Eating the Hand Grenade: El Rincon Criollo Reviewed

Potato balls, ie hand grenades at El Rincon Criolla | Photos by Claudia Gavin

Mashed potato balls, aka the hand grenades at El Rincon Criolla | Photos by Claudia Gavin

In a sane, just and rational world, all I would have to say is that El Rincon Criollo has fried mashed potato balls on its menu, and all of you would already be halfway to your cars.

We’re talking mashed potatoes, formed around a delicious core of spiced ground beef, dipped in batter that tastes something like crushed-up Cheez-Its and liquid joy, then dropped in the Fryolator. They are delicious in a way that makes you wonder at their legality.

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Latin American Restaurants and Food in Philadelphia

Dinner at Quetzally

Dinner at Quetzally

Philly’s Hispanic population is mostly made up of Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, two Latin cultures that use similar ingredients but totally different cooking techniques. You’ll find the best Puerto Rican food in one neighborhood in North Philly, while Mexican food is more ubiquitous. Look out for a new wave of Mexican chefs who are combining authentic cooking with more attention to detail — the results are game-changing.

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LONG WEEKEND: Gay Puerto Rico


Jumping for joy on the beaches of Puerto Rico.

Leonard Bernstein begins his classic song “America” from West Side Story with Rosalia singing, “Puerto Rico, you lovely island.” (Anita has a rather guttural rebuttal, but we’ll let that be.) We feel Rosalia’s ardor: Lush, lively and lavish, sun-soaked San Juan is an exciting, gay-friendly getaway from the winter doldrums—and just a four-hour flight from chilly Philly.

The fashionable Condado district, with its pale blue water, white beaches, and easy access to nightlife, is your prime destination. Rest your head at the luxurious and welcoming San Juan Marriott, with a beachfront location and two alluring pools, one equipped with a swim-up bar. (Guess which one I parked at.) Afterward, the Condado has much to offer, including great shopping. Boutiques Monsieur and Root, both on Ashford Avenue, curate exquisite collections of menswear to drop a little change, or a whole lotta change, on.

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Latin Farmer Hits Love Park Today

Latin Farmer is the latest addition to Philadelphia’s food truck scene. The truck made its debut last week at the Mt. Airy Night Market where the shiny truck served up several dishes:

Avocado-Lime Hummus
with Sazón baked plantain chips

Spicy chorizo, sugarcane stewed onions, queso de papa, pineapple-cilantro mustard and banana kethup

Collard Wrap
Malta-braised skirt steak, chayote-apple slaw, queso fresco, heirloom tomato chimichurri

Vegan Collard Wrap
Garlic mofongo, sugarcane-stewed onions, heirloom tomato chimichurri

Cucumber Mojito (Non-alcoholic)

We thoroughly enjoyed the collard wrap and the cucumber mojito. Today the truck will be at Love Park with a fuller menu beginning at 11 a.m. and it will be back every Wednesday and Friday.

Latin Farmer [Official Site]
Latin Farmer [Twitter]

El Cafeito is a Rose on Cecil B. Moore


Rick Nichols visits El Cafeito, the Puerto Rican cafe at the unlikely corner of 3rd and Cecil B. Moore.

[T]he cafe has still planted a flag here – put life on the gap-toothed street, and umbrellas on the patio; made good on its promise of a clean, comfy, welcoming place in a Kensington that hasn’t shared, so far, in the hip revival that has visited parts of Northern Liberties and Fishtown.

Puerto Rican comfort food [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Kitchen At The Institute

The Institute’s often delayed kitchen is getting closer. Chef Brian Bosch is aiming for on or around May 29th.  Bosch comes from Parc and is installing a “Puerto Rican Fusion” menu, combining authentic Puerto Rican spices and sauces with preparations that range across the board.

Living on the Vedge got to sample the vegetarian options a bit back. Check out the latest menu highlights after the jump.

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Tacos, Tapas and Tex-Mex, Oh My!


This week’s The Bite gives you plenty of tips on where to pick up some fabulously popular tacos as well as leaks the menu of a new South Street restaurant and previews a couple of upcoming spots. Yum.

Tacos, tapas and Tex-Mex, oh my [Metropolis]

The Bite appears every Wednesday in the Metro and is written by Foobooz editor Arthur Etchells

Cobre Reviewed

Philadelphia Weekly goes north this week to take a look at Cobre, the relatively new Mexican and Puerto Rican restaurant on North Broad. Owner Diana Guzman was the lone star of the evening as the food and service disappointed.

Her restaurant could be so many things. Cobre has a beautiful space, a well-meaning staff and an entrepreneurial powerhouse at the reins. And judging by Guzman’s resume (she also successfully runs two other businesses—a ballroom and a beauty salon), she seems to know what she’s doing.

But Cobre is trying to be everything—a neighborhood restaurant, a swanky lounge, a late-night spot and a takeout joint—all at once. And for now, it comes up short.

Cobre [Philadelphia Weekly]