Don’t let this gorgeous image captured by www.doncraigdesign.com lure you to imagine that we are fine dining! This image was created when we had our special celebration for el dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe (see more information about her under “stuff” and read our interview with Don Craig in the “community”, “about you” section of this site). By the way, it’s worth your time to take a moment and look at his photography on his website–we’ve never seen anything like it. If this is your first visit to Hernande’z, please feel free to scroll down past these updates to where we talk about the Cocina Tradition…
For those of you who don’t want to know anything about why we do what we do, feel free to come on down without reading further–but–don’t be surprised if you experience “culture shock”. If you’re not really interested in knowing more about Hernande’z than locations and hours, and if you find the write up below to be “condescending”, there is a high likelihood that you would enjoy another food experience elsewhere. You’ve been warned!
735 Yates Street inside an office building
7 Days a Week until 8:00 pm
Starting at 11 weekdays and 12 weekends and stat holidays
1600 Bay Street below an office building
Monday-Friday 8-2:30: Weekends 9-2:30
(Serving Quality Coffee, Antojitos, Tamales and Brunch Burritos)
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Why We Love Patrons Who Tell Us When the Food Isn’t Up to Our Standard: It doesn’t happen very often, but when we do get the feedback, we do a thorough review and analysis. We never blame individual team members for errors–we look to see what’s wrong with the system overall. Please always feel free to call Tamara directly at 250-884-5313–even better, hit the “contact us” button at the top of the screen…for feedback and ideas: Big Thanks of Gratitude to Twitter’s @whatalaneats, @scribbler9, and an incomprehensible name on Facebook for the awesome suggestions that we implemented : option to have extra flour tortilla for $1; option to upgrade tacos to 6 from 5 for $1; option of “calabacita power bar”. We are listening! And clearly it takes a village to support, grow and keep real your local Cocina.
Lost something? Please check out our “lost and found” section under “stuff”. We do find things and usually get them back to their owners. But, this stuff, nobody has asked about!
all updates and new stuff can be sent directly to you!
or you could join our eclectic group of tweeps:
It’s SPRING, but the days are getting longer!
We are open
11:00 sharp until 8:00 pm Monday to Friday
12:00 noon until 8:00 pm Saturdays and Sundays
We are also open all stats except Christmas
(at 735 Yates Street inside the Office Building flanked by Mirage and Fido)
Come and see your burrito being made in front of your eyes! We’ve got our burrito station up and running…which means that we have a dedicated grill for flour…which means that we now have a dedicated grill for corn…which means NO TRACE ELEMENTS of wheat…which means Celiacs, venganse!
There is a disturbing little review on Urbanspoon which indicates that we have a “sleight of hand” ie. that we indicate one price and charge another through some clever scheme…our computer system does not allow the Cashier to change the price.. The increase must be due to HST, regardless, please always request a receipt if you ever have any doubt about the price you were charged. We pride ourselves on our integrity in all aspects of the business, including the actual transaction! The HST is gone and now we only have to add 5% GST! Hooray! . PS. NO, We do not own or operate the bank machine. We do not have anything to do with the bank machine. We receive zero ($0.00) from the bank machine.We’ve posted the locations of banks nearby so you can avoid the charges…
CONSUMER ALERT: THE BANK MACHINE WILL CHARGE YOU 2.00 PER TRANSACTION.
Please read below to see our approach to food and business, so you’re not surprised by our
You will have noticed that we have changed our website address from www.hernandezrestaurant.com to www.hernandezcocina.com. This is to reflect that we have never been and we will never be a restaurant in the conventional sense. We have modeled Hernande’z on our children’s great grandmother’s market stall in the central market of Cojutepeque, El Salvador.
Our Approach to the Cocina Tradition
Hernande’z is an authentic Central American cocina (translation: kitchen). We closely follow true cocina cultural traditions in a number of ways including our emphasis on scratch cooked food, and our de-emphasis of plate and glassware and water service. Basically, our whole emphasis is on the food and all of our resources go to maintaining the back of house (cocina) to be absolutely clean and wholesome on all levels. With the prices we have (also in the cocina tradition) this means that there are no more resources to distribute for front-of-house service.
One thing you can always be sure of is that Jerson and I pay close attention to how we source, prepare and package our food. We are careful that at all stages of food preparation, we remain integral to Jerson’s grandmother’s standards.
How We Decide What To Serve
We provide you with the option to choose the most impeccably sourced food possible. Our beef is locally raised just outside of Duncan on grassland–they live good lives under the trees. They are healthy, feeding on spent hops from local breweries, fresh water, a salt lick and a selenium supplement. That’s it–no antibiotics, no feedlots.
