Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mi Tierrita - authentic Colombian food in the New York suburbs

So I paid a visit to my hometown today to take care of a little business with the realtor who's handling my parent's house. After taking care of business, I was invited out for lunch at a local Colombian restaurant that turned out to be a real treat. My realtor was born in Bogota, so if she says it's good, and that it's the place she eats at regularly, I'll give it a shot.

So off we went to Mi Tierrita - a quaint little place near a fairly busy intersection near the middle of town. The town used to be a fairly typical middle class mix of different ethnicities for the area- a little of everything- but there was always a section of town that was almost exclusively hispanic. It's been about 15 years since I lived there, and since then, the hispanic population has boomed- so I had a very good feeling that I was in for something special- and I was not disappointed.

This is $12 worth of authentic Colombian food... I could use a hand eating all this!
I asked my realtor for her recommendations and the answer I got was "order anything- I hope you're hungry." So I picked out a dish that seemed to have a good cross section of stuff on the plate - the Bandeja Campesina (listed as the "Country Platter" on the english side of the menu). Since it had "Pig Skin" in it's description, I knew I'd like it.

So the photo doesn't do the dish justice- it's huge. I am a big eater, and I had a very small breakfast, but there was no way I could finish this and be able to walk afterward. I got about halfway through, and was still full around dinnertime, although I'm snacking on some of the leftover Pig Skin as I write this. The platter has a fried sweet plantain, seasoned ground beef, a chunk of avocado, a corn cake (arepa), a fried egg, a mountain of rice and red beans, and that glorious sweet candy of the pig- a huge strip of fried pig skin (that's attempting to hide in the back). That's a huge amount and variety of food for a $12 price tag.

The pork rind would seem like the star of the dish- but really- the rice and beans were the stars. Upstaging a fried hunk of pork skin is no small feat. The beans were in a rich, pork laden sauce that leaves a warm fuzzy feeling in the belly. The yolk from the egg mixed with a little of the beef was a nice treat. The plantain had a good sweetness to it, and came off like a smoother, milder sweet potato. There was also a light, oily looking green sauce served on the side as a condiment that looked like it was made from chopped scallions and herbs in some type of vinegar and bits of green chile. I was expecting the flavor to be something more like a pico de gallo - but this stuff packed a strong heat- but a deceptive one. At first you get the herbal and acidic flavors, then a second later, the heat hits and lingers for a while. It paired well with the rice and beans and the ground beef.

My realtor opted for a chicken soup that looked very rich, with large chunks of chicken on the bone and what looked like yucca floating in it, followed by a plate of rice and beans with a large piece of roasted chicken. Apparently it's her standby dish. Our other dining companion ordered what appeared to be a simple plate of grilled seasoned chicken with french fires, that turned out to be a platter of food that could probably feed two or three people. We all brought a large amount of food home.

The service was a little on the slow side, but the massive plate of great food more than made up for it. When you consider how relatively inexpensive the meal was, this place is a hidden jem.

1 comment:

  1. So far I have tried Various typical dishes of Colombia and I must say they are very filling. Before I showed the fruits and what is also typical is a dish called Tamal. Normally it is eaten for breakfast.
    It contains, Beef, Potatoes, chicken and is wrapped in Plantain leaves.
    When I first smelt it first thing in the morning, it did make my stomach churn as I am not a breakfast eater but once I had a bite I found it very tasty....
    josefina - colombia travel