Grilled cheese is certainly riding high on the totem pole when it comes to Brooklyn’s favorite comfort foodstuffs nowadays, inspiring an impressive slew of dedicated sandwich purveyors, such as Milk Truck, Meltkraft, Noorman’s Kil, Wheelhouse, and oh so many more. But while molten amalgams of dairy, fat and carbs are irrefutably soul satisfying in the dead of winter, they’re somewhat less enjoyable when you’re already encased in a slick cocoon of sticky sweat.
That’s why the owners of one of the borough’s preeminent grilled cheese peddlers, Little Muenster, have smartly transformed their diminutive DUMBO outpost during the summer months—turning the takeout-only, Front Street space into a Nicaraguan street food pop-up called Little Nica. Which means, in lieu of heavy, greasy sandwiches, they’ll focus instead on comparatively healthy hand-held tortilla roll-ups known as quesillos, at least until the weather cools back down again in September, that is.
“Americans love Latin flavors, and we feel that we can expand their horizons,” co-owner Vanessa Palazio explains of the concept, which draws upon her South American roots. “And it doesn’t hurt that Little Nica still falls in the Little Muenster wheelhouse of cheese and bread!”
Traditionally sold from a roadside cart, and composed of handmade corn tortillas, semi-soft cow’s milk cheese, pickled onions and crema all rolled into a cone shape, quesillos are meant to be eaten with one hand. Although Little Nica’s tricked-out versions (ranging from $5.50-8.50 a pop), are veritable two-fisters, stuffed to bursting with rice and beans, sweet plantains, and optional add-ons like smashed avocado, slow roasted pork, and supple braised tongue.
But hey, they’ve got to be easier on your hard-earned summer figure than a caloric brick of butter-basted grilled cheese, right?