Antacids lined the shelves behind the La Tienda del Sol’s counter (which resembled a cute outdoor walk-up window) surrounded by quaint tchotchkes and Mexican cookies and candies. I peered apprehensively at the menu and wondered for a scant second what we were getting ourselves into. The antacids behind the counter ever in the forefront of my mind, the menu seemed innocuous enough, so we prepared ourselves for an inferno in our bellies and ordered our meals.
As we waited for our food, we sipped bottled Coca Cola imported from Mexico (ahhhh, the good stuff with real sugar) and checked out the decor. The dining area located aside the lunch counter with its manufactured brick facade and tiny roof provide a sort of outdoor ambiance indoors. Streamers in red, white, and green hung from the ceiling and waved in the breeze each time the door was opened while photographs of Pancho Villa and various Mexico and Mayan scenes adorned the walls, creating a nostalgic ambiance for our el almuerzo (which is Spanish for lunch) while also conveying a story of adventure, mayhem, and rustic Mexican charm. Even the empty soda bottles lined up within their plastic supply crates awaiting recycling added to the restaurant’s nostalgic decor.
At last, our food arrived — a chicken tamal served el prepardo along with asada tacos — served on pretty blue and teal paper plates. On the table, was a squeeze bottle of un-named, un-identified hot sauce. What the hell, I squirted it atop the goodies.
The white corn tortillas of the tacos were properly heated for me — not too soft and not too crispy — and held up to my grip for a time. About halfway through my meal, the tortilla split and the insides tumbled onto my plate, but the hot sauce, marinated meat, and fresh chopped onions were so flavorsome, that I didn’t even care. I simply added more napkins to my pile. The tamale was incredible. I chose el prepardo style, which means “the works.” Covered with iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and what looked and tasted like cojita cheese, and a gentle cheese sauce, the tamale was a simple, fresh, and toothsome treat. And while the table hot sauce had heat, we didn’t even need the antacids.
Quite noticeable was the novel fact that there were no combo plates filled with rice, beans, and tortilla chips on the menu as we see in so many Mexican restaurants. La Tienda del Sol doesn’t need to line their plates with fluff. They serve excellent street taco fare that creates a loyal customer-base. They don’t need to be conspicuously flashy. Their food speaks for them.
La Tienda del Sol is located in an unobtrusive unit within a business building at 115 East Lipoa Street in Central Kihei, and unless you are specifically looking for it or happen to stumble upon it, you wouldn’t even know its there. It’s secluded spot, however, does not diminish its popularity or its quality. If you are visiting Maui or live locally, please give this sweet little spot a try.
La Tienda del Sol
115 East Lipoa Street, Suite 104
Phone number(808) 874-4911
Hours: Monday – Friday 11am-4pm and Saturdays (times may vary between Yelp and Facebook)