One doesn’t typically think of a supermarket as the place to go for lunch, but La Plaza (13609 Lakewood Hts Blvd., 216-476-8000) isn’t your typical supermarket. For starters, it’s a Mexican market. That means it’s got all the bases covered when it comes to cooking ingredients, including Latin-themed produce, cheeses, salsas, spices, dried chiles, and tortillas. There also is fully stocked butcher counter with all matter of seasoned and marinated meats ready to toss in a pan or on the grill.
Just to the right of the butcher counter is the lunch counter, a magical place dispensing Cleveland’s finest tacos.
(Yes, I said Cleveland’s best tacos.)
At $2 a pop, the carnitas, chorizo, al pastor and barbacoa also happen to be the best deal in town. They are built on a pair of griddle-warmed corn tortillas. They come naked. A nearby service station offers chopped onion, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and the spiciest salsa verde around, plus other sauces. There is a very small eating area, which is all one needs to scarf them down.
Nearby, a shelf is filled with fresh but packaged tamales, sold six to a trey for $7.50, which are perfect for taking home. Across the store, containers of that amazing salsa verde plus a number of other mild and spicy salsas are stocked in a cooler. You might as well pick up some chicharones – fried pork rinds with skin –while you’re here. They are sold by the pound at the butcher counter.