I share a lot of empathy with my peers about bringing food from home at work. We like home cooking, knowing how it was made and the money saved isn’t bad either. But we can’t all do it. For all the times I can’t bring lunch to the office, I spent some time thinking about how to eat something healthy. Español aquí.

I recently found a menu post that’s close to me that cooks like home. Not without before making some bad choices that included “chifas”, cevicherías and Creole menus of dubious origin that will remain anonymous. Here’s how I made my choice and hope you can find your own corner to enjoy as much as I do La Valeriana at Petit Thours Avenue. Español aquí.

1. The entree. I spent most of my life saying no to soup but at my new menu spot they have the best soup entrees. I wasted so much time asking for tequeños and causa when I should’ve gone for the soup.

2. House food. Because I love food from home, I have a special space in my heart for all things stew. A trivia fact is that this wheat stew is the first dish I ate at La Valeriana. It was almost like home, with the only difference that they added melted cheese and a little cumin. Even better.

3. Hygiene and presentation. Good flavors begin with your eyes and before giving my heart to La Valeriana I wandered to other businesses in the neighborhood. I like their cleanliness, but they won over my heart with the presentation of their dishes which is even more enjoyable.

4. Closeness. This place is five or six blocks from my office. Arrival is after a leisurely walk in my heels. For me it’s a good short exercise. My best walks have included sunshine and good company although I’m not afraid to eat alone or take it to go. We’re all grown ups here.

Bonus points. Did I mention they refill your beverage?