Cinco Estrellas is a Honduran restaurant on Milpas Street that is not easy to spot. In fact, it’s not visible from the street at all. Look for the laundromat and walk around to the back of the building. I was there for a weeknight dinner and there was 3-4 other tables in the small space already taken by couples and families, and people popped in frequently to pick up orders they’d phoned ahead for. It seems very much a locals place for people who may be missing food from home.
It was simple and well-priced food.
Beef enchilada, $2.50 – it reminded me of a Mexican tostada, with a crunchy flat tortilla base, and piled high with goodies. I don’t know how the tortilla shell is red, I thought it might have red chile incorporated into it, but there wasn’t much of a spice element to it. At this price, a couple of these would be a meal and won’t set you back much.
Pupusas – good! And the cabbage salsa that came with it was very good.
Fried chicken and plantains – this had a different name, which I do not recall, I got it because of the plantains and didn’t even realize it came with chicken, it cost about $8. It was a meal in itself, with two pieces of heavily fried chicken and lots of other goodies piled around and on top of it. This was an awkward dish to eat, as there was a lot of plantains and extra bits that required forks and spoons, but the chicken had to be eaten with hands to really gnash at it – it was rather tough, and the chicken was covered in all the extra bits. Get lots of napkins.
The interior has half a dozen tables or so, and is bright and clean. It is only the front counter that separates the kitchen from the seating area, so you can watch them cook your food.
Knowing some Spanish will be a plus! It’s sufficient to point at things on the menu, but it’s so much nicer to get a small conversation going.
Romanti-Ezer serves up some of my favorite mole in town, but going there is complicated. I don’t live downtown, I don’t work downtown, and by the time I do get downtown, they are usually closed. They open for special times at night, though! But it’s for the drunk crowds, which is not my bag.
This leaves the only dependable day for rustling up some of their mole on a Saturday afternoon. And lo! It was a Saturday afternoon and Mai Tai Guy was nearby and I was nearby, and Bob’s your uncle, etc…we’re off to Romanti-Ezer!
First, of course, are their chips, drizzled with some of that delicious mole sauce and sprinkled with crumbled Oaxacan cheese. Okay, I’m done! Just kidding. I had a taco with birria de chivo, that’s a goat meat stew to gringos like me. Followed by a cheese pupusa, which I made a valiant effort to eat all of, but didn’t have the stomach real estate. I packed the remainder up, and was glad I did because it fed a couple hungry friends less than an hour later.
Mai Tai Guy got the chicken emoladas, the meal I consider the signature Romanti-Ezer dish. Chicken enchiladas smothered in their mole, with rice and beans. Gorgeous. It’s sweet, a little zippy, no burnt chocolate taste.
Stop #2 on the spontaneous downtown food tour!
Lilly’s tacos wasn’t enough, now Drew had a hankering for mole. And there’s no better mole downtown than the mole at Romanti-Ezer. IMHO, of course.
Ambiance is hardly the linen service, but it’s also not as casual as the outdoor walk-up window at the front might lead you to believe. There are tables around the back, outside and in a small room behind the kitchen. The outdoor area is framed by some simple wooden walls and potted plants, particularly banana trees. Some with bananas.
We feasted on the pollo emoladas, or chicken mole enchiladas. Three enchiladas, rice and beans, for about $9. Delicious and filling. We shared this dish.
And we still had dessert to get through…
I’ve driven by la Carreta for countless years and never stopped in. I finally did this week and it was not at all what I was expecting.
It was smaller thanI thought and had real linens on the tables, even cloth napkins. Both pluses. Why do they cover their windows so that nobody can see in? I was always deeply suspicious of a place that obscures the view in so much.
In any case, it looks like the fancy cloths are for dinner service. Lunch was still ordering and picking up at the counter.
The man at the counter I shall describe as booming and vivacious. He loves his job, he loves the food that’s served there. He told me a story in his booming and vivacious voice about how he went to see a matinee across the street with a Carreta burrito stuffed in his pocket.
My companion got the chicken enchiladas and I got the beef taquitos. The enchiladas were great: three folded tortillas with spiced chicken and enough sauce to bind it together, NOT drowning in red canned stuff. The plate also came with rice, beans and chips.
My three taquitos were freshly made that morning, light and crisp. They came with guacamole, sour cream, salad, rice, beans and chips, $7.99. Lots of food.
A foodie once told me this place was secrely known for its Mexican seafood. Now that I’ve gotten over the hurdle of finally walking through its doors, I’ll come back and give that a try.