This is the last post I need to write before I am all caught up on the backlog of Miami posts! (I have already accumulated a number of Portland posts in my few days here, but regardless it’s progress!).
The day before my flight to Portland for the holidays last week my team scheduled a holiday lunch. The tentative location on the O-vite was Blue Collar with a question mark. Since Hanukkah was starting that night, it seemed like the perfect location to me. Blue Collar’s latkes are the best! In fact, they recently were ranked in the Top 10 latkes in the entire United States (article here)!
In our team meeting right before the lunch we discussed where we were going to go. I was all gung-ho about Blue Collar (since I hadn’t been the one to put that on the O-vite and for the reasons described above). Another suggestion was Mi Rinconcito Mexicano.
Now as some readers will know I am obsessed with Casita Tejas in Homestead. It gives me my Mexican fix. And by Mexican fix I am talking about as close as possible to Southern California Mexican that I knew growing up and in college. Not just any Mexican restaurant. I wouldn’t say that Casita Tejas is at that SoCal level, but it’s definitely the best that I’ve found in Miami. Plus to me it’s in a noticeably higher category from the other Mexican food. The other Mexican food can be solid, but it’s more Tex-Mex or just standard “American” Mexican. My opinion was backed up by Southern California friends of Mexican descent (living in Miami) who thought Homestead Mexican (which also includes El Toro Taco) was the best Miami had to offer.
Over time I’ve heard from multiple people that there are some Mexican restaurants in Little Havana that are really good and legit. Or maybe it was the same restaurant. People tended to be vague on the name and exact location. Almost like a mythical unicorn or something… But I’ll give people some slack on there sometimes being places you find/remember just by sight or memory and I believed them that it (or they) truly does (do) exist.
I’m not sure if Mi Rinconcito Mexicano on Calle Ocho is the place all that people had been talking about (I think some havd made it sound like it was closer to Flagler and the river), but my boss is of Mexican descent and grew up in Southern California and this is her favorite place. Definitely an endorsement that made it worth checking out. A teammate also had a meeting that afternoon on Coral Way, so Mi Rinconcito Mexicano’s location made more sense than Blue Collar. Was happy to check this place out, although I was kind of bummed I wouldn’t get to have some of the amazing latkes before I flew out (and during Hanukkah no less!)…
When we walked into the restaurant, I immediately was like “oh yeah this is going to be good.” Just totally brought me back to the best Mexican restaurants in San Diego and SoCal. The white tile, the little square tables, the pictures of the food on a big posted menu with Spanish titles, some religious icons here and there. It absolutely had the look. Now I just needed to see if the food backed it up.
The menu is pretty extensive and has pretty much all the types of Mexican food you’d be looking for. I zoomed in on the tacos of course (which came with my boss’ strong recommendation). There were the usual meat tacos that come with onions and cilantro (choice of chicken, carne asada, chorizo, pork, etc.). You could also get some carne asada or chicken/pollo tacos with cheese. My boss mentioned that three tacos (which is the number each order comes with) usually fills her up. When she is super super hungry she said she has been able to do 5. As someone who is a big eater, I thought two orders of tacos (three each) seemed like a good call. I went for an order of the chorizo tacos and then the carne asada tacos with cheese.
One friend (as all of my teammates are friends also) went for the chile relleno, while the other two went for tacos (at least one order was vegetarian tacos, the other might have been too). One got an order of the queso fundido with peppers and mushrooms for the group. Our waitress also brought some chips and salsa of course.
The chips were delicious. My boss thought that they are made in house from the tortillas. The salsa was also really good. I liked that it was more of a thick pace kind of salsa vs. the chunkier kind. We had the red salsa, which had a slight spicy hint (not too bad at all to me). My boss also asked for an order of the salsa verde, which definitely had a kick. My boss said it was spicier than it’s been in the past. I loved them both! I definitely ate a lot of chips and also put the salsa on some of the tortillas that came with the queso. I’m not a big mushroom person, so I did not partake in the queso fundido. But everyone else enjoyed the queso and on a return trip I’d like to get the meat version. The tortillas were very delicious!
The rest of our food came out and we dug in. I loved my carne asada tacos. The cheese was a great addition, the meat was quality, it came with avocado, and there was a light (almost I wanna say sweet) pico de gallo on it (but not too much). Wrapped up in the great tortillas and it was delicious! I could also tell that chorizo in the regular tacos (no cheese- just onions and cilantro) was also good quality meat. I liked the ratio of sauce to meat (some Mexican chorizo I’ve found is a little dry or tough and that wasn’t the case here). My only hesitation with those regular tacos is just that I really don’t like cilantro (and the chunky kind of onions). You know there is scientific evidence out there that people either LOVE or HATE cilantro! I am in the latter. I kept a good amount on (the part that didn’t naturally fall off since the tacos are pretty stuffed) to not be disrespectful and wasteful. Overall it doesn’t ruin the taco for me, but man am I just not a cilantro fan… Just not my preferred or desired kind of taco. If you are a cilantor fan, you’ll probably love these tacos. Next time if I want to try the chorizo or another kind of meat, I’ll ask for no cilantro, although ordering just meat tacos seems a little weird. I’ll definitely be ordering more of the carne asada with cheese tacos though (and probably trying the chicken/pollo version)!
Those six tacos (along with the chips and tortillas with salsa) meant that I was super stuffed after our meal. The tortillas are similar (maybe slightly smaller) than tortillas you can buy in the store. (Obviously way better!) But they come with pretty generous amount of fillings. I would wager three tacos is a good meal (especially with some chips and salsa) for a regular person.
My friends all really enjoyed their tacos (they do not have the same aversion to cilantro that I do). My friend thought the chile relleno was good, but it was very very cheesy. A lot of chile rellenos are stuffed with meat of some kind. This was stuffed with cheese. That is what the menu said, but the level of cheesiness was not what she was expecting.
Some other info about Mi Rinconcito Mexicano. It’s apparently a completely women-run business (in terms of ownership and management). We conducted all our ordering in Spanish. The other three are fluent or speak it very well, which of course helped a great deal. I just said my items in “Spanish” and pointed. Luckily being around Miami I think I pulled off “carne asada” and “chorizo” without an American accent. But there was one word in the the name of the cheese tacos (no it was not queso!) that I totally butchered (can’t remember what). However, there are workers there who do speak English, so if you go without someone speaking Spanish you’ll be fine.
Mi Rinconcito Mexicano I think well deserves the claim as some of the best and most authentic Mexican in Miami! I am glad it’s so close (especially relative to Homestead) and will be stopping by again for sure. Those craving more authentic Mexican should give it a try and those just looking for good, quality, filling food in general around Little Havana should stop by. If you go share some comments about the other items (burrittos, sopes, etc.) if you try them. Pics below!
Mi Rinconcito Mexicano- 1961 SW 8th St Miami, FL