Last year when our family attended a ringette tournament in St. Catherines, we resolved to try what we thought might be an independent Mexican restaurant: La Cocina de Mama. It turned out to be Colombian -- different, but still very delicious, cuisine.
More than that, however, we were made to feel like welcome guests. The owner asked us our preferences, and explained the nature of the Colombian kitchen. We sampled all sorts of food before settling on our chosen menu. And the conversation was as nourishing as the meal.
I don't know what percentage of St. Catharine's population comes from Colombia, but they all seem to frequent La Cocina. As we sat there on a Saturday morning, the door never stayed closed for long. "Everyone who walks in here has a smile on their face," I said to my wife.
She agreed. "They come in with open faces," she said.
One year later my daughters still talk about La Cocina de Mama. Strangers in a strange town couldn't do any better than spending an hour or two in "Mama's Kitchen."