Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cocina Latina: The Southern American spot

I like Vic 1959. The bean, the rice and the shredded beef were amazing. I was extremely interested to have another Southern American adventure. Some reviews called it Mexican; it's so foolish of them to mix up Mexican with Ecuadorian and Colombian cuisine. And it's equally foolish to call Tex-Mex Mexican food; or Panda Express as Chinese food. No, No, No and No. 

Before I went to Cocina Latina on South Lyndale, their website hasn't been up yet. I didn't quite get the chance to "feel" the restaurant before making the decision to take my new foodie friend to try it out with me. Don't get me wrong, I love hole-in-the-wall. I love trying new things. If it's good, win-win; if it's bad, at least I know and I can make fun of myself later. But taking a friend is always a risky business. 

Looking from the outside of the restaurant, I got a little nervous. It definitely wasn't my kind of restaurants. Walking in, music was blasting on that HDTV. Full of exotic dancing MTVs. During one of the video/karaoke materials, the group of Southern Americans actually moved their seats to better watch those exotic MTVs butt shaking. "Yea, that's right". OH, no, that's NOT right.

Sobrebarriga con salsa criolla
Flank steak in home made sauce w/ rice, beans, potato, cassava and sweet plantain.
The grilled flank steak was a little tough. But generally, the sauce was pretty tasty. It definitely went really well with the rice and the yuca/potato/roots. Having those fried eggs as part of my dinner was a very new concept. Sunny-side my dinner please!

Secos de /Stews, choice of: Chicken, meat, goat or beef tripe
I admired my friend ordering this dish. I am always very adventurous in food. But ordering organs outside of Chinese or French restaurants would probably take me more guts than anything. The beef tripe unfortunately was a little blah tasting. Not much flavors when it comes to organs cooking. The portion seemed small, but it probably was very filling with the proteins.

This Heavy Table post inspired me to try this restaurant. And you can see, they also served fried whole fish. Not very presentable, but I wouldn't doubt the taste. The weirder the food, the more interesting it is, and the more I want to try. Bring it Cocina Latina!

Overall, I still prefer Victor's 1959 cafe. But of course, it'd be foolish of me to substitute the two cuisine and refer them as the same style. Victor's Cuban cuisine definitely has more sweetness to its dishes, while Cocina Latina has more stewy and marination going with their dishes. Still worth another try. Plus, who wouldn't like those exotic dancing MTV as background music right?

I need new socks. Hmmmm


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