TLO Restaurant Review: El Rinconcito

While my corazon continually aches with the unbearable pain of a strained love that just wasn’t meant to be, after a few days of forced fasting under a couple of thin blankets, I decided it was time to take a shower, get dressed and mournfully walk to El Rinconcito, 1317 N. May, and have a comida solitaria the way I used to.

With a name that means “the corner,” El Rinconcito is your basic Guatemalan convenience store with an unheralded eatery off to the side, continually watched over by a blessed Virgen María statue. There’s never a set menu, only a dry erase board with the day’s specials, prepared by three gloriosa women—some of the best chefs in the city—in a very open kitchen:

Thinking about the kisses that I know we’ll never share again, I ordered the next best thing, a platillo of Lengua en Salsa ($9.00), a world-weary favorite of mine. As they prepared my meal, joking around with one another as they handmade an order of tortillas, I wandered to a darkened table in the back and sat down, a grande pour of their homemade horchata ($3.00) being my only compañero tonight.

The first bite of the Lengua en Salsa was a trascendente one, the fatty cubes of cow tongue melting on my own, giving me the beso de la vida that I needed so desperately. The spicy sauce that surrounded the lengua was a noble brew, especially when the aforementioned tortillas—these grasas especializadas that you can only get at joints like this—are used to sop up the culinary romance.

On the sides were a healthy amount of black beans and fried rice, and they were just fine, but it was the ensalada de coditos—a Latino variation of macaroni salad, if you will—that mixed gracefully with the cup of cilantro-heavy salsa verde to create the sabor necesario I’ve been missing these past few months of blind infatuation.

Heading to the counter to pay my check, I noticed that darkness was falling fast outside. As I was about to hand the clerk my card, a brown pastry in a cake dish on the counter caught my wandering eye. When I asked him about it, he wasn’t really sure what it was called; I bought a slice for about two bucks anyway and, with its spice-cake flavor of raisins and such, it somewhat reminded me of a torta negra Columbiana.

As I walked home in the setting sun, back to my lonely house and my lonelier bed, whatever this cake was, it made me a little less triste, at least for tonight. Cómpralo ya!

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