Someone asked me the other day about hidden gems and it triggered a memory of chilaquiles that I haven't shared! For shame on me.
There are plenty of days when I am chained to my desk and not gloriously wining and dining on my extravagant expense account. As I rush home, mentally scoping the 394 corridor for take out, I remember about La Cocina de Ana.
In a small strip mall off Country Road 101 in Plymouth/Wayzata sits this little storefront attached to a commercial kitchen. In this kitchen Ana Rayas is prepping and cooking authentic, delicious, super fresh, did I say delicious, Mexican dishes that you can pick up and cook at home. It's Mexican take and bake that is shockingly like having a really great Mexican chef neighbor who cooks like the bejeezus and lets you come over and raid her fridge.
The chilaquiles verdes were the first thing I tried and it shocked me how vibrant the flavors were. Puerco con poblano, beef tinga, and pozole verde with white hominy are all so much tastier and more flavorful than anything I can find in a market or a local taco shop. My all time favorite is the side of frijoles con chorizo which is a little bucket of just-chopped cilantro, black beans, plump tomatoes, and slightly spicy bits of sausage. It is something I eat straight from the container in the car ride home. While she's not making her own tamales, she's got La Loma's in the case.
The key is to call ahead and place your order so that they can make your dishes or at least set some aside. And look at the calendar, not every dish is available every day. You can walk in and take a gamble with the cooler, usually sides and and dressings are still in the case, but if you can wait a bit, Rayas can usually put something together for you.
I have yet to try the tres leches or lime cake, maybe I'll swing through tonight. In the strip there's also Vinifera Wines and Ales which sells craft beers and nicely priced wines, so you can make a one-stop shop for a really good night.