Sabor Ecuatoriano Bakery – Humitas de Maiz

Instagram Post 6/19/2019

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Breakfast.

There is a soft spot in my heart for humitas de maiz; this blend of corn, cheese, eggs and cream, swaddled in a corn husk, steamed, gently tinged with the warmth of direct heat, then anointed with a dollop of crema started my otherwise gloomy day with an uplifting bite of sunshine.

[1] This one came from Sabor Ecuatoriano Bakery, 40-42 82nd St, Queens, on the cusp of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst and, like many of their baked goods, tasted like it came straight from the ❤ corazón.

[2] A peek inside.
 
 

Rincon Melania

When I write about restaurants on Instagram, they’re usually brief takes accompanied by a photo or two. (You can see my feed right here on ethnojunkie.com by selecting the “Instagram” category from my home page – no signup required.) But because of Instagram’s character count limitations, it’s often necessary to break up a review into several parts. This one originally appeared as three posts, published on October 29 and December 14 and 16, 2018.


A celebration for a friend brought us to Rincón Melania, 35-19 Queens Blvd in Sunnyside. This is one of those restaurants where everything I tasted was so good, without exception, that it’s essential that I return before long. Three starters we enjoyed:

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From the Appetizers section of the menu, Bolón Mixto de Queso y Chicharrón. Classic Ecuadorian cuisine crafted from green plantains, cheese and chicharrones. One picture is worth a thousand words.


Pulpo a la Parilla – I’m a sucker for grilled octopus and they prepare it perfectly here.


And from the Ceviches division, Mariscos Mixto – mixed seafood cocktail with shrimp and fish, tostones encompassing the catch. Some Ecuadorians may tell you that they have they market cornered on ceviche; if this is any example, no puedo discutir con eso.


Seco de Chivo, Ecuadorian goat stew, definitely made me happy: served with Arroz Amarillo (yellow rice) and an avocado wink 😉 plus a Maduro half (sweet plantain) smiling 🙂 at me. Nice when your food likes you back.


Tender, succulent, Pernil accompanied by yapingachos (or llapingachos), pan fried potato pancakes, and two members of the corn family in contrasting preparations: boiled mote and crispy maiz tostado made from cancha or chulpe, sometimes referred to as corn nuts.


Fritada (not to be confused with frittata – no eggs here) con Mote, a homestyle Ecuadorian staple that starts with pork that’s boiled with seasonings then fried in pork fat. (Mmmm. Pork fat.) Shown here with classical accompaniments, maduro (sweet plantain), yapingachos (or llapingachos – pan fried potato pancakes) and two corn cronies: boiled mote and crispy maiz tostado (corn nuts). Delicious.


Guatitas, literally “little bellies” since it’s bits of tripe, is another traditional Ecuadorian dish: tripe stewed with potatoes in a light, delicately flavored peanut sauce, maduro and arroz amarillo with avocado on the side.

I can’t decide which one of all Melania’s dishes I tasted that day would Be Best!
 
 
Rincón Melania is located at 35-19 Queens Blvd in Sunnyside, Queens.
 
 

Cevichochos

Instagram Post 8/22/2018

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Ceviche isn’t always about seafood. This Ecuadorian ceviche de chochos (lupini beans), known colloquially as cevichochos, was served up by a street vendor near Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 104-11 37th Ave in Corona, Queens. The beans are combined with tomatoes, maiz tostado (toasted corn), red onion, and cilantro and marinated in a citrus blend. Often a vegetarian dish, this version included bits of fried pork (see second photo), a happy addition. Typically, it’s garnished with a crunchy topping – here it’s chifles, fried plantain.
 
 

Los Helados de Salcedo

Instagram Post 3/8/2018

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Thought you might need a palate cleanser after all that rich food I continually post! While wandering around Jackson Heights, a sign in the window of a little shop featuring goods from Ecuador caught my eye. Upon entering Ecuador Records Variedades at 92-11 37th Ave and making my way past piles of hand crafted clay pots and other charming imports, I headed straight to the freezer case and selected the ice cream pop depicted on the sign that sported distinct colorful layers of “mora, naranjilla y taxo con centro liquido de jalea de mora, guyaba”.

The Ecuadorian frozen confection sold under the name “Los Helados de Salcedo” (after the city, I suspect) was surprisingly good. Not only was it sweet and refreshing, but the flavors were distinct and richer than I anticipated.

Translation: Helados = ice creams. Mora = blackberry. Naranjilla, literally “little orange”, although unrelated (I’ve seen it as naranjillo and frequently as lulo), is a fruit with a tart, tropical, quasi-citrusy flavor that can be found locally either canned, jarred, or frozen. Taxo is also known as banana passionfruit; it’s the oblong shaped fruit pictured on the wrapper. Guyaba = guava. I’m not certain that I really detected the liquid center of blackberry jelly; greedily consuming the delectable pop, I may not have given it a fair chance.