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Friday, July 27, 2012

Food Friday: Coco's Italian Market

Steve and I found ourselves heading over to the VFW Post 1970 for the King Tuff show a few weeks ago. The show was moved there from the new Stone Fox venue, which is across from owner/operator Elise Tyler's house due to the venue not being quite ready. She was serving tacos but we didn't get ther in time to enjoy them, so we just moseyed down the road for an impromptu Italian dinner at Coco's.  The restaurant/market is owned by the same people who own the notorious 24/7 crust punk hang out, Cafe Coco. I spent many a late night eating french fries, drinking tea, and writing papers at Cafe Coco. The market is a nice change of pace from the teenage diner feel of the cafe. This looks like a real, legitimate restaurant where adults eat and buy food, despite its lovely location off of Charlotte and right by the highway overpass. Much like the International Market by Belmont, it has shopping up front and food in the back. It always makes me hungry having to walk through all the beautiful things on display before you eat.

The menu has a decent selection of traditional Italian fare. You have your range of pizzas, paninis, pastas and specials. If you are looking for inventive cuisine, this is not the place. If you want something covered in marinara sauce and cheese- this is your place.

I ordered the Eggplant Parmesan Panini. (I was feeling traditional.) The bread used for the sandwich was my favorite part. It was thick and crusty and felt good on the teeth when you ripped into it. The eggplant, breading and tomato sauce were good. Unfortunately, my sandwich lacked the amount of mozzarella I prefer. On one half of my sandwich, within the first bite, I ate all the cheese. I lifted up the bread for a peak under the hood- and there was just no cheese! As far as I'm concerned, any Italian Panini should be oozing cheese. So much that it strings between your mouth and the sandwich. Next time, I'm just going to have to ask for extra cheese. Mucho extra cheese.

Steve ordered the Fettuccine Pollo Pesto which was definitely the better choice. The sauce was oozing with cream and cheese, making the pasta stick together and string when you twirled it on your fork.  The basil was a nice touch, adding flavor without overpowering the chicken and cheese. Also, it came with nice pieces of garlic bread that I loved. My fork kept making its way to Steve's plate. Sharing is caring, right?

Oh, and the market itself has a really nice selection of stuff that you would need to cook your own Italian feast at home. They carry their own frozen pasta as well as Alfresco (the same stuff I get at the Farmer's Market). They have a nice selection of cheeses, meats, canned veggies and sauces.

Also, for the sweet tooth, they have their own gelato. I really wanted to dig into the Stracchiatella, but I was too full. They also carry various chocolates and truffles from local vendors. The prices aren't particularly cheap in the market, but they aren't terrible. And considering this might be the only place to get what you crave, it's worth the splurge.

Overall, I say come here for lunch. Split a pizza and some pasta and save some room for gelato.
Coco's Italian Market on Urbanspoon

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