Authentic Mexican cuisine in the boonies: West Grove, Pa’s Cocina Mexicana

I’ve inherited my dad’s resistance to paying tolls. During the holiday weekend, I went on a Thelma & Louise style adventure to the Delaware River, crawling up the backroads of Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A good rule of thumb I’ve known for a while is, in rural areas with lots of agriculture, there’s gonna be an authentic Latinx restaurant. Cocina Mexicana served an impressive lunch and I’d totally return.

The restaurant, located in a strip mall, has a festive interior. They make everything on site, even the chips and queso, available in both white and yellow.

This is not just a taqueria; they’re doing some serious cuisine. They’ve got their own special mole, garlic shrimp, grilled salted beef, barbacoa lamb, Mexican sausage, even a hot lava rock bowl dish with crabs, fish, shrimp, mussels, scallops, aromatics. For what you get, the prices are modest: count on $12 – $25 unique entrees.

A while back, I visited a city on the Texas – Mexico border: McAllen. I remember and missed the traditional recipes. So, I was excited to see menudo on the menu! It’s a spicy soup (but theirs wasn’t too spicy) made with beef tripe in chile Guajillo sauce. Tripe is offal, so it doesn’t “taste like chicken” and I’m glad! Tripe has a chewy texture. The portion was very generous and I happily took home leftovers. Chopped onion, lime and cilantro was served on the side for garnishment.

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