Kitchen charms with house-made tortillas, puerco con salsa verde
Standing on the window of the Yolanda Kitchen meals truck on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I used to be reminded of a current piece in The Guardian on the brand new publication of “The Cambridge Greek Lexicon,” an up to date dictionary of the traditional Greek Language that goals to supply definitions that replicate the ribald nature of the unique phrases, slightly than keep away from it, as did the dictionaries developed in the course of the Victorian period.
What spurred the reminiscence was the collection of images of the dishes on supply, kindly labeled in Spanish and English, pasted throughout the entrance window of this truck — particularly, the picture of puerco con salsa verde, kindly translated for us gringos as “Pig in Inexperienced Sauce.” “Pork” would have been the extra palatable rendering of that phrase, denoting meat with out essentially reminding us of the particular animal. We like that vagueness. It’s why the jingle of America’s hottest fast-food joint doesn’t promote its “all-cow patties.”
So there was one thing instantly charming about Yolanda Kitchen, positioned proper in entrance of the departed however not forgotten Stagecoach Grocery and Deli, as soon as a staple of culinary life right here in 72204. A buddy had really helpful the place to me after a current expertise at a brand new however disappointing purveyor of tacos, and so one Saturday afternoon, the spouse and I got down to go to. Stepping out of our automobile, we might already scent a spread of pleasant scents wafting from the boxy blue kitchen. Not solely have been there vivid photos dually labeled in English and Spanish, however there was additionally a marker board out entrance itemizing numerous gadgets. My spouse pointed on the prime merchandise on the checklist and stated, “Ooh, I’m wondering what platillos are. Sounds scrumptious.”
“I may very well be mistaken,” I stated, “however I’m fairly certain that simply means ‘plates’ or ‘dishes.’ Like, this entire factor is a listing of their platillos.”
An older lady behind the glass noticed me and summoned somebody who might have been her granddaughter to take our order. The pricing is easy — every little thing listed was $10. The spouse went for the Mole de Pollo, whereas I simply needed to have that Pig with Inexperienced Sauce. Though there are a couple of tables arrange inside the previous Stagecoach Grocery the place one can eat, we bought ours to go — and a great factor, too, as a result of the spouse was coated in mole sauce not two minutes after we arrange on the again deck. “That is so good!” she stated, slurping it up, and never sharing.
Her dish included two rooster drumsticks swimming in mole, whereas mine consisted of tender chunks of pig with a gentle however nonetheless flavorful salsa verde. Every order got here with a aspect of orange-colored rice slightly stickier than the type discovered at most Tex-Mex locations, in addition to a aspect of beans. However the actual star of the meal was the tortillas. We every had a packet of 5, house-made tortillas wrapped in foil, which remained piping sizzling even after the quick drive dwelling.
The following time I made a go to, the spouse despatched me with directions to get her “some type of tacos.” So I ordered one thing known as the taco loco, which ended up being one large tortilla loaded down with completely different sorts of meat, potatoes, and greens, all topped with a grilled cactus. She needed to whittle away at it some earlier than she might even threat making an attempt to fold up that tortilla in her arms, and by that time, she was already stuffed and so handed it my approach. I had simply scarfed down my order of papas con chorizo, which was a pleasant combination of very smooth potatoes, grilled onions and peppers, and chorizo, however I did my greatest together with her leftovers. It was all too good to go away with the canine.
Plenty of improbable meals in Little Rock flies below the radar for most individuals. Possibly you by no means hear about a few of these locations as a result of they aren’t in your neighborhood or your pals haven’t talked about them on Fb. Or perhaps you move them by with the excuse that the place “appears slightly sketchy,” otherwise you’re undecided in the event that they communicate a lot English there.
No, Yolanda Kitchen is just not typical of the meals truck scene as most of us realize it. It has no social media presence, and a fast Google search turns up subsequent to nothing on it. And sure, its buyer base is sort of solely Spanish-speaking. But when the current worldwide pandemic didn’t kill you, then neither will slightly little bit of awkwardness or uncertainty. We’ve spent greater than a yr simply wishing that we might exit into the world and have some new experiences. Down in southwest Little Rock, you will discover precisely that in slightly blue field of a meals truck dishing up some superb meals.