We stood at the window of the orange concrete building as Maria, the proprietor, issued expert recommendations: the flour tacos taste better than the corn; have the carne asada; drink sodas, one mango and one pineapple, so each of you can try; eat the gorditas. Paralyzed by the paradox of choices on display, we were more than happy to consider her suggestions and her suggestions, not surprisingly, were excellent.
Dusty two-lane roads bisect Wimauma, Florida, a city one hour outside of Tampa and St. Petersburg. Wimauma’s main draw has been agriculture: strawberry, tomato, watermelon, and cabbage fields stretch into the horizon. Migrant workers from Mexico and Central America have long come to Wimauma for the work and where there are workers, there are people who are ready to feed those workers.
One of these people is Maria Pimentel of El Sol Restaurant. She’s been serving food every day for over twenty years. Her food and many like hers have started to compel visitors to make the trip down the flat, sleep-inducing stretch of Interstate 75 to Wimauma. Taco trucks, taquerias, food stands, and restaurants dot State Road 674, Wimauma’s main thoroughfare.
Crema; queso fresco; fresh lettuce, tomato, and onions; salsa verde; and almost a dozen meat choices: Maria prepared the dishes almost as quickly as we ate them. We ate inexpensively: 6 different tacos and gorditas, the 4 carne asada, the 2 drinks, and tip totaled $20.