The Boston Phoenix
February 4 - 11, 1999

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Mi Casita

Un poco diferente

On the Cheap by Liz Zack

Patsy Cline croons over eight tiny tables while customers seated in rummage-sale finds sip cream soda and cherry cola. From its background music to its citrus-colored draperies, Mi Casita, in Jamaica Plain, does Mexican un poco diferente.

Open only six months, Mi Casita has developed a loyal following thanks to its cool digs, cheap prices, and light take on traditional Mexican cuisine. Dishes don't drown in cheese, and the ingredients are fragrant and fresh. Really fresh. (Mi Casita's owner, Felicia Sanchez, grows vegetables for the restaurant in her garden during the summer.) The result is that you don't feel as if you've swallowed a bowling ball when you leave.

You can taste the fresh tomatoes and cilantro in both the corn-chipotle and the traditional-style salsa (each $2.95, with chips). Another good choice is "Our Famous Bean Burrito," which comes with a dinner salad and cumin-flavored rice for $5.95. Quesadillas with any of the three tortilla choices (we liked the spinach best), covered with Mi Casita's chunky, fragrant salsa, are $5.95. The homemade guacamole ($1.25) is creamy and slightly tangy (it's mixed with mayonnaise) -- a great dip for whatever you order.

And don't miss the desserts here, which are also homemade; you'll often walk by Mi Casita's windows and see people eating alone, sharing an intimate moment with a slice of Key lime pie. If you must limit yourself to a single dessert, it should be the coffee flan ($1.75). It's perfectly smooth and not at all heavy.

Mi Casita's only drawback? The distressing lack of margaritas. There's no liquor license here, and sometimes a cream soda just doesn't do it.

Mi Casita, located at 597 Centre Street, in Jamaica Plain, is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call (617) 983-5000.

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