Tierras Colombianas: Astoria

Tierras Colombianas was a childhood staple of mine. My father would take my sister and I here for father-daughter dates and special occasions. For approximately 15 years I have been ordering the same item off the menu, #14-the seasoned, grilled chicken breast with beans, rice and sweet plantains. Now, I’m not saying you have to order this but… Yeah, okay. That’s exactly what I’m saying. Order this and order this now.

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On Friday I celebrated my 28th birthday at Tierras Colombianas and It should be no surprise that I ordered #14, the perfect birthday meal. The #14 chicken breast is pounded thin and this thickness allows the seasoning to permeate all the way through. Once you eat chicken like this you won’t want it any other way. Inspired by this dish, I tried to tenderize and flatten my own chicken with a hammer. In case you’re wondering,  it doesn’t work. Tenderizers are worth the investment. Hammers are messy.

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The Latin flavors of the chicken are further enhanced by the side dishes. The perfectly salted rice and beans are accompanied by your choice of sweet plantains or tostones. I used to order tostones but my first taste of sweet plantains was a game changer. The sweet plantains are soft and moist, where as the tostones are dry and salty.  It is a difficult decision for the indecisive because they are both delicious in different ways. For those of you who suffer from indecisiveness, just get both. You can always start your diet tomorrow. YOLO!

Tierras Colombianas is located at 33rd and Broadway. Go check it out!

Everything Is Coming Up Meaty

If you haven’t noticed,  I have been making an unusual amount of meaty meals lately.

Crackpot Robs
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Meat Pie
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McCarthy Meatballs
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I do love meat, but this trend has more to do with my new obsession with K&T Quality Meats. This butcher is located on Ditmars Blvd in Astoria, NY -dangerously close to my house- and it is feeding my meat addiction one purchase at a time.

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If you already like meat then the skilled butchers at K&T will make you love meat. The other day I purchased 3 lbs of spare ribs,  3 lbs of lean chuck meat, and 1 lb of chicken breasts for 25 dollars! What a steal! When i saw the final price I wanted to buy more but my husband gave me that “don’t you dare buy another piece of meat” look. He’s such a drag sometimes!

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The butcher who helped with this purchase asked me what I was planning to make and then skillfully cubed the chuck meat, sliced the ribs and split the chicken breasts. He customized the meat to accomodate my planned meals. I was doing the happy dance all the way home.

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This experience was much different than purchasing the “whatchya see is watchya get” meat from the supermarket. It was different in a good way but I can understand why some may find it intimidating. It’s not easy to make decisions when the hanging lambs and skinned rabbits are judging your every move with their glazed eyes. Also, you have to actually speak to a human being. I understand. I hate talking to humans. It’s much easier to just sift through the shrink wrapped meat section until you find what you need, sort-of. They never have what you actually fucking need. Frankly, it’s annoying. This lack of customization and selection of supermarket meats will cause you to spend more time in the kitchen and less time enjoying the fruits of your labor. And all of us deserve quality time with our fruits. I, for one, love my fruits. They’re delicious. So, do yourself a favor and shop at K&T or your own neighborhood butcher. You. Won’t. Regret. It.

The Brick Café: Astoria

“Well, that was disappointing”, said the soggy ravioli to the under seasoned soup.

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A couple of years ago I celebrated a friend’s birthday at the Brick Café on 31st Ave in Astoria, NY. The food, drinks and service were all excellent! So tonight, when we couldn’t find parking near the restaurant of our choice, my husband and I defaulted to the Brick. We thought it was a safe bet…Wrong-o!

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The dim lighting and dark wood of the Brick Cafe is welcoming and cozy. The restaurant is split into two sections, the formal dining area and the bar. Both sections serve the same food. Since we were dressed like hobos, we decided to sit in the bar section. The bar has a great atmosphere and the drink selection is wide and varied. It’s too bad the food sucked tonight because everything else grade A, including the rating from the health department.

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The husband and I weren’t in the mood for full meals tonight. So we each had a soup, french onion for me and pea for him, and shared an order of fries and fried ravioli. Let me clear the pink elephant in the post. Yes. We have an appetite for fried, unhealthy food. Whew, felt good to get that off my chest! Okay, moving on…

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Let’s start with the soups.

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Both soups were highly under seasoned, and the pea soup was actually cold! Have you ever tasted cold pea soup? It’s not fun. Not fun at all. A good french onion soup should be salty and oozing with cheese. This one just didn’t have enough of either. It was like biting into a joy bar, when expecting a snickers. Disappointing and not worth the calories.

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The fried ravioli were the saddest part of the meal. The little guys had so much potential. They could have been something! Instead, they were soggy, little pockets of cheese. The rich filling and spicy sauce were DElicious but these flavors could not save the dish. Ah, it’s so sad when good flavors are wasted on poor execution.

And a yadda, yadda, yadda…I will only eat at the Brick again if there is a zombie apocalypse and it is the only restaurant within a 50 mile radius that I can raid for survival. Too harsh?

Burger Heaven: NYC

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Burger Heaven is truly a little piece of heaven on the corner of Lexington and 62nd street. Here, you can get an omelet with toast and potatoes for $7.95! Usually this type of deal comes with a warning from the board of health, but this place is clean, the food is great, and they offer two floors of dining to avoid overcrowding. A rare find in Manhattan.

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Burger Heaven is a loner’s paradise. Right now,  as I write, I am sitting alone in Burger Heaven and I feel totally comfortable! No one is rushing me out and the booths are a nice small size. In other words, if you choose to eat in a booth alone then you will not be the ass hole preventing the family of four with the crying baby from sitting.

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Please know that even Burger Heaven cannot keep out the pompous, brownstone owners, nor can they prevent them from talking once they’re inside. In that regards it is more of a purgatory than a heaven, but such is NYC.

Jackson Hole Diner: Astoria

The Jackson Hole Diner in Astoria, NY is located on Astoria Blvd, far from the hustle and bustle of the trendy 30th Ave restaurants.

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Fried onions, barbecue sauce, bacon and 7 ounces of beef make this burger a diner’s delight…and a potential heart attack, but let’s focus on the delight part. This burger was so good that we gave the last bite a moment of silence. Glutton free, fat free and paleo dieters beware that this food is not for you. Their menu is large so I’m sure there is a side salad or defrosted veggie burger you can enjoy, otherwise you should stick to 30th ave.