Category Archives: Mexican, Cuban, Caribbean

¿Taco? ¡Bueno!

Taco Bueno
The fare at Taco Bueno is a lot like Taco Bell’s, with similar faux Mexican dishes. Photo by Robin Garr.

Remember last year, when the return of the old Taco Tico chain brought traffic jams to Southwestern. Jefferson County as crowds of pilgrims trooped out Lower Hunters Trace in search of a nostalgic lunch?

We’re seeing something like that again this month as the iconic Taco Bueno chain arrives in the metro, luring lines of supplicants to form around its small new building in Jeffersonville.
Continue reading ¿Taco? ¡Bueno!

More cheap eats: La Rosita

Israel Landin
La Rosita owner Israel Landin opened a second New Albany location a few months ago. Along with the familiar fare, La Rosita is vegetarian-friendly. LEO photo by Nicole Pullen.

LEO’s Eats with Louisville HotBytes

I love Mexican food, and I mean real Mexican food, the kind that challenges gringos to enjoy true ethnic flavors and preparations, even if you have to muddle through with awkward Spanglish and pointing at the picture of the dish you want. To my mind, one of the happiest trends of recent years in Louisville dining has been the arrival of dozens of tiny taquerias that take us a long step past Americanized “Tex-Mex.”

La Rosita in New Albany, run by the affable and thoroughly bilingual husband-wife team of Israel and Lidia Landin, has been a favorite since they first landed in a space the size of a walk-in closet nearly hidden inside a produce market on Charlestown Road a few years ago.

Continue reading More cheap eats: La Rosita

Chef Dan seeks out the little donkey

Salsarita's
Salsarita’s chicken burrito with black beans, medium salsa, guacamole, lettuce, cilantro, red onions and cheese. Photo by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Qdoba, Moe’s, Salsarita’s)

When a top chef takes a break from cooking for other people and ventures out to dine on someone else’s fare, what goodies is he likely to choose? Ethereally trendy foams and smears and other cutting-edge num-nums of molecular gastronomy?

Well, maybe.

But if you ask Chef Dan Thomas, sous chef at Big Spring Country Club and late of City Café, Café Metro and Equus, about the casual snack that smacks his piñata, a fond, distant look comes into his eyes and he literally licks his chops.

“Burritos,” he said. Continue reading Chef Dan seeks out the little donkey

Mexican hat trick: tacos three ways

Jay Denham
Lining up for lunch at Taco Tico. LEO photos by Nicole Pullen

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Taco Tico, Taco Bell, El Zarape)

Way back at the dawn of time (oh, all right, during the 1970s), back when most people in Louisville thought “nacho” was just a cool way of saying “righto” and even the cognoscenti pronounced “taco” as “tack-oh,” indeed even before the first Taco Bell rang the region’s chimes, there was Taco Tico.

(Actually, for the sake of historical accuracy, the first Taco Tico was founded in Wichita, Kan., in 1962. Glen Bell opened his first eponymous taqueria in Downey, Calif., that same year. Louisville, however, slow during that era to embrace culinary change, failed to embrace the fast-food taco for a while.)

Taco Bell, of course, prospered and grew. Now a property of Louisville-based Yum! Brands, it boasts about 6,000 outlets around the world. Taco Tico, on the other hand, topped out in the ’80s with about 120 outlets before falling off to about half that peak. It’s in just eight states, the lion’s share in Kansas and nearby states, with a handful in Kentucky.

But now, after a 10-year hiatus, Taco Tico is back in Louisville Continue reading Mexican hat trick: tacos three ways