For the duration of the summer, every Friday our babysitter comes over and watches my kiddos for me, so the hubby and I can go out, or so I can go grocery shopping. Being a mom of three kids, trying to do all my grocery shopping with my kids, it’s well, hard. I feel rushed, and therefore buy more unnecessary items. Then there’s the “mom can we buy this? Or, “don’t touch that!” And of course, the needing to potty whilst mid shopping or needing to change a diaper. During the school year, I did my shopping while two of my kids were in school. So nice. So, having 4 hours to myself, every other Friday, to get my grocery shopping done (I’m actually buying what we need for two weeks, making only having to go to the store once every two weeks amazing!), makes me feel almost functional.
During my latest grocery outing, I snuck in lunch as well. Every time I drive to work, I drive by a little taco place that’s located in the neighborhood right by the hospital. Remodeled out of an old gas station, and known for its eclectic mix of Mexican street food, Cochino Taco has become a real go to place for lunch and dinner, and are now open for brunch on the weekends. Every time I drive by, I think to myself “man, I need try that place out”, while looking at a packed house. Founded by 3 guys who know and love food and have roots to Mexico City, as well as Denver CO, Cochino Taco has definitely become a must try taco place.
Walking into the establishment, I was surprised to see it was an actual restaurant. I thought, because of its size, that it would be more like a Chipotle, order your food at the counter then sit and eat or take it with you.
They have a generous size dining room, with a smaller open kitchen off to the right of the dining area, an outside patio, and a bar, which is where I sat as it was just me. And of course, I had to try one of their house margaritas. What’s a taco without a margarita? 🍹😀
I tried one of their orange and cucumber margaritas, with triplesec, tequila, agave nectar and freshly squeezed orange and cucumber juice. No one ingredient over powered the other, which can be the case when you use really strong flavors in a drink. Oh man….it was refreshingly outstanding! And it may have been a little strong…😋
Their menu is pretty simple: starters, a couple salads and a whole page devoted to….Tacos! Under witty titles, their tacos are divided into categories on the menu, based on what meat is in them. I of course, chose to eat from the “ain’t no meat tacos” category.
I was told that if I was super hungry to order three tacos, as the tacos come one to an order. Well, I was super hungry, so I ordered two tacos and an avocado tostada. I indulged in tacos called the “fungus among us” hahaha! And filled with grilled shiitaki and cremini mushrooms, crispy onions, corn, tomato salsa and cilantro, I gotta tell ya, these tacos were so delicious and flavorful! There was a little crunch from the onions and corn, but the bite was creamy and smoky from the grilled mushrooms. The tacos came out by themselves on a small plate, and each taco had 2 mini corn tortillas to it, which I learned is how traditional soft corn tacos come in Mexico. It allows for extra “structure” to the taco as corn tortillas can be soft. I just used the extra shell for the stuff that fell out of my taco as I ate it to make another one! I know we’ve all wished to have an extra shell for the leftovers that fall out of our taco….I know I’m not alone in that, because who wants to eat taco filling with a fork? 😝😝
Now, when I order a tostada or make one at home, there’s not much crunch to it and it actually can be a little one dimensional with the re fried beans or guacamole making the tostada shell soft as it sits. Well, this avocado tostada was anything but your typical soggy tostada. Let’s first start with the shell…it was again, made from the mini corn tortillas, and dusted with a spice mixture made in house. And nope, they wouldn’t let me know what was in it. This dust turned my fingers red but I didn’t care! It also added a nice spice to my tostada. On top of the shell was a heaping amount of guacamole, lime, and 3 ingredients that added that extra crunch to my bite: jicama, radish and seasoned quico crunch, which tasted just like corn nuts to me. This was far from a soggy tostada! Every bite had crunch and flavor, a little spice thanks to that little bit of red dust you lick off your fingers at the end. So good.
The bartender set a bottle of Mexican hot sauce right in front of me when my food came, and I topped my tacos and tostada with it. Normally I prefer a more traditional salsa on my Mexican food, but I could not get enough of this stuff, it was sooooo good! And not too spicy. However, the food by itself didn’t really need help in the flavor department. 😜
While I was devouring my meal, I couldn’t help but notice that the wall behind the bar was lined with different kinds of pigs…a lot of pigs. I inquired, of course, and the bartender told me that Cochino means “pig” in Spanish. But not a traditional pig, more like a naughty word you call someone during a brawl, a “filthy pig”. I thought to myself “ok, you named your restaurant after a filthy word”…awesome. But the food still rocks tho! I learned after doing more research on this awesome place, that the pig actually holds special meaning to the restaurant’s founders, who have been dubbed “the 3 pig heads” on social media. 😆
Sitting by myself at the bar, not needing to rush through my meal, was such a recharging experience. Which brings me to dessert. Dessert was a must for me, as who could pass up what was on their dessert menu: caramel filled churros and Mexican spiced chocolate ice cream.
I asked the bartender if he could make me a half order, as I couldn’t eat a full one. He totally hooked me up! The churro was filled with a delicate, creamy caramel, and paired with the crunchy, cinnamon sugar outside, it was the perfect sweet bite my mouth needed.
Then, there was the ice cream. Telling my husband about this ice cream, my mouth began to salivate. 🤤 Spiced with ancho-chili and cinnamon, the ice cream was so creamy with a subtle spice that left a burn in the back of my throat. The dairy that was in the ice cream was just enough to tame the heat factor of the spices, but kept you wanting more and more with the rich chocolate. It was literally a spicy, rich, chocolatey ice cream. And I was told that the company who makes the ice cream, makes it just for Cochino Taco. Such a perfect end to my lunch!
If you’re ever in the neighborhood by Swedish Medical Center in Engelwood, CO take the time to stop and try a taco or two at Cochino Taco, your tummy will be very happy you did!
Until next time….