Cositas Ricas, A Colombian Food Primer & A Podcast

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.

Cositas Ricas
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
arepa (corn-cake)
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

19 thoughts on “Cositas Ricas, A Colombian Food Primer & A Podcast

  1. ¡¡¡Que Fiestón!!!! Wow, what a spread! I love the name of the Restaurant… so sweet 😀
    Never tried Colombian food before but I wish I was one of your friends at Queens!!!
    Buen provecho, chicos 😀

  2. Nuria: claro – que fieston! la comida colombiana es muy interesante y delicioso. Parece a mi que es como un combinacion de cosas tropicales, locales y tipos de la tabla espanol (chorizo,chicharrones, frijoles). Si usted consigue la ocasión, usted debe intentarla!

  3. Was there supposed to be audio? I only got photos, but that was certainly enough to whet my appetite. Good thing it’s lunch time. Quien de los dos escriba Español?

  4. Joan: the audio is accessed by clicking on the +audiomp3 button – certainly not as clear as it should be. We’re looking for a better player. Y, yo (Jonny) escribo un pocito de Español, y muy gravemente, pero estoy trabajando en él, delante de nuestro viaje a la Argentina este primavera!

    Mike: tell me about it. not to be all self-proud, but looking at these pictures (especially the pork rinds) makes us drool like crazy too!

  5. Wow that looks all kinds of good (especially the chicaronnes). As much as I love Mexican food, I really haven’t ventured into other Latin American cuisines. Something I will definitely have to rectify:-)

  6. Great podcast.
    What a fantastic insight into Colombian food and drinks (pink, green, yellow, rose, the confusion really made me giggle.)
    Thankyou juan and jonny – with your frankly radio 4ish tones which are my preference at this early hour – soothing.
    looking forward to next podcast and the baked stuff and cocktails.

  7. HOLY CRAP THAT LOOKS AWESOME!!! I will listen to your podcast asap…its basically what keeps me remembering your voices!! WHYYYY…TEAR! wait, I will see you next weekend! YIPPIE!!

    love, Sophie

  8. Rachel: thank you for your fortitude in listening to the whole thing – I was going to suggest that you deserve a reward of some kind, but you live in Rome and that should be enough! Any comparison to Radio 4 (as opposed to radio 2) is a great compliment, however misplaced, and apologies for the high-pitched whine in the background throughout – we have a very old and noisy computer.

  9. I wish we had some Colombian restaurants in the DC area! I do make my own Ajiaco Bogotano, arequipe, and pan de yuca to get my fix. The beef in Colombia is fantastic. I used to buy whole beef tenderloins at the Sunday market for about US$11 total, and the flavor was so darn good. There was a little arepa restaurant down the street from my apartment in Bogota that made the best arepas in a brick oven. OMG. Such memories. You are so lucky to have good Colombian food in NYC.

  10. Can i follow you around in your eating adventures? I’m quiet, with good table manners and i’m known to finish my plate. I can even carry shopping bags for you. 🙂
    Love the pictures and the podcast and the food. You guys rock! Will look for that place next time i’m in Queens.

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