East Baltimore, from upper Fells Point to the county line, has become somewhat of an El Dorado of Latino cuisine. But we hadnít seen anything resembling a proper, sit-down Dominican restaurant until the night we drove past this brightly painted, neat little restaurant in downtown Highlandtown.
The food is like the surroundings: fresh, colorful, and spicy enough to evoke a balmy summer evening. We ordered bistec ranchero ($9), a typically inexpensive cut of meat that was hammered and spiced to glorious tropical perfection, and the pescado encebollado ($12), a broiled whole fish that was well-seasoned and tender. Both dishes came with a side of stewed tomatoes, peppers, and onions, a huge plate of rice, a bowl of soupy pinto beans, and an ordinary salad of iceberg lettuce, beets, corn, and tomatoes. The saltiness of it all cried out for a cold beer or two, but alas, no liquor license here. We settled for a morir soŮando, a Dominican drink that tasted like a frothy, sweet blend of milk, orange juice, and vanilla. English does no good here, so we asked our server the ingredients in our best halting Spanish but didnít catch the other ingredient that makes this drink so addictive. Its literal interpretation: ďto die dreaming.Ē