Furthermore, we carry theses standards to our food preparation. This means that we do not use any pre-prepared sauces or mixes. All of our food is made from scratch. We do not use microwave ovens. Our black beans are made with canola oil, not lard and our rice is not seasoned with chicken broth (so our vegetarian options are truly vegetarian!) We do not serve drinks made with high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavours. Anything on the “slow food” menu also has fresh, hand made corn tortillas made from scratch to order. That’s right, we basically embrace the food preparation techniques of the pre-modern era. In our minds and hearts, we are in Latin America in the 1930s and our food reflects this.
Basic Values: Cleanliness, Nutrition, and “Democratic Pricing”
We are focused on the need for cleanliness and purity in our sourcing and preparation and we are commited to serving you healthful, nutritious food. In addition to sourcing pure food, we have strict internal health and sanitary procedures and training in place to maintain our high standards of cleanliness and food safety. When equipment service people visit Hernande’z, they always comment on what a clean operation it is . In addition, all of our staff are trained in proper hand washing. Health and safety of our patrons is of primary importance. Nutrition comes from our food quality and the fact that our food is made with care and respect for the food and consideration for the person who will eat it.
Furthermore, we have a family, so we understand how hard it is to find good, healthy food which is also good value (…taken a family of five out to eat lately?). Consequently, we provide the absolute best quality of food possible at reasonable prices in order to make Hernande’z accessible to all. In order to maintain our prices at the level we want to, we request that our patrons help us by not requesting any extras or substitutions from our menus. We also ask that you do not try to modify one or two of the tacos–whatever modification there is, is applied to all of them. That means that if you are considering sharing tacos with someone who doesn’t want salsa, that you order them modified for “no salsa” and order a side of salsa (at a charge of .74). Alternatively, you could just decide to order them a power bar ($3.50), a side of rice ($4.00) or a side of beans ($4.00) modified however they like and just order your tacos as you like them! Again, this has to do with the portioning of the salsa and the efficiency of the kitchen–it is necessary for us to make these cost saving decisions if we are going to maintain our democratic pricing.
No Tap Water? No Plate For My Burrito? No Extra Corn Tortillas?
Jerson and I have decided not to serve tap water in glasses or burritos on plates, we also don’t provide corn tortillas separately from tacos ( … yet! Fresh, handmade corn tortillas made fresh to order are labour intensive and they slow the grill down–so they are only available for certain dishes–and not others). These are necessary cost saving measures that allow us to keep our prices low.
Hernande’z offers an authentic experience, quality food and is excellent value at a very affordable price and we intend to keep it that way. So, we serve our burritos and tacos on paper. If you would like your meal on a plate, we will happily provide it at a charge of $1.00 per plate. We also sell bottled water for way below market price ($1.00/bottle)–in addition, you are welcome to bring your own container of water if you wish, as you might if you went to a cocina in Central America. If we have time, we will be happy to fill it with tap water!
We basically feel that Hernande’z is an extension of our own home–so when you are visiting Hernande’z, think of yourself as being in our living room. Yes, we are casual at home with our guests. You don’t have a fork? Help yourself, you know where they are. Don’t know where they are? Just ask someone. Need something, and we’re talking to another person? Feel free to gently interrupt and we’ll be happy to see what we can do to make you more comfortable. We’re here because we have designed our lives to love what we’re doing, so rest assured that we’ll always be happy to see you!
If you like good food, prepared in the traditional way from scratch with handmade corn tortillas made fresh to order by happy people, come to visit us!
However, we are not able to do more than we are set up to do, so; menu modifications, glassware and plates are not really part of the budget, or the concept. We are aware of our limitations and the difficult choices that we’ve had to make in order to maintain our values. If you are sophisticated enough to enjoy a different culture, you won’t be disappointed with our apparent lack of services; trust that we’ve thought long and hard to make the choices that we’ve made and that we’re aware of the compromises that our customers would face if we made different choices.
We are what we are: a family following in our generational tradition of creating a market stall experience (albeit in a high end urban setting!). We love good food and we are happy to share our cultural traditions with you!
Thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit about Hernande’z and why and how we do things!
Tamara and Jerson Hernandez
find us on facebook: hernandezcocina
find us on twitter: hernandezganas
ps having said all this, please know that we’d love to hear from you and learn about how you experienced Hernande’z. Note also, that we don’t only want to hear about the happy times, please visit the “contact us” page and read the “when things don’t go well” section to learn about how much we need to hear about the diversity of experiences! Each time we hear about your experience, we are given the opportunity to learn and grow.