Sunday, June 21, 2009

La Cucaracha – St. Paul, MN

Some of you know how strongly I feel about the Twin Cities and their weak attempt at Mexican food. So I’ve just decided to adjust the regular Mexican food scale with a sort of “Minnesota weighting.” This way, the people that live here will be able to think they’re getting good Mexican food. But the rest of you people will know the real truth.

I got a call from KingDavid about going to dinner in St. Paul for his father’s day meal. His folks were in town and they were going to La Cucaracha in St. Paul. Thankfully, I don’t have any sort of stigma against going to places named after insects, so I told him I was game. Plus, I know going to St. Paul for any reason just angers Trash and M. Giant, so I was definitely in. On top of all this, they mentioned margaritas and I’m a sucker for a good margarita. (Heck, I don't even care if it's a good margarita, for that matter...)

The place was full of people when I got there, which is usually a good sign, but since a lot of people in the Twin Cities have had their olfactory lobes removed including their taste buds, I wasn’t going to be duped right off the bad without sampling their food. I found KingDavid’s awesome family and set about looking at the menu.

First off, I was looking at a huge drink menu while I was talking, so I kept wondering where the food part was. I never got to it on this menu, but there were a lot of maragaritas, house specials, and tequilas to choose from. Based on what KingDavid was already drinking, I went with the Bullfighter margarita (sauza commemorative, cointreau, and grand marnier). It seemed the tastiest. And I was not disappointed. This is one of the better margaritas I’ve had in a restaurant. Really sweet and tasty, and tall. I ate a handful of chips to start my Mexican food metabolism and scoured the really appetizing food menu.

I ordered the Pork Guisado Burrito. It’s a burrito with hot green pork, covered in tomatillo sauce and Chihuahua cheese and onions. Stop. You had me at hot green pork. I wasn’t even sure what it meant, but I was pretty sure I’d like it. When the dish came out, it looked pretty darn good.

And it was. It was really a lot spicier than any other burrito I’ve had at a Mexican restaurant. I love my food spicy, so I usually have to add things to it to make it spicy, but not so with this burrito. It was fine the way it was. Not sure what made it so spicy, but it was quite tasty. And of course, with it so spicy, I had to order a second margarita – this time, the Cliff Diver (made with sauza gold). The first one – the Bullfighter – was better than the Cliff Diver, but neither were bad.

I would give this place a Minnesota Mexican Food Rating of 8 out of 10, putting it in the waaay upper eschelon of Mexican food places in the Twin Cities. Maybe even a 8.5 or 9 after a couple margaritas. I really liked it a lot. I’ll definitely be back here. Plus I had a great time with KingDavid’s family as always. Additionally, I had the added bonus of KingDavid’s wife QueenRachael feeding me an awesome “That’s What She Said” line as we were leaving the restaurant. You can find it here.

Top 5 things about La Cucaracha
1. Hot green pork – really spicy
2. Bullfighter margarita
3. Chips and salsa were nice and spicy
4. They have 1919 rootbeer on tap (it was painful not to order one – next time for sure though)
5. I love KingDavid’s family

Bottom 5 things
1. I hate finding good Mexican restaurants without being able to share them with Gerd. They were her favorite
2. Service was a tad slow (QueenRachael would have wanted me to mention it)
3. Talking about KingDavid running from the police on multiple occasions while his parents listened on in astonished interest… uncomfortable…
4. I don’t think I can make it to happy hour by 6pm during the week – I’m gonna try though… EnyaFace, you’re getting the phone call when I do!
5. I’m really mad that I didn’t see that the huevos rancheros are “served with grilled taters” according to the menu – seriously, I love taters of all kinds!

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