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Sep 27, 2006 03:05 PM

Cheap Mexican, Peruvian, Columbian, Ecuadorian in Port Chester

I live in New Rochelle, and I'm familiar with the scene right here, but I'd like to check out what's happening in Port Chester. I'm looking for cheap Mexican and South American, any recs, any national cuisine appreciated. I know it's a changing scene, so what's happening in cheap eats right now? Thanks--

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  1. there are tons of threads about this... adamclyde seems to be one of the more knowledgeable sources about places in port chester

    1. the posts above are good reading. Off the top of my head, mexican/south american places that I go back to often:

      * Good food
      - colombian: asi es colombia. Get bandeja paisa
      - mexican: tortilleria los gemelos. still the best tacos in town, by far. they are more expensive (2.75 each), but worth it. get carnitas.
      - peruvian: misti ala brasa is my favorite, but you have your pick of, like, 50 places. in my opinion... it's just good. not great, but for some reason, I can't find peruvian that transends...
      - el salvadorean: el rinconcito. pupusas con chicharron
      - uruguayan/peruvian: inca y guacho. it's ok.
      - brazilian foods at cafe brazil or international brasil cafe (can't remember exact name) or pantanal

      * bakery/desserts treats:
      - churros con dulce de leche at panaderia uruguayan.
      - Great tres leches cake at the bakery next door to las brisas (cant remember the name right now... la flor bakery?).
      - amazing mexican ice cream at paleteria fernandez. In the winter, they sell good tamales, champurrada and elote too.

      or, EVEN BETTER.... pick a place no one has reported on yet and test it out. Let us know what worked, how it was, etc. We need all the reports we can get. There are many, many, many places in PC that have never been reported on... they are waiting for the adventurous soul. Los Paisanos on weschester ave, the new guatemalen place on main, the pupuseria loco place on westchester ave, to name a few. lots of places, so little time.

      10 Replies
      1. re: adamclyde

        hey adamclyde, FINALLY made it to los gemelos yesterday for lunch. i can't believe it took me so long! (actually, the last time i went, it was after 9 PM on a weeknight, and they were closing) we got the carnitas (both sopes and tacos). amazing! also the chorizo was excellent--chunks, as opposed to little ground bits. the grilled onion and jalapeno were really nice touches. the carnitas were so good that we passed up going to paleteria fernandez and got seconds on the tacos :)

        on a side note, for the sopes, los gemelos used the authentic thick 'tortilla' which were toasted and crispy on the edges. (this is opposed to at veracruz in mamaroneck, where the sopes were served on flat tortillas)

        1. re: cervisiam

          Veracruz does their sopes on normal tortillas? very odd. I like veracruz, though it's been a few years since I was there last.

          as far as I've seen, there are two ways of doing sopes. Some are very small - like 2 inches in diameter. El Zarape in Port Chester does them that way. You usually get 3-4 to an order. Then there is the larger, slightly thinner way, like los gemeles does it. It's like a thick, chewy tostada, but still thicker with the upturned edges. Both are good. But I've never heard of just using a tortilla or tostada. That's just cheating!

          1. re: adamclyde

            Little Mexican Restaurant does half-dollar sized sopes, not on tortillas but on fresh tortilla dough that's been grilled, as far as I can tell. They end up very fluffy and sort of dense at the same time, and I think they only come with a chicken topping. They're quite good.

            1. re: adamclyde

              yeah, i first had sopes at miranda's in durham, nc, and then ordered them at veracruz, so i thought i had 'imitation' sopes in nc when i was served the sopes on the flat tortillas...but after visiting other places in the area, i realized real sopes are meant to be small and thick and shoved haphazardly in your mouth :)

              it's been a few months since i've been to veracruz, so i will have to go back again (but sopes only on the weekends) to make sure that they do serve the sopes as i remember--i do remember feeling 'tortilla-ed out' because we ordered sopes and quesadillas at veracruz....

