Category Archives: Mexican, Cuban, Caribbean

A happy return to El Mariachi, a favorite taqueria

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Hola! I finally got back to a favorite taqueria, El Mariachi, last week, and oh, did it make me happy.

Now I wish it hadn’t taken me so long, but I felt uneasy about the idea before I finally got fully vaccinated. There’s typically some language barrier for me at the storefront places I love best – I can read Spanish fairly well, but I’m not good with conversations en español – so I couldn’t gear up to investigate a favorite spot’s takeout and curbside delivery options.

Now that’s over, and I hope it’s over to stay. Continue reading A happy return to El Mariachi, a favorite taqueria

La Suerte serves a fine Latin-style brunch

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

In the joy of this almost post-pandemic summer, diners are rushing back to local restaurants. But servers, line cooks and other restaurant workers aren’t in such a hurry, so if you’re dining out in Louisville these days, you may encounter a wait.

You’ve heard the stories: A three-hour delay at a popular riverside fried-fish eatery. Two hours for seating at a popular watering hole, with many open tables in sight. Kitchens so backed up that you can’t even place an order. Harried staffers pulling multiple duty as greeter, server, cook, and cashier.

Indeed, a host warned of a “15-minute hold” at La Suerte recently, when the brunch crowd was apparently slamming the kitchen and slowing the pace of orders coming out. Continue reading La Suerte serves a fine Latin-style brunch

Taco Week lures us to Limón y Sal

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Bam! The notification popped up on the top of my screen with an attention-getting tone: “Louisville Taco Week,” it read. “Because Taco Tuesday isn’t enough! We’re bringing you $2 tacos from some of Louisville’s most popular taco joints.”

What’s not to like about that? Who doesn’t love tacos? It got my attention anyway, and sent me on a taco quest that ended up at the suburban Mexican eatery Limón y Sal. (I’m sorry to have to tell you that the April 12-18 feature ended before you saw this, but hey, tacos are good cheap eats even when they’re not on sale.) Continue reading Taco Week lures us to Limón y Sal

Con Huevos makes takeout brunch work

Brunch is one of my favorite meals. It’s right up there with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and, of course, breakfast for dinner. Notice how breakfast keeps coming up?

But I’ve had a problem with brunch since the pandemic has wiped out my enthusiasm for dining inside a local eatery, no matter how carefully socially distanced: I love brunch dishes that feature soft fried eggs or poached eggs, ready to deliver their custardy yolk as a flavor booster to whatever they’re served on. Like the huevos rancheros at Con Huevos, for example. Continue reading Con Huevos makes takeout brunch work

Taco Choza’s burrito is bigger than your sled. Well, almost.

Imagine yourself with a burrito on your plate. A hefty El Compadre burrito from Taco Choza, that’s a good one. Are you getting hungry? I sure am! Lift it, feel its weight, admire the tasty char marks on its textured wheaten surface. Mmm, mmm, good.

This is what I love about a burrito: When you bite through that tasty flour-tortilla wrapper, your first mouthful incorporates a collection of goodies. With Taco Choza’s signature El Compadre that’s going to be meat, reddish-tinted Mexican rice, two kinds of beans, some salad greens, a dash of pico de gallo, a taste of guacamole, a bit of sour cream, a drizzle of queso, all coming together in one symphonic gulp. Continue reading Taco Choza’s burrito is bigger than your sled. Well, almost.

Cochinita pibil at Mayan Cafe takes us straight to Yucatán

Cochinita pibil. These two Spanish words – one common, the other not so much – shine a bright light on both the Mayan cuisine of Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula and neighboring Guatemala and into one of Louisville’s favorite South-of-the-Border restaurants, Mayan Cafe.

So what’s a cochinita pibil? A little pig – that’s the easy part – long and slowly roasted in a tart, flavorful marinade of sour oranges and Mayan spices, housed in a large metal box and lowered into a pib, the traditional Mayan fire pit.

Mayan Cafe doesn’t have a giant fire-in-the-hole in the tiny kitchen of its NuLu home, but I can testify that Chef Bruce Ucán’s oven-roasted rendition is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen done to pork. Continue reading Cochinita pibil at Mayan Cafe takes us straight to Yucatán

We love tacos, and I Love Tacos does them right

I should have probably gotten out to I Love Tacos in Jeffersontown sooner. It certainly got my attention when its owners were brave enough to open up (takeout and curbside service only) on March 25, one week after Governor Andy shut down dining in across the state.

And then there’s that “I ?? Tacos” logo with an emoji heart. I don’t think I’ve ever checked in at a restaurant with an emoji in its name until now. Continue reading We love tacos, and I Love Tacos does them right

What pandemic? El Mundo Highlands is up and running

It takes a certain bold spirit and lack of risk aversion to open a new restaurant during a pandemic when, at best, restaurants face an extraordinary burden of regulation for our health and safety.

That didn’t slow down the folks at El Mundo, though. Not only did they open their second restaurant – El Mundo Highlands – last month, but they did it in the oversize (4,000 square-foot, four-levels) space that long housed Asiatique and much more briefly its successor, Flavour Restaurant. Continue reading What pandemic? El Mundo Highlands is up and running

MexA Taco deliciously satisfies our Mexican-food crave

If you haven’t been watching Padma Lakshmi’s new series, Taste the Nation, on Hulu, you really should start. The host of Bravo’s popular Top Chef moves to something completely different with this series that focuses on food culture in America through the eyes and taste buds of immigrant communities.

In Episode 1, “Burritos on the Border,” she covered restaurants and tortillas and immigration and politics in El Paso, Texas, and its neighbor Juarez, Mexico. The program was fascinating, and it made me crave tacos so hard that we headed straight for MexA Steak Tacos the very next day. Continue reading MexA Taco deliciously satisfies our Mexican-food crave

Galan’s offers a tasty oasis in a West End food desert

Many of Louisville’s West End neighborhoods are defined as food deserts, places where low-income neighbors don’t have easy access to supermarkets. But Carlos Galan is trying to do something about that.

Galan, who came to Louisville from Florida five years ago with his wife, Kim, saw potential in the West End, and he is taking practical steps to bring food to the Market Street neighborhood where Russell meets Portland. Continue reading Galan’s offers a tasty oasis in a West End food desert