Ever walk into a restaurant and instantly know that your taste buds were in for a cultural awakening? That’s how I felt about and proceeded to feel at Cocina 35.
My friend and coworker Armando suggested this chilaquiles spot in Cortez Hill that’s supposed to have the most authentic chilaquiles in San Diego. I trust Armando, or as I like to call him, Godmando, with a lot of things, from website design to Mexican food suggestions to non-Mexican food suggestions. So one Sunday morning, boyfran and I decided to venture to this rarely ventured part of town for some dank Mexican breakfast.
Conveniently situated next to a bail bonds shop, Cocina 35’s facade is nice bright pink against downtown’s many shades of gray.
As soon as you walk closer, you’ll notice the line. Yep. As with any brunch spot in San Diego, there is a wait to get seated.
Side note: I always tell people that San Diego is THE place to get brunch. Sure, fish tacos and California burritos get all the cred, but I personally think SD offers the best brunch around.
The wait. It really wasn’t too bad. There are plenty of seats in the waiting area, an awning for sun coverage, and they offer free coffee, water, and cookies! That’s better service than places where you’re supposed to wait, like the doctor’s office… or the airport… or Disneyland. Man, I hate waiting.
Once called, we had the option of sitting outside or inside, and decided to wait for a table inside because, honestly, it was quite nippy outside. San Diego nippy. So probably around 63 degrees… ☺
Inside, I discovered that it was cafeteria style! You basically take a look at the available dishes behind a glass wall and choose which you’d like to order. Choose from chilaquiles, machaca plates, tortas, pancakes, churro waffles (yup, it’s a thing), flan, and more. You’re also able to build your own salads and tortas.
Cocina 35 is neat because they bring together the flavors from various Mexican countries, from Sinaloa to Yucatán, into this one restaurant. Mmmm. Cultural exposure.
After having a bit of choice overload, I decided to stick with the classic: Chilaquiles de la Casa. Boyfran ordered the Machaca Sinaloense plate. We also ordered some churros and a Guava and Lime agua fresca. How could I not?
Praise to Godmando. My chilaquiles were seasoned PERFECTLY and the pork was fall-apart tender, and WAY better than the ones I had at Cheeky’s in Palm Springs. The salsa bar that was conveniently located behind us was unnecessary. It was good already. Not sure what they did to the tortilla chips underneath all that sublime sauce, but they were crispyyyy and remained crispy throughout the duration of my delicious dining experience. Paired with a refreshing sip of the agua fresca, my entire meal was great from start to finish.
Boyfran’s machaca also blew his mind.
“This is the best machaca I’ve ever had.” – a mind blown Boyfran
Being a San Diego native, Boyfran has had his fair share of machaca. He’s a machaca maniac. So when he says it’s the best, I trust him. Almost as much as I trust Godmando. But, tbh, the tortilla could have been better. Come on, Cocina 35. Let’s raise the standard of our tortillas.
The churros were nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t recommend the caramel that comes with it. It tasted off… But here are some nice photos of it before I took a bite.
Overall, very satisfied and I can’t wait to try more things on the menu. Thank you, Godmando, for the suggestion. #MakingChilaquilesGreatAgain
WHAT WE ATE AND DRANK:
- Chilaquiles de la Casa
- Machaca de Sinaloense
- Guayaba y Limon Agua Fresca
M-F: 8am – 3pm
S-Su: 8am – 2pm
1435 6th Ave
San Diego, California