Culture

Quesadilla café spices up CocoWalk

Thursday nights at the Grove typically end with a rendezvous to a local pizzeria, in which dozens of students empty their wallets for a slice of pizza. There is an alternative, however, and it consists of 27 healthy and trans fat-free options that will undoubtedly quench your fourth meal hunger. Make way for the future of late-night munchies: gourmet quesadillas at the International Quesadilla Company.

With a friendly staff, cozy outdoor seating and low prices, IQ will surely have you coming back for more. Located on the second floor of CocoWalk, IQ (formerly known as Mari Nalli) is the perfect addition to the lively Coconut Grove. The jazz music and patio style seating stir up an ambience that is relaxing and soothing. And though it is seemingly fast food, the gourmet café is actually devoid of any microwaves, toaster ovens, or deep fryers; rather, a conventional oven creates delicious quesadillas within minutes. Unfortunately, the ingredient mixtures are premade so there are no substitutions.

IQ is a novel and modern twist on an old-school delight that is ideal for a friendly lunch or even a stomach-filler before Thursday night kicks off. At extremely affordable prices, the well-portioned and whole-wheat quesadillas vary in international flavors, such as the Beijing Chicken, which is served with a special peanut sauce alongside carrots, cabbages and bean sprouts.

The restaurant is also vegetarian-friendly, with a section of their menu dedicated to non-meat lovers. The Quatro Formaggio, with its mouth-watering mix of melted mozzarella cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, is highly recommended Each order is also accompanied by a side dish, such as guacamole, sour cream, salad, soup or chips. The homemade Dulce de Leche, drenched over a warm crisp churro, is an absolute boon to the taste buds too. Lastly, don’t miss out Monday, April 14, which is IQ’s buy one, get one free quesadilla day.

An alternative to the ordinary, try this new favorite that is truly extraordinary.

Shawn Shah may be contacted at s.shah13@umiami.edu, and Menaka Dhand may be contacted at m.dhand@umiami.edu.

April 10, 2008

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