Photo by billwisserphoto.com
Yambo stands out from the rest of the local fritanga pack for two major reasons: One, it's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Two, it looks like a Surrealist's fever-dream vision of a roadside souvenir shack. Yambo is as much, if not more, about the atmosphere as it is about the food. On the roofed terrace, folk art trinkets hang from and cover every possible surface miniature guitars, hats, porcelain pots, even a mounted boar's head. An over-life-size knight statue guards the dark brown-tiled dining room. The tinny whine of a coin-operated pony ride sometimes drowns out the polkalike ballads emanating from an encyclopedic jukebox of Latin music.Virtually no English is spoken here, but anyone can order easily enough customers walk down the length of a cafeteria-style counter, pointing at their selections, which are dutifully scooped onto a Styrofoam tray. Flesh-eaters will want to go for juicy, chewy chunks of skirt steak, or a whole snapper (both under $5), or crispy chicken taquitos ($3 for six). Vegetarians are even decently served go for red beans and rice, any form of plantain, or repochetas thin stacks of tortillas and cheese, a little like a quesadilla (most sides are $1.50). At the center of each table is a wooden vat of house-made hot sauce. The red mixture is addictive enough that during a recent visit, we spotted one patron ladling it into a Ziploc bag hidden in her purse. Unescorted females, or those put off by a small police presence, might want to skip visits during the wee hours. But diehard partiers take note: You can get a beer at almost any time here, provided you pour the contents of your bottle into one of the helpfully provided Styrofoam cups.