Archive for the 'Latin Food' Category


Flor de Mayo

This picture was taken about eight months ago but I need to give Flor de Mayo it’s due.  I was chatting with a colleague in the break room and we were talking about Chinese food.  Since we work on the Upper West Side, he said, “I was craving Chinese food so I went to Flor de Mayo.”  I knew what he was talking about but it just sounded strange.  I actually have never tried the Chinese food there.  I always opt for the Peruvian side of the menu, the Aji de Gallina-Shredded chcken cooked in special spicy sauce with cheese and walnuts.  I always order the green rice with it.

Aji de Gallina with green rice


Shackin’ Up at Rockaway Taco with the fishes

I was introduced to Edible Queens magazine by a friend.  Now that I know it is available for free at the information desk at the Queens Center Mall, I’ll be stopping by to pick one up.  My friends who let me tag along (after I got an unexpected Saturday off) with them to the beach showed me the article entitled, “Shackin’ Up.”  A restaurateur had a vision for Far Rockaway and made it happen.  My friends had already planned on stopping by Rockaway Taco for lunch and even though we thought we would miss the crowd because we went around 2pm, it was clearly not the case when we arrived.  Was there a long line?  Yes.  Was there a 30 minute wait?  Yes.  Was there seating available?  Not really.  Was it worth the wait?  Yes, it certainly was.  Molly even said she’d go out of her way to have their fish taco.  I’d have to agree.  Everything was fresh.  The chips came straight out of the fryer.  The fish tacos were absolutely perfect in texture, taste, dressing, and size.  The cucumber salad was crisp and refreshingly dressed.  The elotes looked really good.  I tried the tofu taco but it wasn’t my favorite fusion dish.  The tofu was marinated well but I would have preferred to eat it over rice.  Oh but that fish taco…was in my dream that night!

Rockaway Taco menu

Chips and Guac, Tofu Taco, and Fish Taco


La Pequeña Colombia in Jackson Heights

After a nice unexpected call from a friend, we decided to try something in Jackson Heights.  Although Kai hails from Chinatown, he was in the mood for some Latin food.  And, he wasn’t complaining about the presence of Latin women in the restaurant and neighborhood.  He got a recommendation for La Pequeña and after checking Urban Spoon, I agreed to try it.  I had been wanting to try a new Colombian restaurant since I live in the heart of Little Colombia but I don’t have many friends who are willing to trek out to Queens just to eat.  La Pequeña had a nice variety of entrees on their menu.  I wanted to try their soup of the day but they were out.  After consulting our server about her recommendations, I basically just asked Kai, “Which mound of meat would you like to order?”  We ordered a Platos Tipicos and another steak dish.  It came with bread, salad, beans, rice, eggs, chicharron, and arepas.  I couldn’t stop from stuffing myself, the food was so good.  I need to learn how to cook rice the Colombian way.  I’m used to cooking it with water only but I believe Colombians add onion, garlic, salt, and oil to the water.  Anyone have a recipe?  Please see pictures below.

Bread Basket and Sauces

Platters of juicy, tender, delicousness- not for vegetarians!


Apple Flavored Soda- Mundet

I found some Apple Soda at the supermarket in Jackson heights. It intrigued me because it said that the flavor comes from the apple. I tried explaining it to my coworkers but they kept calling it apple cider even though I described it as apple juice with carbonation. It is delicious, at any rate, and my coworkers can’t get enough of it.  It also comes in green apple, which is sweeter.

