Those of us who love it are always crying about it. There isn't any quality Caribbean food around here! But that's not quite true, is it? If you've been paying attention, you know Tinto Cocina y Cantina is using all the familiar flavors — cumin, chiles, plantains — to put out a regional brand of Caribbean-inflected Mexican food. It's just the thing to keep cold, wintry Lake Street aglow with the spirit of warmer climes.
Pernil is a dish you don't get just anywhere around here — it's a long-simmering braise, where time is as important an element as anything. The yin of fatty pork shoulder gets bombarded with the yang of exuberant amounts of citrus and brine — vinegar, olive, and lime. The underlying funk of garlic and cumin play bass note to the mouth-pucker; the whole of it is deeply complex, savory and satisfying.
Scoop it up with little "spoons" of caramelized plantains to round out the experience.
Tinto Cocina y Cantina
901 W. Lake St., Minneapolis