Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cocina Economica - #1 - Cucina Italiana

One of the best food traditions, and values, in Mexico are Cocina Economica and loncherias. You don't need to speak Spanish to know that this means good value lunches. These places are really the Mexican equivalent of a diner with the daily blue plate special. Nothing fancy, just good, solid home cooking.

They are often in the owner's home, only open for lunch and almost always include a soup, main course and beverage for $4 - 8 usd. There are quite a few in Cozumel and we'll try to visit at least one a week. Here is our first, which, as it's name implies, does not serve Mexican food.

A mainstay on the island since 1986, it's a taste of Italia in Cozumel. The only thing missing is wise guys and small glasses of vino rosso. Not sure about the tough guys, but you'll rarely, if ever, find beer or wine at a cocina economica.

In a small house near downtown, the entrance is through a courtyard with a huge banyan tree and a bird cage full of songbirds. Inside you are greeted by Signora Torroni. The day's specials are displayed on large platters. During our visit they offered lasagna, fish filet with green beans, chicken breast with rosemary and a side of penne with red sauce. All of the mains included a minestrone, killer garlic bread, a salad tossed with a vinaigrette and a choice of lime tea, or melon aguas frescas (lighter than juice but loaded with fruit flavor).

Dessert is offered, but who has room for dessert after this much food? We'll be back.

Cucina Italiana
on Calle 6, between Ave 10 y 15
Lunches 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM

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