If you’re seeking a Hatch chile fix, believe the best enchiladas are served flat, or just want a plate heaped with delicious food that won’t break the bank, Poco and Mom’s is the spot for you. They’ve been serving up New Mexican cuisine in Tucson since 1999. In 2014, they opened their Cantina location, featuring expanded hours, an appetizer menu and full bar, and a banquet room for special events.
I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try something off the Cantina drink menu, and opted for the Hatch Margarita ($8), made with Hatch chile-infused Zapopan reposado. Limey and sweet, with a good kick, this drink both refreshes and sets a small fire at the back of your throat. I enjoyed it.
I asked Carol Gibson, manager at Poco and Mom’s Tanque Verde location, what distinguishes New Mexican cuisine from other Southwestern food. She pointed to subtle differences, such as enchiladas that are served flat instead of rolled, with corn tortillas stacked on top of one another and the option to order eggs on top as being “a New Mexico thing.” Perhaps most importantly, all of the chiles served at Poco and Mom’s are imported from New Mexico, guaranteeing diners experience that authentic Hatch flavor.
Fair warning: New Mexican food is served spicy, and Poco and Mom’s portions are large. Come with a big appetite and tastebuds ready for heat.
Poco and Mom’s website declares, “It’s Hard Not to be Addicted to this Place,” and I have to agree. Our entrees came out slathered in sauce and cheese, the very definition of comfort food. Mom’s Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas ($11.49) came with a generous helping of rice and beans on the side, a good amount of heat on the tongue, and the shredded chicken was tender and flavorful. Both the beans and rice at Poco and Mom’s contain meat in the form of bacon fat and chicken stock, respectively, and while this doesn’t make them veggie-friendly, it does make them delicious for those who eat meat. The beans in particular are outstanding: creamy, salty, and capable of inspiring return visits for frijoles alone.
If you’re having trouble deciding what to eat, Poco and Mom’s Best of New Mexico Combo Plate ($12.99) gives you a chance to experience a bit of everything. The platter features a Green Chile Chicken Enchilada, a sauce-drenched Chile Relleno, and Red Shredded Beef Taco, and includes sides of beans and rice. I swapped out the rice for an extra-cheesy bowl of calabacitas, and was treated to tender squash and onions swimming in rich tomato flavor. The tortillas used at Poco and Mom’s are made fresh in Phoenix and shipped down daily, and provided an excellent backbone for both my enchilada and taco. While not the most aesthetically appealing plate I’ve ever eaten, my tastebuds were in heaven as I worked my way through the food, and I went home with a full belly, a full carton of leftovers, and a big smile on my face.
Poco and Mom’s Cantina
7000 E. Tanque Verde
Tucson AZ 85715