OH.EM.GEE. Seriously. No SERIOUSLY. Taqueria Yolandita is a hidden treasure.
I first found out about this place last year when looking for a good place to eat on the (lower) west side of Cincinnati. The part of the West Side that only mildly makes me want to rip my hair out while driving. Luckily, I can usually stay pretty focused in this part of town since most of the commuters are usually unaware that their lanes are a few feet too narrow for modern cars. I’m sure the streets worked just fine when the Model T was putting up and down these streets, not so much now. When I first tried to go to this place, it was not at the location that the internet search told me and I assumed it was no more. I didn’t give it another thought until a couple of weeks ago when another internet search brought it up again. After a bit more research, I discovered that it had moved a couple blocks down Queen City Ave. I had planned to spend most of my afternoon in this part of town and so I decided to give it a shot.
Well…….. being an authentic, first generation Mexican-American living in the greater Cincinnati area I’m always on the look out for good Mexican eats. I’ve become accustomed to accepting mediocrity in this type of cuisine. I have my few favorite places that kinda stand out from the run of the mill joints. You know, where everything kinda looks and tastes the same on their 20 pages menus. Truly, it makes me sad for America that this is what mostly passes as decent Mexican food. Too much cheese, loaded with sour cream… you know what I’m talkin’ about.
But this place… if you blink, you’ll completely miss it. It’s on the corner of Westwood and Quebec off of Queen City Ave. (the official address is 1881 Westwood Ave. Cinti, OH 45214). Seriously, if you blink, I promise you’ll miss it or confuse it for some abandoned trailer next to a run down brick building. I assure you that taking that extra time to slow down and find this place is beyond worth it. Here it is, so you know what it looks like and don’t make the same mistake I made months ago, it’s right behind UDF on Queen City Ave:
There is no menu, just a couple of pictures of the items she serves: Tacos, Tortas, Burritos and Quesadillas. The types of delicious meat that she can fill those with is carne asada, barbacoa, al pastor and (blah) chicken.
Today I decided to try the tacos. And seriously. Ohmygoodness.
I decided to try the different variety of meat she provides, minus the chicken… because, well, I cook chicken all the time so I rarely eat it when I’m out at restaurants. The barbacoa was amazing, melts in your mouth and incredibly juicy and flavorful. This barbacoa reminded me of the kind that my mom makes back home, not the stuff that you get a chipotle that is “a’ight”. I decided to put her fresh “green” tomatillo salsa on this taco. Oh so good. Next I ate my Carne Asada taco with the red sauce. If I closed my eyes, I almost felt like I was sitting at a bench in Los Angeles at King Taco (if you’re ever in the LA area, go there!). I saved the “al pastor” taco for last. Mostly because this is a type of meat that you can’t really get any version of in this area (compared to the other two’s mostly sad attempts). I have to say, when I took a bite of this taco I was immediately swept away to the taco stands on the streets of Ensenada, Mexico that my family and I used to stop at when I was a kid at 2 o’clock in the morning on our way to my grandfathers ranch. The sounds that I must have made while eating this taco would not have qualified as “G rated”, I’m sure of it. I’m also sure that if I continue writing about this taco, the same would go for my written word about them. It’s probably a good thing that I had to eat these in my car, since there is nowhere to sit and eat them.
Do yourself a favor and come to this place if you live anywhere in Cincinnati and want to have real, authentic tacos. Not only will you not be disappointed, but you will leave a much happier and better person.