Do you want to savor a succulent pulled pork (or pulled chicken) and gouda sandwich that my husband, the conference-traveler, says "is the best since I ate in Tennessee?" Start a meal with a soft, thin quesadilla (here served without green chilis per my request), with sides of chunky quacamole and salsa? Or you can pick another item: there are many more choices on the menu from La Cocina, located at 201 N. Court Ave./Old Town Artisans in Tucson. The owner, Jo Schneider, also owner of Bentley's Coffee and Tea which I reviewed earlier, has a gem of a location just footsteps away from the Tucson Museum of Art, Public Library and government offices and parking was easy for us to find (after 5 p.m.) on a side street.
We visited her place on Thursday night before we went to Cinema La Placita. It was a lovely early autumn evening so we sat outside and enjoyed the golden light in the plaza and watched the trees change color as the sun set. As darkness unfolded, twinkling lights came on and so did local musician Stefan George who played his acoustic guitar and sang vintage ballads to us and others gathered for a fine meal. La Cochina offers gluten-free menu options, a wide range of veggies and protein in the form of chicken, tofu and tilapia. Her breads (such as the ciabatta which my hubby said "hugged the pork perfectly") comes from the Tucson Bake House.
Service was attentive, friendly and paced so that we could enjoy the music and our meal. If I had wanted to, I could have leisurely shopped the galleries and shops, but I will do that on another night. We saved room for dessert and so glad we did: a fudge-icing brownie that Jo described aptly as "chocolate on steroids." She told us it was a homemade recipe and the "birthday cake of choice" by her two sons.
Jo is dedicated to making La Cocina a downtown foodie success and she is open seven days a week with brunch on Sundays. Her commitment to the Tucson community goes back thirty years and we Tucsonans and visitors need to do our part to keep this gem glowing in downtown Tucson. So visit La Cochina next time you are in the area and say "hi" to Jo as you settle in for a taste from her kitchen.