As of late, general eating habits seem to be steering toward going out to enjoy small bites or samplings of handheld foods. With the growing popularity of menu choices that can be shared, varieties of easily eaten tacos have made their way to the top of the list. Serving clients from two locations — one in Greenwood Village and the other in Castle Rock — Yolanda’s Tacos is trying their best to satisfy diner’s street taco cravings with bountiful bites and fast, friendly service.
Having recently expanded their location in Castle Rock, at lunchtime, their cheery space is filled with a line of hungry customers wanting to eat some of what’s cooking in the kitchen. The scene is very casual and the service comes with a smile as they work eagerly to help customers choose which meat, veggies and salsa will fill their tacos. Clearly, it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly because as their website reads, some of the recipes on their menu date back three centuries.
On this adventure, the prompting to go with a few steak tacos, a ceviche tostada and a sampling of their homemade, pork green chile sounded like a good place to start. A Mexican Coke was added to my ticket at the register to help wash down the awaiting goodness that could be smelled coming from the kitchen. Note: not many establishments sell these Cokes, made with cane sugar. If you’ve never had one, you are missing out!
As the restaurant tables began to fill up, my order number took its place at a two-top near the floor to ceiling windows. It was a great spot to people watch since Yolanda’s is right in the heart of downtown, near other shops and businesses. It’s also right next to Festival Park, so it will be an easy jaunt to take tacos to go to eat by the water, once the park construction is finished.
The line at the register slowly began to multiply, and the noise level increased. Clearly, Yolanda’s is not the place for those hard of hearing or wanting to have a private conversation — unless peak hours are avoided. With concrete floors and an open L-shaped dining room, the atmosphere welcomes families with kiddos or people who don’t mind a little noise and a small crowd.
A few shakes of a maraca later, swift hands delivered lunch to the table; everything arriving in plastic baskets atop festively decorated butcher paper. Chips and plenty of salsa — both of which are made in-house — likewise accompanied the rest of the order.
The softshell steak tacos were packed with meat, shredded lettuce and queso fresco, just as expected. To add a kick, the salsa, or pico de gallo, was slathered on the taco before taking a bite. Immediately, the stewed cilantro, onions, and jalapenos made my nose run a bit with not-too-spicy excitement. The crumbly queso fresco (think creamy, smooth tasting goat cheese) with the lightly seasoned flank steak had hints of lime and black pepper. Note: The tastes were simple, yet good, though next time I might order extra cheese and lime.
Taking a timeout from the tacos, the blue crab and avocado, ceviche tostada was starting to look appetizing. The crunch of the homemade shell and the tanginess of the salty ceviche (don’t forget to add the squeeze of lime) was delightful as the pieces of fresh avocado soothed the fiesta happening in my mouth. Note: It should be said that if you are trying ceviche for the first time, expect it to be served chilled. Ceviche is the culmination of some type of fish that has been cured (cooked) with lemon/lime juice, that is then mixed with diced cilantro, onion, tomato, and salt and pepper to taste.
Last, but not least, the side of green chile was ready to make its mark. Saving the best (I hoped) for the final act, I was not left disappointed. The creamy chile was packed with healthy chunks of tender pork, woven in with roasted bits of jalapeno. It was the kind of spice that got a little hotter with every passing second. Luckily, I had saved just enough of my Mexican Coke to slather the heat.
Since we are not in south of the border and live in good ol’ Castle Rock, about the closest you can come to the experience of eating at a true taqueria is eating at Yolanda’s Tacos. Having dined there on a few occasions, the restaurant has made its way to the top of the Town’s taco list for its consistent blend of fresh food, its clean atmosphere and its pleasant, in-and-out service. Yolanda’s also has a kids menu to feed the growing number of young families in Castle Rock and are they are proudly wheelchair friendly. Make it taco time at Yolanda’s!
Address: 204 Wilcox St, Castle Rock, CO 80104