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PHX - Mi Cocina, Mi Pais

I had posted this last week as an open invite on the board, so here's the report!

Unfortunately, ArizonaGirl had to cancel plans to meet at Mi Cocina, Mi Pais (but we ordered enough for you!), but it was nice to meet Aquablue for the first time. Since she's a regular here, and everything on the menu looked good to me, the plan was to let her do the ordering, and she did a great job. We started with shrimp ceviche, and an empanada trio - beef, pork, and chicken. Both appetizers were the highlight for me - firm sweet shrimp served in a goblet in a tomato/citrus sauce (similar to Mexican cocteles), and I liked the variety of empanadas. The chicken was listed on the menu as "chicken pie" as the dough was flakier and more pastry-like than the beef and pork empanadas. Don't ask me which was my favorite, I'd order them all again! They were especially good with the hot sauce made with sliced chilis. When we asked for hot sauce, I was expecting the addictive Peruvian green chili sauce called Aji verde or some Aji roja, but this was good too. We also ordered Aquablue's favorite tamale - the Ecuadorian steamed in banana leaves, but unfortunately they were out.

For entrees, we decided on the chicken 'stew', and the fish steamed in banana leaves with plantain chips. Unfortunately, both were overcooked, though the flavors were very good. The stew was chunks of boneless white meat in a tasty brothy sauce served with sauteed sweet plantains and rice. When I commented on the dryness of the chicken, Aquablue mentioned that in the past this had been served with dark and white meat chicken on the bone. Hopefully, they'll return to that, but I'm afraid it might be one of those instances where people complaind about the authentic prep of this dish and asked for boneless chicken breast.

She also taught me a good tip regarding the homemade desserts here - since they are made fresh, be sure to ask what they have left and 'reserve' them before you eat dinner as they sell out quickly. I really liked the quinoa cookie - crispy, not too sweet, with a unique toasty/crunchy texture from the quinoa (one of my favorite grains), and the coconut flan was very good too.

Though I thought it I had read that it bills itself as Peruvian also, the menu was definitely more Ecuadorian (which of course makes sense since the owner is from Ecuador!). I thought that the chicha morada could have used more spices (chicha morada is a sweet purple corn-based drink often made with cinnamon and cloves). I also thought it was interesting to be served chips and salsa when we sat down. One of my favorite restaurants back in Boston is Peruvian, so I was a bit disappointed not to see more of my favorite classic dishes on the menu (papa rellenas, aji de gallina, and Peruvian ceviche - raw fish, shrimp, or octopus marinated in lime juice, etc. served with corn or yuca), but look forward to returning to Mi Cocina, Mi Pais to learn more about Ecuadorian cuisine and explore the menu.

Friendly service, and such a small, homey spot - I'll definitely return. Thanks aquablue - I had a great time!

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Mi Comida Restaurante Latino
4221 W Bell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85053

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  1. Interesting. I recently tried MCMP for the first time and liked it a great deal. I've never known it to represent itself as Peruvian, though. It's always been an Ecuadoran restaurant to me.

    1 Reply
    1. re: silverbear

      I'm sure you're right - who knows where I read that, maybe Yelp or something.

      I'll definitely be back to MCMP for a whole new cuisine to explore.

    2. I tried MCMP a while back and enjoyed it. Can't remember exactly what I had, but I'm pretty sure a tamale was involved. I do remember a couple of ladies came in and clearly expected a Mexican restaurant and were complaining about not finding their usual Mexican favorites. All the flags with Ecuador on them everywhere apparently didn't clue them in. :)

      1. I tried going here for lunch today, but couldn't find it. Have they moved or gone out of business, or am I just blind?

        3 Replies
        1. re: ajs228

          It's hidden, kind of behind Taco Bell, but, I haven't been there in a while.

          1. re: ajs228

            The restaurant is tiny and easy to miss as it's hidden behind the Taco Bell. Last I heard it was still in business. It's usually packed at lunch.

            1. re: ajs228

              Ok, I found it. Honestly, I don't know how I missed it the first time. It's small, but not invisible.
              Anyway, I had a shrimp soup (sorzo I think it was called). About 5 or 6 whole shrimp in a really thick, spicy broth, with a dish of white rice on the side and a little cup of salsa. Mixed it all together, and it was very tasty. My one gripe is that the shrimp were a little tough. I had trouble cutting them up.

               
            2. Sounds wonderful. The "Repugnant" just did a tiny piece on this spot, last Wednesday.

              Too bad that we were in Carlsbad, CA, as we'd have loved to attend.

              Thanks for the post,

              Hunt

              1. MCMP is easily my favorite tamale and empanada place in the valley. I've had fantasies of going there and ordering enough tamales to last me from visit to visit. Let me know when the next chow-meet-n-greet happens there and I'll do my best to attend.

                1. I'm planning on going by tonight to pick up some empanadas and other things for take-out. I don't think they have a website, but figured I'd ask the all-knowing 'Hounds if they knew of a menu posted on the Internet somewhere.

                  (Also, Aquablue, could you email me - adress is in my bio. Thanks!)

                  1. Rubee, OT, but are you alluding to Rincon Limeno? *Sob*...

                    Though quinoa cookies sound dreamy.

                    1. Just thought I'd mention that Mi Cocina, Mi Pais is now known as "Mi Comida". Nothing else has changed besides the name; same ownership. They do have some new menus items including white corn and green plantain empanadas, goat stew, and, as I mentioned above that I wished they had on the menu, aji gallina. I think this calls for a visit this week!

                      Info::
                      http://www.thewildlavender.com/2010/0...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Rubee

                        Just tried this restaurant this past March. It was wonderful. Don't come if you're in a hurry but if you're okay with sitting back and enjoying simple, Ecuadorian food, this is the place for you! We had the tamales sampler and the chicken stew. It was delicious. We wanted to try the goat stew but they were out. Would definitely go back!

                        1. re: kc13

                          Yup, I brought some co-workers here a few weeks ago, and while they all enjoyed their food, they were so antsy about the time it just made the meal tense. Admittedly, it took about 45 minutes between ordering and plates being delivered. Next time I'll just go solo or with one other person.
                          Btw, I had the goat stew and it was great.