How many times have you looked in your freezer wishing you had something you could take out and eat in a few minutes? A mom of two children, Cristina Orvananos, who has found herself in that situation, has taken matters into her own hands. With her husband José Rodriguez as her business partner, the duo has opened Two-Way Kitchen a store where you can buy a number of frozen meals prepared in Coronado to stock in your freezer.
“This was born of my need for my family, so why not help other people?” Orvananos said.
Orvananos and her husband are originally from Mexico City and moved to Coronado three years ago. Orvananos is very familiar with the town since she has been vacationing in Coronado since she was a little girl.
“The pandemic showed my husband could work from anywhere and we came to Coronado, our happy place, sold our condo in the Shores and bought a house,” she explained.
Orvananos is not a new business owner; in fact she has owned for the past 10 years, two fitness studios with restaurants in Mexico City.
The idea of Two-Way Kitchen came about when she found herself in the U.S. without the help she had in Mexico. “I used to have a lot of help and never worried about cooking at my house. I showed up and meals were prepared…here you have to think of menus, shopping, cooking, cleaning. There are a lot of options online, but you need to plan in advance and order the meals,” she said.
At times she found herself at lunchtime with no food in the house. She went out and bought pre-made meals but she found the homemade taste was missing. That’s when the idea of the frozen food came about. It took her one year to develop the brand, test recipes with a food engineer to determine which retain their flavors and taste when frozen. Orvananos has a commercial kitchen in Coronado where the food sold at Two-Way Kitchen is prepared.
Based on her family recipes, she had developed a menu with dishes that freeze well and when defrosted maintain that homemade taste. “It’s like hitting the pause button on the food…All of our dishes have healthy, clean ingredients, and have no refined sugars, no preservatives or filler or colors added,” she said. Two-Way Kitchen food can be stored in the freezer for up to four months.
From the original 25 recipes Orvananos worked with, the menu was narrowed down to 13, to offer only the best dishes. Some of Orvananos’ personal favorites are Chicken Noodle Soup made with zucchini noodles and Cochinita made with pork carnitas and an orange peanut sauce. Other dishes include Beef Bolognese, Beef Empanadas, Smoked Marlin Dip, Black Bean Bisque and sides like grains and vegetables. Orvananos plans on expanding the menu in time and offer more choices to her customers
Orvananos said she has always been her own hardest critic, that’s why her businesses in Mexico City have been doing well. If she doesn’t like a dish she will not place it on the menu.
Two-Way Kitchen store has an inviting atmosphere, featuring blues and yellows and natural wood. A large two door freezer in the store offers the convenience for customers to see the dishes they choose to take home.
Two-Way Kitchen dishes can be heated in the microwave, but the preferred method is using a pot of water which is brought to a boil to which you add the container, without a lid, until it thaws. Once thawed place the food in a pot. Food can be picked up from the store or ordered online and delivered through Uber Eats or Doordash.
Two-Way Kitchen, 1305 Ynez Place. Two-Way Kitchen is located on the second floor in the building at the corner of Ynez Place and B Avenue.
For more information or order food visit www.twowaykitchen.com. Hours: 12 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Dec. 24, 25 and 31 and Jan. 1.