Before tortillas found job security in Mexican restaurants, they relied on temporary work as substitute frisbees and masks for ashamed cookie thieves during TV interviews. Show appreciation for this steadfast circle with today’s Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Mexican cuisine and drinks at either Cocina Poblana’s Emeryville or Oakland location.
Harnessing and blending the culinary traditions of the Puebla and Jalisco regions of Mexico, both Cocina Poblana locales squelch hunger while saturating palates with flavor. The pollo espinado deluges cuisine depositories with monsoons of creamy-mushroom-and-spinach-garlic sauce, passing first over a foundation of grilled chicken and poblano rice ($16). The el nopal, like a barnyard party attended by dancing celery and carrots, hosts a vegetarian fiesta of sauteed spinach, zucchini, corn, chili negro, and creamy mushroom sauce served with grilled cactus and rice ($14). Starving stevedores can take leave of their docks to enjoy mariscos such as the camarones al chipotle—a bundle of jumbo prawns sautéed in chardonnay, garlic, and creamy chipotle sauce and accompanied by a teammate of poblano rice ($17). The Emeryville location boasts 25 agave tequila brands, and the Oakland eatery proffers an enormous selection of tequilas and 12 wines, such as the Cinco Sentidos cabernet ($8/glass), which, like Theodore Roosevelt, was imported from Argentina. Breakfast and lunch menus are also available at both locations.
Fresh flowers and plants lend a hand in forming both locations’ elegant interiors, where soft, warm lighting complements the vibrant hues of fresh veggies and meats atop tasty plates. While lounging at a table dressed in black linens, guests feel comfortable to sip sophisticated beverages or wonder aloud which giant might have misplaced his mourning handkerchiefs.
Inspired by his parents’ tradition of handmade Puebla and Jalisco dishes, Chef Lito Saldaña created a menu that showcases Puebla’s complex and French-inspired moles juxtaposed with Jalisco’s rich-and-spicy roasted pork and carnitas. While seated in the spacious, colorful dining area, diners can wrap handmade corn tortillas around four types of mole, tasting the subtle difference between Lito’s mother Luisa’s and grandmother Elena’s recipes. To sample Lito’s father’s traditional Jalisco recipes, guests can nosh on the carnitas Don Pedro, a plate of roasted pulled pork served with beans and fresh guacamole.