Sometimes, it's good to get away and check out someplace you wouldn't normally go. In this case, we headed far west in the county in search of some authentic Mexican cuisine.
We searched for a spot in Harvard and came upon La Cocina de Emma, a small white house with red trim off Brink Street in Harvard.
We parked in back and entered behind the building to a warm smile on a recent Sunday early afternoon.
The NASCAR race was getting ready to start on TV and we picked a spot to watch. But we weren't here for the race, we were her for the rice and beans.
It's my fellow diner's favorite food, so we ordered the kids meal with a cheese quesadilla and got a limeade along with it.
I kept things simple as well. I know what I like and I was all about trying it here, so I picked the chorizo burrito ($7.49).
But first, we went after the chips and salsa that had come to our table immediately upon entering. There's something great about the warm chips and salsa on the side at an authentic Mexican diner.
I had ordered a Negra Modelo to start as well, which always seems like a good choice.
Ultimately, it was a simple meal. But it's always one we consistently enjoy and one that La Cocina de Emma did well.
The kids meal plate ($4.49) was clean by the time we were done and I had also filled up with the burrito, which was filled with a ton of chorizo along with lettuce, beans, rice and cheese.
They offer plenty of other authentic options, from sopes to enchiladas to quesadillas to huaraches to seafood options (maricos). There's also tortas, tacos (the onion and cilantro kind, of course), flautas and breakfast options (desayunos).
Essentially, you can get all the variety you would find at any good authentic Mexican spot.
What I can tell you is that we headed out in search of something specific and, in La Cocina de Emma, we found it. If that's what you're looking for too, look no further.
Online reviews show that the mole is popular and the guacamole looks outstanding as well. All in due time, we'll get the chance to try them all.
• The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.
WHAT: La Cocina de Emma
WHERE: 111 W Brink St, Harvard
WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, closed Wednesday.
INFORMATION: Call 815- 770-0710.