Rolando's Nuevo Latino Restaurante ~ Hot Springs, Arkansas
Well apparently the RJG is now going to be a major player in the Hot Springs restaurant blogger community! This is, of course, due to a recent run of reviews that our own Mr. Music just composed for the blog. He sent in no less than 5 reviews while we were away on vacation this week. That vacation, by the way, was to the San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California, and Southern Oregon. I really want to get some reviews out from that trip. We'll see. I had mentioned in July that we had recently returned from a trip, but never mentioned where. On that trip we had gone to Alberta - primarily Banff and Calgary. I did manage to get some thumbnail sketch reviews onto Urbanspoon for about 5 of the restaurants. Maybe I'll flesh those out here eventually.
OK, onto Mr. Music's latest adventure in Hot Springs!
We had taken a fun trip to Mount Ida to dig for crystals and diamonds at a crystal mine.
But it was here that we found the most precious gem in Hot Springs! As soon as Mrs. Music read that they had Cuban and Latin American dishes, I knew I wanted to go to Rolando’s. One look at the menu and I wondered what we were waiting for! Housed in a building built in the 1800s and just across from the bath houses in historic Hot Springs, this place has character! The décor inside has very interesting artwork. In back, you can climb some stairs, then climb some more, and finally end up on a landing that seems to be in the middle of a jungle! The outside patio is an elevated deck on the side of a large hill surrounded by trees. Yes, of course there is a bar out here! If it weren’t a hot and very humid day, we surely would have eaten out here! We were happy to sit at the long, wooden table in the a/c with the neat artwork to ponder!
The menu had so many interesting items, I really had a hard time deciding what to get. As we explored the interesting menu, we were served fresh made chips and a salsa that had black beans and corn in it as well as tomatoes and seasoning. It was different and great, and went nicely with our pitcher of delicious, homemade sangria! Mrs. Music and I decided to try the Latin American tortilla soup - a twist on the traditional Mexican version. The broth was light but rich with chicken flavor. It had white cheese, tortilla strips, lime juice, tomatoes, slices of avocado, fresh cilantro, and green onions which was nice with the light broth. It wasn’t that much different, but very good. Mrs. Music decided on Lula’s enchiladas. Choice of chicken or pork wrapped in corn tortillas with their special tomatillo crème sauce! I urged her to get the pork. I’ve never seen pork enchilada’s anywhere that I can remember! She opted for the chicken, which were great! The tomatillo sauce with sour cream was divine and the chicken in the enchiladas was very well seasoned. I went for the Quesadillas de Chivo which were stuffed with what they called EcuaRico pork - a fusion of Ecuadorian and Puerto Rican? Maybe. But whatever it was, it was amazing! Slow roasted, nicely seasoned shredded pork with goat cheese! I don’t really put much stock in presentation, but it was a very pretty arrangement. The 4 stuffed wedges placed in a square on the plate around a large pile of white rice and black beans. Two rivers of sauce crossed the pile in an X - a mango sauce and something called Argentinean sauce which was a little spicy and had a tanginess to it. They worked nicely together and married the gentle flavors of the rice and beans. There were also some marinated veggies with cucumber and onion. OMG, everything was out of this world! The pork was to die for and mixed with the rich goat cheese, I was in heaven! Music Junior got the pork tamales and loved them! I had one and the masa was thick, but was very light and a little more crumbly than traditional tamale masa. It was amazing! The pork was the same pork used in the quesadillas and was plentiful. Baby Music had chicken tenders with white rice and black beans and everything was excellent! BeerBoy aka SoupBoy opted for a bowl of the Ecuadorian Chicken soup - in fact he asked if they could make an extra large bowl he could have as his full meal which they graciously did. It was a simple soup, but he loved the rich chicken brother and nice pieces of chicken in it. ChefGirl had Jose’s Quesadillas which were just like mine but had white cheese instead of the goat cheese. She agreed that the pork was amazing and the dish overall was fantastic. Mrs. Music wanted to come back the next day for lunch to get the enchiladas with pork! I was happy to oblige! ChefGirl’s kiddos had a hamburger and soft tacos which were all gobbled up. In fact they said it was the best food they had on the entire trip! I would love to go to this place again and again and try everything on the menu! Unfortunately we didn’t get back before we left, but I guarantee we will!