Food News

Bull's Balls at Yambo, Home of Top-Notch Neighborhood Nicaraguan Fare

Open 24/7, Little Managua's Yambo serves large portions of authentic Nicaraguan fare at exceptionally modest prices. Aside from the finger lickin' quality and enormous size of the platters, the ambiance and the décor makes this labyrinth a destination-place -- it feels extremely homey while transporting you to a tipico Central American village eatery.

Next door to an auto-parts store, Yambo greets you with vintage welcome signs mostly written en español. There are also larger-than-life rooster statues lining the streets outside this eatery.

Yambo, which means "good morning," has been around since 1983. With platos tipicos and a solid breakfast menu along with gigantic cups of fresh juices ($3 for a 32-ounce cup), this place will stuff you so that you'll stay well after the sun rises. So why not try the carne asada ($6.50) which comes with rice and beans and fried sweet plantains.

Both outdoor and indoor dining are available -- on my visit, a little boy was twirling sparklers in broad daylight. It was a reminder that this place explodes with color and sound.

Inside you'll find a country rustic interior and old finca, or farm-style interior, complete with bar stools carved into the shape of horses' rears. Leopard skin hangs from a wood hut canopy above a family-style table and the long bar is adorned with clay pottery and warm-colored ceramics.

A large old jukebox towards the back belts out intervals of romantic Latin ballads and Nicaraguan decor covers every nook and cranny of the interior space -- so as you wait for your rib soup with bulls' balls (available on "Fryday" for $5.50) take a good hard look around you. This may be the only way you'll see something like this without buying a plane ticket to Nicaragua.

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Caitlin Granfield