Since I’m Puerto Rican, one might assume that our second meetup is a move in the selfish direction as we are going to sample various Puerto Rican fried dishes at La Isla Cuchifritos. This small hole in the wall spot is exactly what you expect to find in an area littered with crackheads and pawn shops. According to DeRM, it’s been a staple in the area for over two decades. One would assume that a place like this would’ve met its demise somewhere along that time but greasy Bronx Latino grub is undeniable.
While I love Puerto Rican cuisine, dishes that you would automatically associate with cuchifritos aren’t usually my speed. I don’t like pasteles… Yea, I said it. I’m one of the few Puerto Ricans that refuses to indulge in the banana-based semi-tamale that takes two hours to boil to perfection. Not only do I not like the taste, I hate the packaging. It’s an unreasonable hatred that I have towards the arts and crafts that are required in the cooking process.
Alcapurrias are another cuchifrito staple that I’ve managed to avoid altogether. According to wikipedia, alcapurrias are starchy dough from eddoe and green banana or cassava, filled with picadillo, and fried.
You might notice a pattern here… I don’t like bananas either.
I know what you’re thinking… what the fuck is a guy who doesn’t like bananas, a potassium treasure, doing curating a foodie project? Once you get to know me, you’ll know that my fat-minded brain supersedes my limited taste buds. Also, a big part of this project is for me to allow DeRM to blast me out of my comfort zone. In an attempt to salvage my Puerto Rican heritage and keep my end of the foodie bargain I’ve initiated with this project, I will be trying one of these banana-riddled dishes. You might scoff at this sort of “risk-taking” but it’s a big deal to me. Bananas make me gag. (…. bad sentence)
What will be more difficult is trying to decide between the dishes I always enjoy… like mofongo, bacalaitos, pastelillos, or chicharron.
Join us for these wonderful eats by RSVPing at the link below.