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Taco Mama Times Two

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Taco Mama has been on my Hot Springs to-do list for quite some time, but it was only recently that I was able to finally check out the Mexican food mainstay on Malvern Avenue. Long story short, I really enjoyed my Friday night dinner on the patio, so much so that my family and I returned the following day for some lunchtime takeout.

While I am still hesitant about dining-in, I did want to peek my head inside to check out the Taco Mama interior before heading outside. What I found was a warm and inviting atmosphere with a wood-rich bar loaded with all the essentials, including an assortment of tequilas. Outside, a table with two sizable fans that would soon be pointed directly at my sweat-beaded head was a welcome sight. These fans, along with a “skinny” margarita, did the job of keeping me cool throughout the dinner.

The margarita paired nicely with the complimentary chips and salsa and proved to be an excellent precursor to my entrée of Grilled Shrimp Puffy Tacos. I had been dying to try these puffy tacos for the longest time, and while they turned out to be nothing like I expected, that is not to say I didn’t thoroughly enjoy them. Because I did.

Growing up in Texas, my experience in the field of puffy tacos revolved around the soft, flour variety that would literally puff up after a quick fry job. Not these. Taco Mama’s corn tortilla version looks and tastes more like a thicker, denser tostada. However, unlike the rigid tostada shell, these puffy tacos had a subtle bend to them and proved to be the ideal vehicle to shovel succulent, grilled shrimp into my pie hole. The accompanying refried beans and cilantro lime rice both found their way onto each puffy taco, only enhancing the eating experience.

A table over, my daughters and two friends were wolfing down fish tacos on flour tortillas. I am guessing those tacos were just as delicious as mine. They ordered the exact same thing the following day, while I opted for the queso-drenched steak burrito that proved every bit as satisfying as my puffy tacos from the previous evening. Everything is better soaked in cheese.

With back-to-back positive experiences, I would say Taco Mama is now firmly entrenched on my rotating list of Hot Springs restaurants. Next time around, I plan to try this Mexican Green Chile Cheeseburger I keep hearing so much about. By the next time I make my way to Taco Mama, here’s hoping I will feel comfortable about dining inside restaurants.

I could see myself sitting at that fine Taco Mama bar, enjoying a margarita … or two.

Did You Know?

Taco Mama does a popular Saturday brunch (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) featuring dishes like Huevos Rancheros, Mexican Street Corn Avocado Toast, Black Eyed Pea Burger, and Shrimp & Creamy Cheese Grits

Taco Mama
1209 Malvern Avenue (Hot Springs)
Phone: (501) 624-6262
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Closed Sunday

 

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and two daughters, Natalie (12) and Sydney (7). He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, seven years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for almost five years. During that time, he’s written for Little Rock Soiree, Rock City Eats, Treatsie, and Bourbon and Boots.

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