Back when I was a regular at The Monday Club we would try different joints each and every week. On occasion we would hit up a Vietnamese or an Asian cuisine restaurant to break things up from eating burgers or Mexican food. One of the groups favorite was a Pho joint on Poplar near the U of M campus. One of our visits my friend R.J. warns me “um CBT, stay on the first two pages of the menu.” I inquired why and he told me on previous visit that he ‘went exotic’ and ordered Pho from the back page. To properly quote him “there was an eyeball looking at me and I swear it had zip ties in the broth! Stay on the first two pages because those menu items are for us white folk.” I did pay ombridge.
New York if you haven’t noticed, has many different cultures living up here so naturally you have many different restaurants offering authentic cuisines. On a visit up to Spanish Harlem a couple weeks back I found a meat pie vendor similar to what I used to get in Belize. I don’t think the vendor was Belizean perchance but for 2 bucks he had a pretty tasty product and I didn’t get ‘boinked’! The term ‘boink’ was a term we used when we would order something against the beaten path (Zip Tie Pho for example) and it didn’t turn out well. Naturally the percentage of me getting boinked is going to be higher living up here but in my opinion, “life is too short to not try a new cusine or drink cheap wine!”
During my bus layover up at 125th and 2nd Avenue there is a Puerto Rican joint that has a line out the door each and every day. I have always been taught “you know you have a good ethnic food joint when the majority of customers are from their own heritage.” I had some time to kill on Monday since the busses were on holiday schedule so I ventured in. You recall in the movie “My Cousin Vinny” where they had ‘breakfast’ and ordered blind not knowing what they were getting into? Well at La Lechonera, they don’t speak a stich of English, or they were seriously fecking with me. I had to resort to the old “point and pray” so I picked some pork, rice and agreed to some type of a sauce that wasn’t too hot or too sweet.
The verdict? It was good, it was damn good! Seriously this stuff, I am a smoked pork snob, was off the fecking hook! I do realize that I may have nailed one Puerto Rican dish so it doesn’t that doesn’t mean we will be cooking up a whole hog on a Caja China roaster in Woodlawn anytime soon. Well not this season at least! So if you find yourself at the corner of 125 and 2nd avenue please give my amigos at La Lechonera a shout and tell them that pale faced gringo sent you.
Got to love the pig neon!
I guess if you wanted a gluten free, vegetarian, Kosher meal they could give you a plate of ice…..