Love a good hole in the wall? I thought you would. So let me direct your attention to a tiny place on Short Vine that delivers the flavors of the Spanish Caribbean. Many of the menu items at Caribe (pronounced: car-EE-bay) sound exotic, but that’s why you came here, right? Fear not—and prepare to be comforted. Empanadas, a mainstay of Caribbean fast food, are similar to the Jamaican patty. These turnovers feature a flaky pastry crust filled with savory stuffings of beef, pork, jerked chicken, or curried vegetables. Two empanadas make a hearty lunch, as does one of Caribe’s signature stews—coconut chicken or vegetarian black beans with curried veg served over rice. (Most of Caribe’s choices are available with spicier sauce on the side—just ask.) Their classic grilled Cubano sandwich, filled with roast pork, smoked ham, swiss pickles, and Dijon mustard, is a natural. Purists might argue over the sandwich’s authenticity (it’s more like a panini), but good taste prevails. Crave some crunch? Don’t miss the tostones: savory fried plantains with plenty of salt and just a touch of natural sweetness. You’d expect cheap, flavorful food like this to draw Clifton’s college crowd, but they’re far too enamored with the Chipotlesque chains on Taft. Fortunately, Corryville locals, university staff, and hospital workers still support a steady carry-out business.
Caribe Carryout, 2605 Vine St., Corryville, (513) 221-1786. $5–$8. Lunch and early dinner seven days.