          2. re: adamclyde

            Thanks, adamclyde--I was hoping you'd post. I took this and your past posts under advisement, and will venture north to PC with these this w/e. Have you ever tried this tiny tortillera in New Rochelle's Union Avenue? It's called Pastelandya, and specializes in tacos al pastor--it's always crowded with locals. Also--the bakery called el trigal (216 Union)does pastel de tres leches, plus lots of other specialties. They have a neon "Pan Caliente" sign that they light when things come out of the oven. I'd be curious to know what you think about either place. Also--I'm addicted to the mole at Little Mexican Restaurant on Main Street, and their cecina/chorizo platter. On your rec, I called paleteria fernandez--they'll be serving their tamales in a month (I guess it helps to bridge the downturn in paleteria trade).

            1. re: JSexton

              not that I'm the kind of person to be consumed by guilt, but I've always felt guilty that I haven't spent as much time as I've wanted to trolling New rochelle for its mexican. Especially since Pat Hammond started talking about the pozole at the little mexican cafe. I have a note book of what I want to try, but I've never heard of pastelanda or what ever it is called. When you say they specialize in al pastor... how do they make it? Have you noticed if it is roasted on a vertical spit? (like you see in this picture:

              boy, that would be a true find. Regardless, I need to repent and get down to new rochelle for some exploration. In fact, maybe I'll start a new thread to really capture the all the recent places in NR. then I can do a true round up sometime soon...

              1. re: adamclyde

                Well-that photo could be a gyro, or shwarma or any number of spitted, pressed meat! Now I'm curious--I need to work up the nerve to go into Pastelandya and check it out. Is tacos al pastor ground mixed meat, or all pork, all beef? I drive by it every day on the way to the gym (working off all that that chow). My Spanish is dreadful, and I'd feel a bit conspicuous walking in--but the place is always jammed, which suggests to me that it's good. It's a very modest place doing coffee and lunch-counter style food.

                1. re: JSexton

                  you don't have to go in and ask about it. When you walk in, you'll see if they have a spit or not.

                  al pastor is always pork. sliced very thin, marinated in a spicy red chile paste. Traditionally, it is then skewered by a metal spear and roasted vertically. And, if you are really special, it will have a pineapple at the top, which roasts along with the meat, basting it with that sweet pineapple juice. When you order, they shave it off the spit with a big ole machete, with a little pineapple, into a fresh tortilla, throw on some onions and cilantro, and you have the closest thing to perfection on earth.

                  You comparision to middle eastern food is spot on. Al pastor heralds from the 19th century when lebanese immigrants went to mexico... it evolved from there. but it is always pork.

                  Most likely they don't use a spit. I haven't found a single place outside of queens that does it on a spit. Most places marinate it, then fry it up on the griddle. It can still be pretty good that way, but usually ends up being a little tough.

                  anyhow, thanks for all the heads up on this place... can't wait to try it out - regardless of if it is on a spit or not...

                  1. re: adamclyde

                    So guess what--we saw the spit at Little Mexican Cafe (thanx for the photo--now I'm obsessed with tacos al pastor). I just called them up and indeed, they're serving tacos al pastor, roasted on a spit (no pineapple, though--I asked). They already have the wood grill, so I guess it was a do-able retro-fit. I'm a little curious about the taste difference between carnitas (marinated and oven roasted pork, chopped) and vertically roasted pork, albeit chili rubbed. There seems to be a mini local trend for tacos al pastor--I'm seeing the notices everywhere. Pastelandya had a sidewalk sign proclaiming tacos al pastor, and the place is mobbed.

                    1. re: JSexton

                      you have no idea how cool that is. it will be the only place I know of outside of about 5 places in NYC that do it the traditional way.

                      Traditionally, carnitas isn't really seasoned with anything more than salt and pepper. It's slowly cooked in lard (maybe with some orange peel thrown in, browned a bit at the end, then salted. That's about it. al pastor is heavily seasoned/marinated.

                      man, I wish I could get down there today...