I went to high school and college in Tucson, Arizona, and my mom and my wife’s parents still reside in the desert, so I make it back often.
When I had an office on Congress street in the early aughts, we were a very short walk from Little Cafe Poca Cosa, and thus spent many a morning there eating my favorite dish, pork chile colorado. It was a great desayuno. And sometimes lunch too.
Little Cafe Poca Cosa is not to be confused with Cafe Poca Cosa the elder, which is a decidely much more upscale affair at a different downtown location.
Some real estate snafu has forced the little cafe to move from its former hole-in-the-wall locale to this spot on Stone Avenue adjacent to the Tucson public library.
Speaking of the Tucson public library…what the hell is this?
The interior is a bit sparse, but larger (by a factor of two) than the previous place.
The folks at Little Poca Cosa (it is owned and operated by a family with deep roots in Southern Arizona) are very socially conscious. They continually raise money for good causes, and invite their guests to help out. Dropping a buck after a meal into the till really does help you karmically correct yourself before you wreck yourself.
The breakfast menu.
The lunch menu.
As soon as you’re seated, you’re greeted by chips and salsa.
My old mainstay, the pork chili colorado. Like visiting with an old girlfriend, only without the restraining orders.
All lunch plates are served with a simple but satisfying rice, and a colorful salad.
The dressing for the salad — a nice, herby vinagrette — sits on the table, allowing you to douse to your heart’s content.
Plates are served with your own personal tortilla warmer…
…with your own personal stash of tortillas and…
…these wonderfully cooked pinto beans on the side.
So how was it? Good, just as I remember, though a bit more mild than I recall. My M.O. is to douse and eat the salad, then drop a few pieces of pork into the tortillas and garnish with salsa and eat those as impromptu tacos.
Finally, the last step is to eat the rice, which — when combined with the leftover salad dressing mixed with red chili sauce — becomes sublime.
Just outside the door you’ll find this steampunk public art installation. I like touching it.