As the city of Fort Worth grows, so does the makeup of its ever-expanding culinary scene. Two food trucks have stepped up to the plate in pioneering a new flavor profile the city has yet to offer: that of the islands. If hearing arroz con gandules, ropa vieja or tostones doesn’t get you excited, you probably haven’t experienced the soul satisfying culinary traditions hailing from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
Lolas Cuban Food
118 N Henderson Street
Just listen for the salsa music from the loud speaker and you know you’ve found Lolas Cuban Food in downtown Fort Worth. Lolas offers up favorites you already know like the Cuban sandwich, a well-balanced build of smoked ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard between buttered slices of bread and pressed to perfection. More traditional dishes that are hard to find elsewhere are also served such as Ropa Vieja, a Cuban style shredded beef with rice.
Even if you don’t speak Spanish you may remember from high school classes that ropa vieja means old clothes. The dish originally hails from Spain where legend has it that a poor man, not having anything to eat, tore up his clothes and put them in a pot to cook. After praying over the cauldron, the old clothes were miraculously transformed into a delicious dish. The Spanish brought the dish to Cuba, and now the Cubans have brought it to Fort Worth.
You can’t leave without picking up a side order of the plátano maduro frito (also known as tostones): fried soft plantains that are crispy on the outside and warm and buttery on the inside, served with an irresistible herby dipping sauce. You won’t be sorry for cheating on French fries. Visit them: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Flavor of the Islands
Food Park at Thistle Mansion (Most Tues/Weds)
1509 Pennsylvania Ave.
Flavor of the Islands brings Dominican and Puerto Rican flavors to the Fort Worth scene, popping up in downtown, at farmers markets, breweries and events. Try Puerto Rican classics like mofongo: mashed, fried plantains topped with beef and a trio of bell peppers. Original dishes like the Loaded Plantain are loaded up with a bed of perfectly crispy fried plantains topped with deliciously seasoned “DominiRican” chicken or steak, shredded red cabbage, red onion and mix of sauces.
Or maybe try one of their beef empanadas, or the “chimisteak” sandwich, or one of their rotating specials. Whatever you choose, I have no doubt you’ll be back for more. Flavor of the Islands posts up at different spots around the city, follow them on Facebook or Instagram to see where they will pop up next.