Street Foodie: Paradise in a To-Go Box
Once, Street Foodie laughed in dining rooms morning, noon, and night, gormandizing on the most novel and enlightening fare Las Vegas had to offer — but strange days have come. Now Street Foodie spends less time on the streets and more time at home watching Ugly Delicious, aching guts packed with stifled wanderlust and a second bowl of Fruit Loops. I must escape. If not corporeally, then through the senses. Follow Street Foodie to the islands — or, more accurately, to curbside pickup from these island-themed restaurants.
Cuban Food blends various culinary traditions, making it difficult to know where brilliant ideas like the sandwich de croqueta (above) originated. Finger-size ham-and-cheese croquet with crispy fried potato sticks, drizzled with a tangy creamy sauce — that’s a brunch sandwich worth waking up for. Later in the day, try the Completia (above, in back): smoky beans, rice, and a side of meat — the BBQ ribs for this street foodie — that make it hard to expatriate from the dinner table.
2590 E. Tropicana Ave.,702-722-2918, havanaexpress.net
When is a banana not a banana? When it’s a plantain! Puerto Rico has a special love for the starchy fruit, and Sofrito Rico wants to wrap you up in it. Lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, and steak on a plantain bun: The Jibarito de Bistec is sure to enliven your quarantine. And if, as you enjoy this sandwich, you think, This is great, Street Foodie, but I need MORE plantain, double down with a side of Tostones al Ajillo — fried plantain medallions with a garlic sauce so intense you may have to double up your face mask.
5201 W. Charleston Blvd. #110, 702-822-6220
Paradise Place Jamaican Cuisine
Jamaican food can be hard to find in our valley, but when you come here, hold on to your bonnets because these are Scotch! The jerk wings here go above and beyond my high standards. They’re wood-smoked and coated with a sauce of pure fire — they’re like a sun-drenched beach on your plate. If you’ve never had a Jamaican patty, with its hot filling and golden, flaky crust, you’ve missed out on one of life’s finest snacks. (They come with beef, chicken, or veggies.) Then there’s the oxtail smothered in a mystical sauce Street Foodie fears and reveres. You’ll experience all the best Jamaican food symptoms: runny nose, burning mouth, chill vibez.
7365 W. Sahara Ave., 702-834-8188
Pacific Island Taste
This little eatery is one of the hardest-working kitchens in Las Vegas. With its extensive menu, Pacific Island Taste delivers the TASTE in all caps. Many a day has Street Foodie sat around fantasizing about the fried rice, loaded with two types of pork (bacon and char siu), veggies, eggs, and a deep, rich pepper-and-garlic aftertaste. The pork hash — Hawaii’s ’roided-out version of shumai — made from scratch every day, is the kind of comfort food that makes for a happy Home Foodie. Tip: Add the fabulous fried Mochiko chicken to your order in lieu of a luau.
1428 E. Charleston Blvd., 702-366-1109, pacificislandtaste.com