Feb 5th, 2009 by Amy and Jonny
This podcast is an interview with our friend and native Colombian Juan Camilo Osorio covering not just the Colombian restaurant – Cositas Ricas – we visited together, but also some background on Colombian food and how it is eaten.
Some readers may remember back in the early fall when we posted about Bandeja Paisa, the gut-busting combination platter that has (inaccurately) been called the national dish of Colombia. Embarrasingly, though we had done plenty of online research about the many constituent parts of this dish, we had not eaten it at what can honestly be described as an authentic Colombian restaurant. So, on a freezing afternoon in January, in the esteemed company of our friend and guide Juan Camilo Osorio – a native Colombian from Bogota, now living in Queens, and three other friends, we set out to make amends.
Juan Camilo took us to the place he feels is the most authentic and best Colombian restaurant in the Colombian section of the incredible ethnic diversity that is the Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights, Cositas Ricas. In order not to make the podcast redundant, I will not write a lengthy description of our experience that day - only a few important details - but suffice it to say that Amy and I learned a great deal about Colombian food over the course of our meal and now understand that we have barely scratched the surface of an exciting and delicious food-culture.
Naturally, I tried their bandeja paisa, the “super bandeja”, and Amy had the similar, but different, palomilla a la parilla (it comes without chorizo or chicharron), after starting with caldo de castillo or short-rib soup (said to be the perfect cure for a hangover), and several Colombian meat empanadas with aji (a spicy, vinegary condiment) as appetizers. Juan Camilo ordered tiritas de lomo (grilled pork ribs), and one of our companions, Don, in a bid to be different, had an enormous plate of the restaurant’s version of surf & turf: chicken and spicy shrimp.
We must take this opportunity to thank Juan Camilo for generously taking the time to share his country’s food and culture with us that afternoon in Jackson Heights, and for his good humor and forebearance in agreeing to the interview that made this podcast.
Sadly, Cositas Ricas has no website of its own, but you can check out their menu here. If you are ever in the vicinity of Jackson Heights and have a serious hunger (and I mean serious otherwise you probably shouldn’t bother), we strongly encourage you to check this place out, or indeed any of the hundreds of restaurants and food outlets in this neighborhood. The sheer diversity is staggering and the myriad aromas are enough to make anyone salivate.
79-19 Roosevelt Avenue,
Queens, NY 11372
at 80th Street
|Constituent Parts of Bandeja Paisa
carne (beef) either asada (grilled) or molida (ground)
chicharonnes (deep-fried pork rind)
frijoles (beans), always red, preferably frijol de cargamanto
maduro (sweet plantain) cut-lengthwise & fried
Note on Colombian Juices
I’m still working on figuring out the English names for some of the fruit we drank as juice at Cositas Ricas, but here are some links that might help you visualize what we are talking about: Coruba; Lulo; Maracuya