Mundet Apple Flavored Soda

Green Apple Soda


Chinese-American Menu in Spanish

Just as a point of interest I’ve scanned part of the menu from the Chinese place around the corner.  One side of it is in English and the other side has Spanish on it.  I’ve scanned the Spanish side for you to see.  Also notice that under the “American & Chinese Special” is platanos and cheese wontons.  I wonder if Andrew Coe considered this at all for his book Chop Suey.  The 2010 Census is coming up and the Hispanic population has already been shown to be the fastest growing population in America.  Spanish is also the second most spoken language in the world just behind Mandarin.  I need to learn how to say more than just, “Dónde esta el baño?”

red Chinese menu


Neighborhood Potluck with Bruce Lee

When I walk into my apartment building at dinner time, I always smell curry on the side where the mailboxes are and fish on the other side.  Even within my building, let alone the rest of Elmhurst, there is an incredible amount of diversity that can be captured with the senses.  I absolutely love the fact that at my apartment building’s potluck we had Filipino meat loaf, Filipino fruit salad, chick peas with broccoli made by and Indian neighbor, KFC, French Fries, pasta salad, baked pasta, fruit, pecan pie and Filipino cakes dessert. I was too lazy and it was too hot for me to cook anything so I just brought some fries from the Chinese place around the corner. I thought about getting plantains from them but I was in the mood for potatoes.  Yes, I know- a Chinese place and plantains?  [See the next post.]  The potluck was a great chance to meet some of my neighbors and I even got a recipe for Indian cauliflower with onion.  Ah, I really need to start learning the names of these dishes!  I’m not very good at remembering names sometimes.  That is why I appreciate the Chinese guy who’s lived in the building for years and knows Kung Fu.  He said to me, “Just call me Bruce Lee.”  Hey, that works!


“No Reservations” U.S./Mexico Border

I checked out Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations Collection 2 from the library and I’m on the US/Mexico Border episode.  He starts the episode by taking the viewer into the kitchen of his home base restaurant Les Halles and asking where the chefs are from.  They are all from Mexico.  I see the point he’s trying to make- that there is a large and talented pool of chefs coming from Mexico and has become a backbone for restaurants and their diners.  Being Chinese-American myself, however, it reminds me of the large number of Chinese that either started laundries or restaurants because it was all they were allowed to do back then in the States.  I know that this could be a potentially loaded conversation due to the complexities of immigration and minorities in America but I have noticed that many, many restaurants hire Mexican cooks, including Italian and Chinese restaurants.  So what I’m wondering is, who does the cooking at Mexican restaurants?


Cemitas, Elotes, Pandebono, Tamales

It is absolutely amazing to see the variety of foods that are available in Jackson Heights.  I am trying to get a handle on the different kinds of Latin foods in the neighborhood.  I heard that the neighborhood used to be primarily Colombian for a couple of decades but has seen a huge influx of all other Latinos over the years.  There are four foods that have become a staple in my diet (besides tacos, the authentic kind, not the Taco Bell kind).  The first being Pandebono.  A Colombian friend introduced these to me.  It is a bread made from cassava, cheese, and eggs.  It is quite easy to get fresh baked Pandebono in Jackson Heights and there was a time that I was eating them everyday.

I discovered Cemitas at a Mexican restaurant on 82nd street near Roosevelt.  Although I’m pretty sure that Cemitas are not necessarily breakfast food, I’ve been eating the Chorizo con Huevo Cemita (sausage and egg) for breakfast.  It comes with chorizo, egg, lettuce, tomato, cheese, hot sauce, Mexican cheese, and papalo (an herb) and avocado on a hearty bun.

Elotes are corn on the cob.  Near my place they serve them grilled or boiled with mayonnaise, grated cheese, and chili powder, although I’ve read about a number of variations on this including the use of lime.

And God bless the ladies who sell fresh tamales right by the subway stations in Jackson Heights.  Perfectly steamed masa with tender chicken or pork inside, with or without jalapeño peppers.  Red sauce or green sauce (or hot pink, haven’t tried that kind yet).  For a dollar you can grab a nice hearty breakfast for the train ride.

Other cart foods abound in the neighborhood that are stocked with sweet looking treats and also things such as arepas and quesadillas.  Would you consider them in direct competition with the Halal or Teriyaki carts?  Hmmm.

Half a Cemita served with roasted jalapeno

Half a Cemita served with roasted jalapeno

View Categories

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3 other followers

%d bloggers like this: