Reviews and Such Restaurants

JCs Tacos and More – Henderson Highway

JCs Tacos and More is a Latin American restaurant located on Henderson Highway, in what was the old Elmwood Post Office. The post office was an Elmwood landmark, that ceased operation around 25 years ago. For a while the building was home to an art gallery, and then JC’s Tacos and More opened up about 10 years ago.

JCs tacos and more chair back.
Bright, decorative chair backs are one of the distinctive features of JCs tacos and more.
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The main entrance to the restaurant is at street level, up a short flight of stairs. They do however have an accessible entrance at the back of the building, for customers with mobility concerns. As an old post office, it’s not surprising to discover that the ceilings are quite high, which help to give an open feeling to what is a quite full building. 

The seating is arranged into three different small sections. Each has room for about 8 to a dozen people. On of my visits there was a larger party arriving just as I was leaving. They had no problems shuffling tables around to find enough seating space for the arriving party.

The other thing that catches your eye as you enter is the riot of colour throughout the restaurant. The chair backs all have a different tropical pictures painted and mounted on them. The chair seats are largely purple, with a neutral grey on the table tops.

Throughout the restaurant there are beverage coolers, where you can pick out you drink to accompany your meal. JCs Tacos & More is licensed, so you can also order beer, wine and cocktails at the counter. Like Mercadito Latino, JCs also carries a variety of hot sauces, and other Latin American grocery items.

JCs Tacos

My first visit hear was about a year ago, and I don’t really remember it all that well. JCs is just down the street from Sam’s Place, I had just started doing Open Mics, and thought I’d have supper at JCs one evening before the open mic at Sam’s began.  As Taco’s is in the name, I figured that I would order a taco platter.

JCs tacos platter
Beef taco form JCs taco and more.

The tacos were pretty good, and they were quite well filled. The platter was good, as well, I tried a different platter on my second visit just a couple of weeks ago, so I’ll say more about the platter ingredients then.

JCs Yerba beverages.
I tried a cold yerba drink on my first visit.

While my first visit wasn’t particularly memorable it was certainly enjoyable enough that I intended to go back again. One thing that kept me away so long, was the fact that I stopped participating in the open mics at Sam’s Place finding they made my day longer than I liked.

JCs Visit number two:

My second visit to JCs was at the beginning of February. This time, when I arrived I was the only person in the restaurant, aside from the owner. The owner told me to seat myself wherever I chose, and then brought out the remote, showing me how to operate it, and told me to pick any channel I wanted.

It was a nice gesture, as in a lot of places you go to, finding someone who knows how to change the channel, let alone be willing to is a bit of chore. In the end, I just left it on the news as I had brought a book along and was intent on reading that.
This does though, indicate the kind of care and service I found each visit.

JCs tacos beef
Beef with green peppers to help fill my tortillas.

I ordered the beef platter. This is around $20 dollars, and I wasn’t sure what I would get for that. In addition to the sizzling plate of beef above, I received a basket with 6-8 tortillas, and a place filled with rice, re-fried beans, salsa, lettuce, and sour cream. JCs is committed to using only free range, natural meats, and this produces a really good tasting beef, with a nice chew to it.

JCs tortilla fillings
Rice, refried beans, lettuce, sour cream, salsa.
JCs tacos tortilla basket.
The tortillas come to the table in a covered, woven basket.
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The tortillas in the basket.

One thing I really liked about the meal being served in this fashion is that it allowed me to make a variety of combinations of my own choosing. This also turns out t be quite a lot of food. It’s the kin of platter, that if you split it in half and maybe added a pupusa(untried) each would make for a full and satisfying meal for two.

JCs variation
One of my variations. This is the one where I really laid it on with the hot sauce.

One of the ways in which JCs offers so many different variations is through the availability of a good assortment of hot sauces. These are all kept on ice up at the front counter. When I placed my order, the owner suggested three different sauces to me. One was a green chili sauce, the other a medium red sauce(as far as colour goes). The third was a dark red chili sauce. The first two sauces were quite tasty but rather mild on the heat end of things. The third, dark red sauce, delivered flavour and a good bit of heat.

The sauces that are available for the table don’t have labels, but I’m sure if you asked you would be able to find the correct bottle on the shelf. In addition to the hot sauces available with the menu, there are also several varieties available for retail purchase.

JCs Tacos on a Saturday afternoon

I went for a third trip to JC’s Tacos and More this past Saturday afternoon. Unlike my previous two visits the place was reasonably full although I didn’t have a problem getting a seat. This time the TVs were all turned onto the same thing, The TPC at Sawgrass, one of the more noteworthy golf tournaments of the year. TPC Sawgrass is one of the really beautiful course out there, although the only way I’ll ever observe it is watching this tournament, or playing Tiger Woods Golf.

Despite a lively atmosphere in the restaurant, and a fair bit of noise, I still felt that I had plenty of room for myself. I had eaten a fairly late, and fairly large breakfast, so I wasn’t looking for anything as large as the platter this time around. Instead, I settled on the beef bowl. This is essentially the same ingredients that go into the platter shown above, but layered in a bowl, with ground beef, and a little stockade of tortilla chips around the outside of the bowl.

 beef bowl
The beef bowl from JCs Tacos and More.

This turned out to really hit the spot. The portion size was just right, and the ingredients blended in quite nicely, to for a smooth beef and bean flavoured gravy that gave a really warm feeling to the dish.

Being a Saturday afternoon, I decided to go for a Mexican Beer, and ordered a Pacifico. I’ve had a Corona once, and my thought was, well this is better than a Corona, which appears to be not an uncommon sentiment. It’s a rather unremarkable beer, but on the positive side, it didn’t leave a heavy feeling in the stomach after drinking it. I’ll have to look for some other Mexican beers to try later.
There’s a lot to JCs that I didn’t get around to, and that in itself is reason to go back in the future.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.