By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com
I’ve been eating at Taqueria Karina Cafe for close to a decade now but not often enough. The reason for my absence is that they are located on West 65th street that is far outside of my normal area. The other issue is that they don’t have many low-calorie options and I don’t eat fattening foods during the week.
I used to go scuba diving with my father in Cozumel many years ago before it was a tourist trap. Back then, the town ended about two blocks outside of the “city” square and the best place to get food was at a thatched hut. Two guys would drive up on a scooter with an ice-chest on the back, unload, and cook lunch at the hut. It cost around 50 cents for two asada (beef) tacos and they were amazing. Nothing beat drinking a Corona , sitting on the beach under a hut, and eating authentic homemade tacos.
Teleport across the Ocean to the United States and then into Arkansas and the best alternative to Mexico can be found at Taqueria Karina Cafe. It’s not under a hut and it’s not located on a beach, but the food is spot on. It costs more than 50 cents for two tacos but given inflation it’s not much more.
Every lunch or dinner starts with free homemade salsa served warm with homemade tortilla chips. The salsa tastes different every time I eat there but is very good. It has a bit of a kick to it so be forewarned if you don’t like spicy hot food.
You can order tacos for $1.25 each and they come on a corn tortilla, with onions, cilantro, and lime. Typically you can pick carnitas (pork) or asada (beef) for your protein along with other options such as tongue and tripe if you so choose. I like to order three or four asada ones for my lunch and call it a day when not hungry but opt for a lunch special if I’m particularly famished. They have many lunch specials for under $5 and my favorite is the Red Beef Chili. It has chunks of beef simmered in a red chili sauce and is served with corn tortillas, rice, beans, and guacamole.
For my trip I ordered three Asada Tacos with the Red Beef Chili special. It was way too much food but I ordered extra in case my son wanted some. As usual the tacos had a lot of flavor and the tortillas were perfectly made. I really liked a squeeze of lime on each one and the onions were cooked well. The Red Beef Chili had tender chunks of meat in it and the red sauce was spicy enough but not overwhelming.
Meals also come with red and green salsa to put on your food and I really like the red one. The salsas almost have the consistency of a chutney and add an extra layer of flavor. I recommend trying them both when you go.
My entire lunch was under $10 and could have been much less had I not ordered too much food. It’s not atypical for me to spend $5 for lunch there and it’s worth it.
5309 W 65th St
Little Rock, AR 72209
Lunch and Dinner