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Cochinito Taqueria

RestaurantsSpokane

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One thing I’ve learned during the trials and tribulations of tortillaphila is that fancier taco spots more often than not deliver on the toppings. Don’t get me wrong: The sight of a good taco literally and figuratively falling apart due to a substandard tortilla is sad to behold, but with a reputable chef, you at least can trust what’s in the tortilla.

Cochinito Taqueria is a good example, and the promise of chef made tacos with responsibly sourced ingredients is tantalizing. Here is a spot that serves octopus tacos, which is akin to doing God’s work. A combination of mollusk and cumin might not sound like what dreams are made of, but give it a try, and you may be surprised. It makes for a subtle, yet richly textured, taco.

The classic carne asada equally delivers. Cochinito’s tri-tip is meat done properly: a classy steak you can take home to meet your mom, all wrapped up in a tortilla substantial enough to hold its contents.

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And yes, the tortillas do deliver. I have heard varying opinions on them, none wrong, though not all ones I can see eye-to-eye on. I can appreciate the tortillas’ thickness not being everyone’s thing, but I will defend them to my death. The corn-based bread is thick, around twice that of your normal street variety, and flavorful enough to pass the I Could Eat These By Themselves test. Think of them as a five-inch Mexican style cornbread-tillas, and you’ll know what to expect. The flavor of corn really punches through.

High-End as Cochinito’s tacos are, the taqueria still maintains a casual tone. The airy interiors, with a large mural on the wall, and a walk-up counter, bring everything down to a buoyant experience. It’s a comfortable spot.

$10.50 for two tacos, rice, and beans is a decent price, too. More expensive than a taco truck, for sure, but the quality of the ingredients and the relative size of the tortillas give a good bang for the buck. Add a house-made agua fresca, and you got yourself a proper meal.

Overall, I have few complaints. Nothing really comes to mind, other than the dishes not arriving at the same time, which is a bit annoying, though not a show-stopper. Of places within its ilk, Cochinito ranks high on my list. It reminds me somewhat of Seattle’s Barrio. A bit more casual, maybe, but right up there in quality. Consider that a win.