It can be hard to find good, authentic Mexican food in Plymouth, but thanks to an innovative concept, Luis and Ana Rayas are filling the niche—and they’re bringing their fresh flavors right into your own oven. Introducing what might be the state’s first Mexican take-and-bake spot, La Cocina de Ana.
The concept started innocently enough. With four children at home (and one at college in Boston), a German exchange student and plenty of the kids’ friends visiting after school and on the weekends, the Rayas home always has plenty of mouths to feed. “Can you imagine the amount of children that show up at my door?” Ana Rayas jokes. “I feed everybody. There’s always at least seven people and usually 10.”
Originally from Queretaro, Mexico, the Rayases moved to the United States 20 years ago and have been living in Plymouth for more than 14 years. After Luis was laid off from his job in 2009, he and Ana started looking more seriously into a lifelong vision—starting their own restaurant business. “It was the right time to do it,” says Ana.
Opening just last December, La Cocina de Ana is appropriately named after Ana’s much-loved (and oft-requested) recipes. “I’m not a cook by trade or anything, but I’ve always loved to cook,” she says. “My mom cooked, but I never got the recipes. I just got the love of cooking.” Along with creating dozens of recipes and cooking with her husband and children, Ana has found the time to paint an original mural in the vestibule entrance of the store. As you walk in, sounds of lively Spanish music will play in the background, while brightly colored buildings greet you with plenty of Mexican charm. “It’s a snapshot of our hometown,” she says cheerfully.
This is not your average Mexican restaurant, however. Cocina de Ana has applied the convenience of a take-and-bake (something between Papa Murphy’s and Let’s Dish!) to authentic Mexican cuisine. The recipes Ana uses are ones she’s created herself and focus on traditional regional dishes from different parts of Mexico.
The menu is full of some of the Rayases’ favorite selections, like pozole—a Mexican soup, commonly eaten during the winter months ($11.49, feeds 3–4). Another favorite is chilaquiles verdes, a traditional dish made with fried corn tortillas topped with salsa, shredded chicken and cheese ($12.99, feeds 3–4). More well known classics like tortilla soup also make the menu ($9.49, feeds 3–4), along with desserts like pastel tres leches, or three milk cake ($24.99). The pair even makes their own cilantro and avocado dressings to drizzle on fresh organic salads. As Ana puts it, “You’ll get all the flavors of Mexico.”
The Rayases use healthy fresh ingredients daily in their recipes, and use local vendors whenever possible. “The idea is that you want to eat something homemade at home, but you don’t have time,” says Ana. “And you’re still feeding your family something healthy.”
All of the dishes at Cocina de Ana come in different sizes, a small feeding 1–2 people, a medium 3–4 and a large for 5–6 people. They also do catering for parties and large gatherings. And the most convenient part of it all is that you can just order online by noon for pickup anytime after 4 p.m. But don’t worry, if you forget to order ahead of time, Ana will keep a selection of extra dishes on hand for walk-ins. Cocina de Ana also offers a pampered client program in which you can earn points for each purchase.
La Cocina de Ana
1400 County Rd. 101
Open 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday–Saturday
RECIPE: Ana’s Quesadillas
5 corn tortillas (preferably not refrigerated, they are softer and have better texture)
10 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 Tbsp. butter
To Make: Heat a flat surface (like an electric griddle or frying pan) to medium-high heat. Melt part of the butter, and place tortillas on top. Sprinkle each with 1-2 oz. shredded cheese. Fold in half, and flip every 30 seconds until cheese is melted and tortilla is crisp.
To Serve: Open the quesadilla, and add salsa and guacamole. Serve hot.