Crazy Good Carnitas at La Cocina del Puerco

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© Copyright Siiri Sampson.
Caliente Carniats+cold surroundings=tasty meal you eat as fast as possible
We all know that old saying about "x and y go together like peas and carrots," but there are things that don't go together with peas and carrots, right? Either I'm crazy (totally possible, I know), or the folks at La Cocina del Puerco in Bellevue (10246 Main St) are taking the Mexico City style to a dangerously obnoxious level. Steer clear of Grandma's frozen veggie mix in 70% of the dishes, and pick up some of the best darn taquitos this side of the Columbia.

Down in old town Bellevue, right on Main Street between the posh boutiques and upscale dinner locales sits this seasoned, cafeteria style Mexican joint. With a ceiling literally covered in knick knacks, piñatas and antiques, it's easy to get immediately distracted upon entry. Your ordering process can be a bit overwhelming; luckily the owners have anticipated this and created a simplistic menu, with any specials hand written on bright construction paper. Choose from options one (Tres Taquitos with handmade corn tortillas) through nine (Puerco's Combo, touted the best, complete with chile relleno, tamale and a machaca taquito), or build your own burrito.

This place is known for its carnitas, and if you're dense enough to order something else because you want to be 'adventurous', then you deserve the mess of potatoes, peas and carrots that accompany that decision. Now, venturing outside the box to try a Holiday Tamale filled with chicken and smothered in a homemade salsa verde is fine, but not necessarily rewarding. (Also, whatever made the tamale 'Holiday' was hard to detect.)

The prices are certainly fit for the Bellevue crowd, but you can get your money's worth with a number one - Tres Taquitos ($8.99, but only three plam-sized tortillas). The hand pulled carnitas pork is so tender, moist and flavorful you'll earn a day pass to the clean plate club. Blink twice and you'll wonder where it all went. No, you weren't mugged while you were hunched over their vintage sign tables. You inhaled all of it.

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