- Jessica Elizarraras
- Simple and tasty—a chile relleno via Cocina Heritage
There’s something quaint about Cocina Heritage. Located inside the Heimann Building at Cattleman Square, the breakfast and lunch joint is owned by sisters Lupita Rivero and Silvia Alcaraz, who hail from Guanajuato, Mexico, and if you’re jonesin’ for comida casera, Cocina Heritage is the place to go.
The restaurant, which began and still operates as a catering company, opened at the end of July, offering a small menu of pan dulce and fresh juices, including strawberry, pineapple, grapefruit, mango, orange, papaya and carrot, along with a jugo verde made with pineapple, celery and cactus paddles. The interiors, bright and filled with a mishmash of wooden tabletops and chairs, could very well be your tía’s house. Although decor is otherwise sparse, the tables are topped with colorful placemats and the makings of a Día de los Muertos altar were coming together in the restaurant’s main window.
The ordering system is easy enough to follow, either Rivero or Alcaraz jots down your order from the counter. We stopped in for lunch several days ago, after finding our way through construction on Medina (of course the road closures began days after the sisters opened the eatery).
Quesadillas ($4.50) made with house-made corn tortillas make up the bulk of the menu. Rivero, the primary cook, uses recipes passed down through generations and she excels at replicating regional sauces. We tried the chicken tinga with a tomato base that still had a bit of a kick. A fan of both charity and all things pork, I ordered the Quesadilla for a Cause, currently a chicharron guisado in a mild green salsa the sisters refer to as mom’s sauce. Horchata is available, but don’t pass on the xoconostle, or sour prickly pear agua fresca, not to be confused with pink lemonade, but not entirely that far off, either.
The lunch specials change daily, but keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter, where Alcaraz updates the offerings as frequently as the menu calls for. We happened on chile relleno and cochinita pibil this certain Tuesday, and having already tried the citrusy cochinita (which goes great with Cocina’s habanero salsa—seriously, they should bottle the stuff), I ordered the relleno.
And here’s why you should brave the construction and visit Cocina Heritage: simple presentation and humble, but well executed flavors. The hand-dipped chile relleno was filled with melted queso blanco, drenched in a savory and mild tomato sauce, and paired with a scoop of white rice with vegetables. It’s just like mom made, you know, when she actually felt like going to the trouble of roasting and peeling poblano peppers.
118 N Medina