If you want a bite of Denise Paredes' baho ($10), you'd better ask in advance. Weeks in advance. In fact, there's a waiting list for it pinned to the icemaker at Las Mercedes Restaurant. The hopeful line up, desperate for this taste of home. This stomach-distending casserole is Central America's analog to Italy's timpano. A verdant banana leaf replaces the massive round of pasta dough. Indeed, there's no pasta, meatballs, or sausage here. Instead, spears of yuca are boiled into submission with heaps of garlic. Then come mounds of sliced beef brisket, ripe and unripe plantains, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and orange and lime juices. The whole thing is sealed up and boiled for hours. When it emerges, top it with the fermented cabbage slaw called encurtido, and dig in. But wait, before you do, secure yourself a good spot for the post-baho nap. Paredes says she makes it only once a month because it's so time-consuming. But the truth is, the stern master of this cafeteria knows sending her regulars back to their jobs in a food coma would be bad for business.