Hornado Ecuatoriano * 76-18 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights, NY

I donít think Iíve ever met a plate of roast pork I didnít like. Lechon, hornado, whatever you call it. Rich, fatty meat and nice crŤme brulee-crisp skin topping. Itís nothing fancy (and certainly nothing healthy) but itís one of my favorite things. Maybe itís because Iíve never been able to reproduce the moist-crunchy masterpiece at home. And itís for the best, or Iíd be digging an early porcine grave.

When I end up on Roosevelt Ave., eating is a must. The tough question is Asian or Latin American? I could easily go either way, but my two top choices along that strip would be Thai or Filipino.

I never know if itís a language issue or if Iím just hard to understand, though I got what I came for. English isnít really spoken and most of the menu isnít translated, so you kind of have to know what you want (or speak Spanish, duh). James got all weird and randomly ordered arroz con pollo, which I wouldnít do at an Ecuadorian restaurant. The massive chewy yellow rice had bits of chicken strewn through out and a sweet fried plantain draped across the oval dish. He wasnít thrilled, but itís not my fault he ordered poorly.

Me, I had a nice heap of pork, generous pile of white hominy and two little arepas with a side salad that was tasty enough to not completely ignore. This food is filling to say the least. And they say Americans are corn crazy. I love hominy, maybe more than corn. It's chewy and more satisfying on the teeth you can really bite into it. I didn't get one of the fruity batidos that seemed to be on every table (there were a few pitchers of sangria being consumed, as well) though they did look refreshing. (4/2/06)
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