The esquites are made up of fresh, golden corn sheared off the cob, filling a small styrofoam cup. To this comes the addition of butter, lime juice, salt, and a topping of crumbly queso fresco—a self service bottle of hot sauce and chili powder provides an optional accompaniment. So simple a combination, but how lovely the flavor. The interplay of bright, earthy corn with rich butter is expectedly tasty, but the addition of sour lime complemented by salty, creamy queso fresco makes for a fabulous way to start any meal. Elotes, a close relative of esquites, simply takes the same flavors and finds them slathered onto corn still clinging to the cob...if you prefer to work a little for your corn, you may want to go this route.
Someday, if we're lucky, we'll see esquites/elotes carts scattered throughout the city...but for now you're likely to see them only in Southwest Little Rock neighborhoods. The gussied up, gentrified West Little Rock Mexican safe haven, Local Lime is doing a version they're pushing under the guise of "Market Corn," with cheese, chili, and crema. People are going nuts for it...as they rightly should. But that same dish can easily be found at a fraction of the price outside of Mercado San Jose (and I imagine a number of other locations I've yet to discover)...well worth another adventure to this neck of the woods.
You'll find Rossy, the corn lady, outside of Mercado San Jose at 7411 Geyer Springs Rd, Little Rock.
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