CILANTRO TAQUERIA, Lake Wood, Ohio

Every time I leave the dentist I walk to the first bus stop, then check the schedule to see when the bus is due. If it just passed, or not so long ago, I walk on to the next bus stop, then continue like that till it’s close to the time it’s due and I think if I walked to the next one, I’d miss the bus.

At that first bus stop is where I spend the most time.

Across the street there’s this long, white, old diner. There’s never a car in the parking spaces out front. I often wondered if they were open and why it seemed so desolate. I’m not much of a diner-type person, probably because I’m not much of a middle of the road diner. Although I’ve created a MAINSTREAM ANIMAL-FREE CUISINE, the fact that it’s animal-free makes it not so mainstream.

Anyway, who would expect anything animal-free in a diner? Not me, but then nobody ever came and went, at least not while I was standing at the bus stop or even when riding by it on the bus, so I figured maybe they were closed or only open certain hours, later in the day for dinner perhaps.

This one day, Steve was home and decided to go with me on the bus to the dentist. He’d do some bakery shopping, then we’d meet up later for lunch at Dewey’s Pizza.

While walking to Dewey’s from the dentist we noticed the diner open. Cars out front. A sign even that read CILANTRO TAQUERIA. A Mexican place. When I checked on Google, there are about twenty different Mexican restaurants in the Lakewood/Cleveland area of Ohio. I had no idea.

A couple weeks later, we’re on the bus going to CILANTRO TAQUERIA for lunch.


The decor was a little off-putting and whomever painted it, did a sloppy but thorough job. I’m talking inside. Then I thought maybe that was the purpose – a stressed, casual devil may care approach to covering a surface with paint, caulk, laminate etc. I thought I was in Mexico, believe it or not.

I’ve noticed that in another Mexican restaurant. ‘Stressed’ is the word a furniture-flipper once used to me when discussing a piece of furniture I had my eye on. It’s clean, but it looks old, worn and sometimes even dirty. Some people like that and even request it.

I molded into it pretty quickly where I was comfortable enough knowing it was fresh paint and goo. I felt at home.

It’s a ONE WAY diner, the interior being designed for pandemic purposes. Enter one door on one end and exit the other door on the other end, unless you want to stop three quarters through and grab a booth to eat in.

The pictures I took made it look sparkling.

Happy White Horse was on the wall. Will horse meat be next? Donkey meat?

Steve and I both ordered a bowl. Vegan rice and corn, topped with vegan meats, vegan beans, tofu, and then the usual veggies, vegan sauces and of course cilantro.

It was the tastiest Mexican dish I ever had. Hands down. Tastiest ever. I didn’t even have to buy a beer, that’s how tasty the food was. We were both doing some moaning in the booth.

Of course they had the traditional animal meats and cheeses, and I’m not sure if they use separate ladles for plant-based and animal-based.

Something I didn’t know is the Mexican rice is made with chicken broth; that’s why they had a vegan rice. Two out of the three beans were vegan and they knew what vegan meant; they didn’t have to go back in the kitchen to check with the boss.

Counting the tofu cubes, they served three vegan meats. The other two were sofritos, something like a crumble and chorizo.

I was shocked however, when I saw the word goat on one of the animal meat containers.

When I got home I started to think about it.

Why add another animal meat to the menu? Is goat even allowed? Did they need a special permit for goat?

Did they make a devil deal: Add vegan meat to the menu and we’ll give you the goat?

Years ago a Chinese restaurant on the Eastside had a live goat in the kitchen when the food inspector came around. I don’t know what happened, but it seemed as if it wasn’t legal. Now I don’t know if it was the goat being alive or serving goat meat that was at issue.

Next step dog. Restaurants have already applied for dog permits.

So why is it that so many immigrants come here to open up restaurants or work at them or supply them and want to use animals they freely used in their country of origin?

We progressed beyond that, and now we’re regressing to the old way when new immigrants arrive wanting to replicate their homeland in a new land. You know, because the original immigrants did that, doesn’t mean we have to keep doing it. When will we get out of the past?

Where do they get the goats? Mexico? Or are there goat farms in Ohio or elsewhere in the USA?









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