corn tortillas that couldn’t be picked up without them breaking. The carne asada itself was amazing.. so much so that we wish we hadn’t got the tacos but rather ordered the plate of carne asada instead. We definitely got robbed on our two sides of pineapple / papaya coleslaw… there was one lonely glob of it by itself on the corner of the plate. Not that it matter though, for some reason it wasn’t anywhere as good as the first time we got it. Halfway through our dinner our APPETIZER of guacamole arrived but still no hot salsa. I was later informed they don’t have hot salsa so instead they brought me regular salsa with habanero powder mixed in. Any salsa aficionado knows that adding powder distorts the liquidity of the salsa and turns it into a thick paste rendering it useless. On a side note, the pork barbacoa tamal was great. Slow cooked pork with barbeque sauce, cheese and cilantro, wrapped in masa and steamed in a corn husk…. Mmmmmmmm….. yummy!
Trying to salvage the night we decided to give dessert a shot and ordered the churros (sweet dough, deep fried, coated with cinnamon sugar and served with hot chocolate dipping sauce). Being a huge fan of churros it shames me that Vida makes such awful ones.. I would honestly recommend Jack in the Box churros over Vida’s.
Our second trip to Vida’s was about as successful as our first. Vida is a beautiful restaurant that lacks any sense of amazing food. I cant recommend Vida yet, but I will be going for a third and final try eventually. In the meantime…. go to Cantina 1511 in Dilworth.