Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Tinto Cocino + Cantina: We were in search of a food fiesta, and we certainly found that off of Lake Street in Minneapolis at Tinto Cocino + Cantina, which is a corner restaurant with a spacious floor plan and gnarly wall murals on the inside and street-side patio or more private seating on the outside. If you haven’t been here, what is taking you so long to do so? If you have, you’re making great life decisions. Time to get wow’d by some hand crafted cocktails and of course, some Latin American-inspired fare from Executive Chef Carlos Garza.
Alright, @tonyflizzle and I always like to start out with a couple of specialty cocktails. First up is Tinto’s famous Primiero Impacto Margarita ~ Don Julio Reposada, Cointreau, Gran Marnier, agave nectar, fresh lime and grapefruit juice. What can I say, that’s a damn good margarita! Kudos!
Now this was more my style, Mexican Coffee Martini ~ Patron XO, Kahula, Bailey’s, fresh brewed coffee. Slightly thick (but just right), and creamy with two different buzzes. Me likey! It’s a sexy drink that will have people asking “what is that?”
Feeling good, time to grub. Now, I may come off a little biased, but I absolutely love every single item on Tinto’s Starters Menu, but these, these right here, these are my favorite. Try not to eat this without saying WOW! Ropa Vieja ~ Braised beef, spicy aioli, queso fresco, sweet plantains and pickled onions. WOW! These flavors together are amazing. Four to a plate. Get them. I did not get their flautas on this visit, but typically that is my favorite go-to item here.
We visited on Taco Tuesday, so let’s get on to that. Shrimp Tacos ~ Green peppers, red peppers, yellow onion, habanero aioli, queso fresco and cilantro. They make their own corn tortillas with rice flour, so it’s even gluten free and you can really taste the freshness. Served three to a plate. I recommend ordering four different versions at minimum, so make it a 12-pack. These shrimp tacos are just simply refreshing. Drooling yet?
Keeping the #TacoTuesday tradition going with some Fish Tacos ~ White fish (Tilapia), habanero aioli, pickled cabbage, avocado. Light and crisp batter with a good fourth of an avocado, yea, these are some tasty two-bite tacos – enjoyable any day of the week. I’m seriously a fan of their habanero aioli; it’s sweet, yet hot with a faint mustard taste.
Tinto Cocina + Cantina only serves four entrees, so they put a lot of love into each of them and highlight each in their own unique way. Pollo Con Mole ~ Chicken breast, white rice, sesame seeds, pickled onion with traditional mole sauce from Oaxaca. Let me tell ya, that mole sauce is like a sweet bean gravy that I’ve never tasted before. Nice juicy bone-in chicken breast evenly flattened for a perfect cook. Definitely unique and delicious.
Here is another spectacular entree out of the four they have. Atlantic Salmon ~ Grilled salmon, squash purée and seasonal veggies. The salmon had a perfect char on it, so much that I really want to duplicate it at home. I typically just foil-bake salmon or use my Himalayan salt block, but I am really diggin’ this crisp char. Going to also start introducing this squash purée to my house. Very health conscious option right here, and another unique plate I might add.
I should’ve had this first. My all time favorite dessert, Tres Leches. Tinto’s changes it up a bit with their Pinneapple Coconut Tres Leches ~ Pineapple sponge cake, coconut whipped cream and vanilla pineapple compote. I’m not really even into pineapples, but damn I love me some of this. Tres Leches will always be devoured no matter what fruits are involved that I’m not fond of. Perfecto!
Okay, so you’re not going to believe this. All that hype I just told you about the Tres Leches, well, this trumps that. Coconut Lemongrass Flan ~ With cinnamon crunch and whipped cream. Soooooo amazing. At Tinto, this is my new favorite dessert. It literally is perfect in every aspect. The cinnamon crunch is just like a toffee. Don’t share this with anyone. Have them order the Tres Leches and make them share with you, but make sure you get all of this.
Tony Fly and I sat at the half moon bar that seats directly in front of the kitchen, definitely recommend this on one of your visits. Every single day of the week they have happy hour from 3-6pm and those flautas are on it! They also have a hot dog called the Spicy Latino; I had it once, it was great with a Dos Equis (also on HH). Get both for 10 bucks! Rumor has it that a special person was flown in to show the bartenders how to craft some top notch drinks here. Filled with flavors and spice, definitely above average. Watch for seasonal menu changes, which is a good thing in my opinion. Waiting on that new Tres Leches I keep seeing pictures of on their FaceBook page.