Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Boca Chica – St. Paul, MN

My friend Kana-duh dropped into the Twin Cities for a visit and wanted to grab a bite to eat. He’s a long-haul semi truck driver from Ontario and since he’s driving all day, he’s got lots of things to say to people and must take advantage of every opportunity to free them. I’m always up for a good long chat (and food of course), so I picked him up at the truckstop where he was parked and we went to grab dinner.

Since he’s from Canada, he likes hockey – it’s like Americans liking Jerry Springer - even if you claim you’re not a fan, you secretly watch it when no one is around. So I thought we should check out the Tom Reid’s Hockey Pub in St. Paul. Clearly, Kana-duh was down with that. As we got closer, it dawned on me there might be a Minnesota Wild hockey game that night which was causing all this traffic. And there was. And Tom Reid’s was packed with drunk hockey fans. I suggested Mexican – he agreed.

Gerd and I have commented on the lack of quality Mexican food in the Twin Cities, but we have finally discovered a few places that are up to snuff. Boca Chica is one of these places. Huge menu and actual Hispanic people work (and eat) there. We grabbed a table without waiting and began to study the menu.

I got the Carnitas and Kana-duh got the Enchiladas Huatulco. Both came with Fideo soup which was quite good. I’ve always been a fan of fideo, so I was happy to see that it came with the meal. Still no Albondigas soup though (does anyone know where I Can get Albondigas in the Twin Cities?) The enchiladas were filled with shrimp and king crab surimi (mock king crab) and covered with a mild enchilada sauce. Kana-duh really liked the meal and said we picked a good place for dinner – hooray for eating out all the time in hopes that it will be useful someday!!!

The carnitas were the best I’ve ever had. Ultra-tender pieces of pork seasoned to perfection and then deep fried before serving. I can’t remember having better carnitas anyplace, truly. They melted in my mouth and filled me up rather quickly. They came with tortillas, black beans, cheese, guac, and sour cream. The only thing that might have been missing was a heap of lettuce for the taco-building event. And yes, we all know I hate high-labor foods at restaurants, but these are totally worth every second making my own. I’d do it for hours as long as I got to eat as much as I wanted.

We sent Kana-duh home with MY leftovers since he couldn’t stop eating his. He tried a piece of the carnitas and said he should have ordered what I got. So we wrapped it up for him and made sure he got back to his truck totally stuffed. We had a great dinner and it’s always good to see him. I’ll have a list of places to eat ready for the next time he comes to visit me, for sure. Maybe we’ll catch a hockey game or something.

Top 5 things about Boca Chica
1. Carnitas
2. Trinidadian/Mexican waitress was awesome
3. Enchiladas Huatulco
4. Fideo soup (or sopa as it’s called at Boca Chica)
5. Got to hang out and get caught up with Kana-duh

Bottom 5 things
1. Needs to be closer to my house (preferably in my living room)
2. Glossary or description of some random words on the menu might help
3. Kana-duh doesn’t know the Spanish words for Men or Women, fortunately there were pictures painted on the door to the restrooms
4. Lettuce on my taco-building plate would have been awesome
5. Coke products only

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