Cocos Locos – Willoughby, OH (Cleveland)
It’s been over a decade since I’ve left my “home” of southern California. Although I wasn’t quite the foodie adventurer I am today, I was never deprived of good food when I lived there. There was no shortage of different places to try, especially if you were willing to drive. In the years since leaving, it’s rare that I come across a place that truly reminds me of home. Cocos Locos was the first place in a long time that did just that.
Cocos Locos is as authentic as it gets when it comes to Mexican food. For any Clevelanders (official and unofficial), it’s located in a small strip mall on Euclid Ave near Som Center Road across from the hospital. It can be easy to miss so keep an eye out. But let’s be honest, can you really pass up a place with a name like Cocos Locos?
I was reading the fairly extensive menu when I was given the standard chips and salsa. However, there was nothing standard about it. The chips were warm – I LOVE warm chips – and the salsa was out of this world good. It was a thick and chunky salsa with chopped onions and cilantro mixed throughout. I had to ask what it was made out of because it tasted so different from any other salsa I’ve had before, but it truly was just tomatoes with onions garlic and cilantro. I didn’t even care that it got spicier the more I ate it. I just wanted to keep eating it, but of course I had to save room for dinner.
It took me forever to decide because everything just sounded delicious. They have a comprehensive menu with everything you could want from tacos and burritos to fajitas, tamales and enchiladas. I finally settled on the carnitas, which was big chunks of pork fried with onions and served with tomatoes, guac, rice, beans and flour tortillas. The carnitas had perfectly crisp edges and was fork tender at the same time. I piled it onto one of the warm tortillas along with a little bit of onions, tomatoes, and guac and it was a seriously perfect bite. I’m almost at a loss of words to describe how good it was because it was just that good.
Of course this just means you have to go try it yourself and I have to come with you because there was a long list of other stuff I wanted to try.