By Kelsey R.
I love Mexican food for three reasons. The first reason is because my birthday is Cinco de Mayo. It’s the coolest birthday ever! Every year is a celebration with frozen margaritas and sombrero hats! The second and third reasons why I love Mexican food is because of the gooey cheeses and the salty beef that you can always find in tacos. So for me, going to Cocinca Mexicana was a celebration of all things I love.
I decide to bring in some backup for this authentic Mexican experience. I needed someone who loves Mexican food as much as I do. Jason, my boyfriend, was the lucky guy who was going to share this experience with me. I figure Jason is a good candidate because he went to Mexico twice this past May. Who goes to a different country twice in one month? A true Mexican-food lover!
Jason and I walk from our apartment to Cocina Mexicana which is located on North Prince Street in Lancaster. We walk into the restaurant to find a soft ambience and beautiful Mexican décor. We meet Joyce, who is the owner, and Alex, our waiter who also happens to be Joyce’s nephew.
Jason and I tell Alex we would like to try an appetizer that people really love. Alex suggests the guacamole because it is made fresh every day. We order the guac and begin browsing the menu. The menu choices are labeled in Spanish and then explained in English. Alex comes around with our fresh guacamole, and I practice my best Spanish accent as I begin to order our meal. I order the Cecina which is grilled salted beef, sautéed onions and cactus. And of course I have to order some tacos, so I go for the Al Pastor and the “Chorizo.” The Al Pastor is a taco with grilled pork and pineapple. The Chorizo is a taco filled with Mexican Sausage.
I dive into the guacamole and notice the big chunks of avocado and tomato. The freshness is wonderful, and the taste is perfect. A couple more people come into the restaurant. Most are by themselves and dine in. The atmosphere of Cocina Mexicana is calm and quaint. It is the perfect place to be on a rainy Thursday.
Alex brings out our order. I notice right away that the Cecina has rice and beans, which is another favorite of mine! Alex asks if we need anything else, and I tell him he can keep the guacamole on the table. Jason goes for the cactus first, which doesn’t surprise me since he is the more daring one when it comes to trying new foods. I watch him take a bite, nervous of how he is going to react. He tells me to try it. The cactus looks like green beans. I go ahead and try it and am pleasantly surprised! Its crunchy and salty and a good addition to the meal. Jason starts building a combination onto a tortilla. He puts in the beef, lettuce, beans and rice. I keep plugging away at the beans. The meal is excellent. Jason makes the comment, “This food is better than anything I had in Mexico.”
I take a quick break from my beans and try the Mexican Sausage taco. It has a spicy bite to it, but not an overwhelming amount of spice. Jason encourages me to try the beef that is on the Cecina platter, and it is delicious. Tender and salty. I don’t get to try the Chorizo because Jason already has it gobbled down. He reports back that it was tasty. Grilled pork and pineapple bring out a lot of flavor.
Alex comes and checks on us and we tell him the food is fantastic. He is happy to hear our feedback, and asks us if we want to try a dessert. I tell him that I have tried sopapillas in the past, but I wanted to try something that other customers really enjoy having. Alex suggests the chocolate flan.
When Alex brings out the chocolate flan, I am surprised at what I see. I pictured in my mind a pudding, but the chocolate flan is a cake and custard. It has a cool and light texture, syrup on top, and the perfect size for two people to share.
Cocina Mexicana is a great place if you are looking for an enjoyable evening away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Lancaster. The food is delicious, the staff is friendly, and the atmosphere is a true Mexican experience. Jason and I were able to walk home with happy bellies. It was nice to eat authentic Mexican food just a couple blocks away from our apartment.
Hi everyone, I want to share a few things about myself. I have lived in Lancaster County my entire life.
I went to The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and received a Bachelors in English Education and Writing. Currently, I am working as a real estate agent for Berkshire Hathaway, and of course I am doing some writing on the side! I live with my wonderful cat, Waffle in Lancaster City. Besides working and playing with my cat I also read and practice yoga.