"I'll take a horchata." I didn't plan on ordering horchata—I tend to stick with the flavorless and free tap water—but about half a second (or less) after seeing the row of horchata-filled cups in the refrigerator behind the counter at Yola's Cafe, the craving set in.
"I'll take one too," added Tristan.
Why do I love horchata so much? Mostly because its flavor combines sweet, cinnamon, milk, and rice into a light beverage that tastes like drinkable rice pudding, a great quality when you want rice pudding without the inconvenience of chewing. Also, unlike my other favorite beverage, milkshakes, downing a glass of horchata makes me comfortably refreshed, not like my stomach has been leadened by molten ice cream. The version at Yola's Cafe was sweeter than what I was expecting, but horchata has tasted a little different at every place I've gotten it from, and I always happily gulp it down.
While waiting for our food to arrive, we watched the flat-screen TVs playing Spanish VH1's footage of Spring Break, meaning lots of dancing slim, tan, bikini and trunks-clad young people writhing around and...I think that was mostly it. In other words, the perfect accompaniment to my pork-filled lunch.
It was easy to settle on the carne enchilada torta, a sandwich filled with spicy pork, refried beans, onions, cheese, avocado and jalapeños, because it combined three of my loves: pork, spiciness, and ingredients smushed between two slabs of bread.
For $6, Yola's gives you a huge-ass sandwich—so huge that I'm ashamed to admit that I couldn't finish it. But the portion that went into my stomach was an agreeable mix of textures, flavors, and major food groups: soft bread roll, shredded cheese, hot jalapeños, crunchy raw onions, creamy avocado, and a mostly tender pork cutlet seasoned in something mouth-tingling. I say "mostly tender" because every now and then my mouth would chew on a bit of pork that had taken on the form of something that my teeth couldn't seem to penetrate, but it's safe to say that the good (edible pork, plus everything else in the sandwich) outweighed the bad (less edible pork).
Tristan went with a stubby log-shaped tortilla bag filled with vegetables, also known as a veggie burrito, accompanied by hot sauce that would later get all over Tristan's hands.
The simple name of "veggie burrito" doesn't fully describe the explosion of vegetarian-friendly foodstuffs held within the tortilla's thin walls. Brown rice, broccoli, onions, peppers, refried beans, jack cheese, guacamole and sour cream all await you in one (giant) mouthful of this burrito. On retrospect, I may have enjoyed this more than the pork sandwich, or at least felt less like I was in mid-transformation to becoming a pig. If I could do half pork sandwich / half veggie burrito, that would feel slightly more balanced. ...Igrnoring that one-half of each would probably be enough for one meal.
Next time I shall get my veggie burrito experience.
524 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211