J: I’m glad the Victoria Public Market is now a fixture of the downtown scene. And looking around, I see there’s great potential for it to expand. With Resthaven Farms having a base of operations here, I’m only more eager to hear of where future vendors can occupy the space. Every stall in the market has their own unique style but La Cocina is the best to catch the eye of a hungry shopper. And what beautiful colours they use to do so.
They knew from the start what message they wanted to send to their customers, “Welcome to Mexico.”
E: I love La Cocina’s tortillas. I’ve gone to this place a few times before finally dragging James out, and together, we could sample more of their menu items. I tend to really lay down the dried peppers upon every dish I’ve had before, but I had to see how James could handle the heat. Back then to now, I tend to find an ample supply as long as I’m at this market at the right time of day. The taste is very delectable; it’s smoky and crispy flavour complements many a meal than just select dishes. To Market, the Victoria Public Market for La Cocina De Mama Oli
J: The pepper was involved in a mano-a-mano challenge. It was the showdown of who was more manly by eating the most hot peppers. I ate two whole peppers before my tongue heated up like a nuclear reactor. It was clear I had a high tolerance for these dried peppers, but over the long haul I just didn’t have the muster. Ed on the other hand doesn’t have the high tolerance but he can take more punishment. I would like to point out that I can still drink him under the table.
E: He most likely can, but in all my years of hanging out with James, I have yet to see him drink more than just one glass. If he’s going to live up to that claim, he better be singing, “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,” while chugging down pints of lager.
J: Here, I could probably eat more tacos than him. We ordered a dinner-sized meal which was listed under their “specials” menu for $12.99. The first dish was a nicely done soup. The rice, corn and carrots were plentiful enough (with the carrots cut into hearty chunks).
The broth could have used a bit more flavouring.
E: I thought the soup was quite good by itself. I didn’t need more seasoning since the carrots did all the talking to me. I guess James couldn’t hear how soothing it was to an old soul like myself. The chickpeas were even nicely done up. I thought I was being treated to a very simple homestyle meal.
But when I wanted go olé, I picked a pickled pepper that peeped at me, and swallowed it whole. And I’m sure if James was looking the other way, I could have snuck the spicy green chilli into his bowl as well and watched him sizzle. Well, not all of the table dishes were that hot, but oh boy, I could smell them from where I sat.
J: I had no reaction from the chilli. Ed would have been seriously disappointed after I failed to go off like a volcano. The main dish consisted of red rice, lettuce, radishes and cod (lightly breaded) and it was beautifully done. I enjoyed how the outer bread crust sealed in the cod’s juices. The rice was a nice diversion when added to the tortillas made from scratch. They were served traditionally, wrapped in cloth and inside a serving basket.
I added hot stuff to my tortillas but there was a delayed reaction. Perhaps it was thanks to the mandarin orange & lime juice. And this restaurant wasn’t fooling around, the juice was freshly squeezed and quite refreshing.
E: I have to agree. This dish was tasty and I loved how well it was presented. Even the establishment is very colourful and the staff are very friendly. They are often quick to offer would-be customers a sample of their fruity juice of the day. I recall being offered a nice lime flavoured drink on my first visit, and that was sweetly nourishing.
And if La Cocina de Mama Oli offers burritos down the road, I think this establishment can give Hernande’z Cocina a run for its money. That being said, I may have to learn how to sprint fast the next time James and I head out for a spicy meal. I plan on sneaking a ghost pepper or a Moruga Scorpion into his next meal. If that doesn’t blow him up, then I don’t know what will.
4 Blokes out of 5