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At one time, I scarfed Mexican food like there was no tomorrow. It was, after all, the only ethnic cuisine I knew of, besides Chinese-American, which never seemed ethnic to me — just boring. But times have changed. With more varied cuisines available in Boise, I rarely indulge in Mexican anymore. Today, on the way to the new neighborhood plant nursery down the street from my house, I needed a small bite to eat. I didn’t want to drive out of my way, I didn’t want to eat at a chain, and it is a Sunday. Options were limited. The local Corona Village drew me in. Just a snack, I figured.

I’ve been to this establishment before. It is not one of my favorites, despite its proximity and  reasonably interesting menu, which includes several vegetarian options. I tried to pay attention today, to figure out why I don’t eat here more often. The waitress arrived promptly with a menu, chips and salsa.  Really, what I wanted was three tiny street-tacos. But I didn’t see anything like that on the menu, not even under appetizers. I ordered Cazuela Mexicana, a blend of sautéed chicken and steak with mushrooms and three kinds of special sauce, topped with melted cheese.

While I waited a reasonable length of time for my meal, I couldn’t keep my fingers out of the substantial chips that would have held up well to a nice, chunky salsa with lots of cilantro. Unfortunately, Corona Village’s salsa is on the thin side, with next to no cilantro, few chunks, and mildly flavored with chili powder. Not bad, but not exciting either.

As implied by the name, my Cazuela Mexicana arrived in a small crockery bowl, along with the obligatory rice, frijoles, and bird-sized scattering of lettuce garnish on the plate beneath it. The mushrooms were fresh; the chicken, tender and the beef was — beef; all bathing in a pleasant, tomato-based broth. The beans looked freshly prepared, but the rice was the standard  “Spanish rice” that nearly all Mexican restaurants serve around here. This was all more food than I wanted or needed. As always, I ate it all. That’s a whole other story.

 And what is Mexican food without a ‘rita? My Margarita was served in one of those glass globes that requires two hands to lift. Decadent for mid-day, eh?

My meal was good, just not great. I suspect that a minimal amount of “prepared food product” goes into Corona’s recipe’s. But the slick little table tent advertising a clearly, pre-made cheesecake product made me doubt my previous statement.

My little snack set me back $20. This isn’t McDonald’s pricing, nor is it a McDonald’s menu. The waitress assured me that all three Corona Village Mexican Restaurants in the Treasure Valley are locally owned. I visited the East Boise establishment on Broadway. Corona Village Restaurants serve lunch and dinner and can package any of their meals to go.

2137 Broadway     Boise      336-6711
4334 W. State        Boise     338-9707
21 E Fairview         Meridian 887-9348

Corona Village Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon