By David Lasky
Have you gone there? Wait. Before you say anything, I think you haven’t. I think you’ve been to Cocina Mexicana. A fine place to be reviewed on another occasion. But I’m not talking about the exclusive location of beef tongue tacos in Lancaster. I’m talking about La Cocina on King Street, a few doors from The Red Rose, near the intersection of King and Duke.
How: This is how you La Cocina. Approach the sneeze guard. In a confidant voice, after formalities, say, “I’d like a tray to go please.” I’ll come back to why to get the food to go. When prompted about rice, say “Yellow Rice.” When asked about beans, you say “Yes please, on top.” Then, when beans are secured atop your rice, you ask for The Pork. The Pork is in a tray far on the left, and though you’ll see many other things, I implore you to start with The Pork. As the person behind the plastic barrier cuts the meat with shears, say, “I’d like some of the skin, please.” This is drastically important. When she asks, “Is that all?” You grab a soda from the fridge behind you and add it to your total of about $7.50. For this price, you will become the sole owner of a heap of savory yellow rice and beans, a heap that could easily be a meal and a half in itself. But no. You are also the possessor of a craggy mountain range of pork, red and brown and positively stinking up your face with it’s flavor. When you eat, I humbly ask you to begin with the skin. The skin of that pig has been…I…I honestly don’t know what they’re doing to it in there. I don’t care. It’s got the texture of hard crack candied sugar, the shape of a thick cut potato chip, and attached to it is about a centimeter of fat that is simply profane. You can eat this one 2″x2″ square of skin and that can be your ENTIRE meal. It has enough flavor and CAN fill you up if you wait a minute after eating it. But who could wait? No. No it’s best to not wait. Eat more. Eat now, before the skin hits your belly and the beans get cold.
La Cocina is so much more than it’s storefront implies, but then, that’s why I told you to get the food to go. I find it actually a bit uncomfortable to eat there. It’s sort of cafeteria-ish. But for as uncozy as that is, the food is twice as cozy when eaten in the comfort of your own home. It’s not for every night, but it is for just about everyone, every once in a while.
La Cocina is located at 111 E King St.