We eyed the renovations at an old pizza joint on Burnside in Gonzales for weeks as we went to and from church, soccer and ran other errands.
New plants. New lights. New paint. New signs. Finally, an open sign buzzed to life, and we swung in for Sunday lunch.
The inside was shiny and new, with a warm color scheme, and little evidence of its former life as a pizza playhouse. Flat-screen TVs showed football in each of the three dining areas and behind the bar.
We took our seats immediately, and were greeted with crisp chips and cool, chunky salsa served in its own carafe, and we needed that fuel to browse the expansive menu. Mi Cocina has a lot of cocina — maybe even an overwhelming amount to those used to more spare Tex-Mex menus.
I was wary. Huge menus look like variety, but sometimes it means that the restaurant does a lot of things, but none of them well. I was wrong.
The tamal Mexicano ($10.25) was a variety plate recommended by our waiter that included a plump tamale, a pair of taquitos and a huge chile relleno filled with spicy shrimp and covered in a cheese sauce. The tamale was filled with spicy shredded pork wrapped in a thick, slightly sweet corn dough. It was tender and perfectly done.
Also excellent were the huevos Mexicanos, steak and onions ($11.99), which featured two sunny-side-up eggs on a warm corn tortilla, topped with a fresh tomatillo salsa, fresh tomatoes and chopped peppers, and crowned with grilled steak strips and onions. Some of you might be afraid of runny egg. As you mop up grilled onion bits, crunchy bits of charred steak, tangy salsa and rich yolk with a fresh, hot flour tortilla, you should be able to conquer that fear. This meal was divine, and put me in mind of a plate of chilaquiles ordered with difficulty in a neighborhood of Houston where English was not the preferred language.
It was a good memory — almost as good as this dish.