A few weeks ago, I made my first visit to Yely’s Coffee Shop, but instead of asking the guy working there what I should order, I chickened out, and ordered something that looked good to me. It was a good choice, but it didn’t adhere to my rules for ordering—I have to get the worker to decide what is the best thing to order.
So I went back. Ascending the three or four steps to enter the so-called “Coffee shop” (side note: I did see coffee on their list of drinks. I think it was on the very bottom). The inside is small, but it looks like a cafeteria-style place. There is a high, glass fronted display case with multiple aluminum bins of warm food waiting to be served. There is a credit minimum of $10 at Yely’s. I came prepared with cash just in case. What is more, they don’t sell food orders for less than $5. An interesting marketing tactic. I wonder if that means that I can’t go in and buy a single cup of coffee. That would add further dubiousness to the shop’s name.
Okay, time to order. I prepare in my head the Spanish words that I am going to ask the woman behind the food counter: “¿Que le gusta más a Ud.?” “What do you like most?” I step forward and vocalize my request, and the woman turns to the other woman who works there who speaks both English and Spanish. Bummer. I don’t know if my Spanish was bad or if my accent was way off or what. Oh well. I was able to ask my question.
Now here’s the surprise: the food that they recommended was fried pork. The same stuff I bought last time! So apparently I’m a good judge of quality food. Or it was just a lucky guess. Probably the latter. Okay, pork it is, then.
Just as I order, a fresh pile of fried pork is added to the bin. Perfect timing. The woman pulls a slab of pork, takes a big meat cleaver, and begins chopping the pork up in such a way that I feared for the safety of her fingers. At the recommendation of the women working, some plantain pieces were added. But these were not the fried plantains that I got last time. These were baked or something. I’m not really sure.
Add to that the passionfruit juice, the total came to $13. A lime was added to my to-go box, and another customer recommended that I put lime juice onto the pork. Deal.
I get home and open my box. First, I try the plantain. Now, the fried plantains that I had last time were fine. It’s not my favorite type of food, but it’s good. But the way the plantains were served this time around was strange. They were crunchy on the outside, but biting in, the texture was like a baked potato. And the flavor was similar. Very bland. Fried plantains are slightly sweet, with a layer of blackened, caramelized sugar. This new variation was, well, it wasn’t good. I think I ate two and gave up.
I moved on to the pork, which seemed to pose less of a threat to the enamel of my teeth than last time. On the other hand, it didn’t seem to be as flavorful as last time either. I think the key ingredient was the rice. My previous visit to Yely’s resulted in my purchasing some flavorful fried rice with my meal. Mixing the rice with the lime and the pork proved to be a solid combination. Without the rice, the pork came off as somewhat lacking in flavor. It was still good, but not as good as with the rice. Also, the rice was a good filler. With the rice, I had leftovers. Without the rice, I easily ate all the pork.
If any of you are fans of How I Met Your Mother, you will know one of Barney Stinson’s rules: New is always better. I generally do not find this principle to be true, but my two visits to Yely’s have caused some doubt. Maybe I just liked the food the first time because it was just that: the first time. Even the passionfruit juice that I really liked the first time did not hold much sway over me. Last time, I said that the juice was not too sweet. I changed my mind. It’s very sweet. Don’t get me wrong, the flavor is very good. But perhaps a bit too potent.
Bottom line: the meal was okay. I do not envision myself going back there any time soon. $13 is not that much, but it’s more than I am willing to pay for medium-to-low-quality food.