Coming soon to Old Bridge...
1. Saw this in "Shop-a-Holic".. place called "TrIIIo".. yes, that's T-R- Roman Numeral III and then an o. Location not stated, I suspect it's the same group that's brought us Paco's Tacos and Cafe Spezia, since they didn't announce Paco's Taco's location for months as well. (And this same group owns the Shop-A-Holic publication). So, three cuisines.. Portuguese, Italian (of course), and Mexican.
2. This next one's a little harder to explain. Just as you exit onto Rt. 9 South from Rt. 18 South, there is a yard on your right. Formerly there was a dilapidated yellow truck there, and there was a hot dog business there for a while. A few weeks ago, the yellow truck disappeared. Now there is a sign there that reads, "Coming Soon! Lala's Puerto Rican Kitchen! Here!" So.. what.. another truck to replace the first one? Anyway, local Puerto Rican food is quite interesting to look forward to!
We went to Paco's a week or two ago, and I think the food quality was better than a year or two ago. We had a nice enjoyable meal, and of course the rice pudding chimichanga burrito for dessert was great .
Of course it's white guy's making Tex-mex, so it might not appeal to a lot of the Chowhounds on here. But I'm not afraid to say I like it.
I'm looking forward to trying the Portuguese, Italian, and Mexican Combo.
We went a few weeks ago, and it just wasn't very good. I had high hopes. They made it a pretty fancy place, so we felt under dressed. I had a polo shirt and shorts. With our screw top bottle of $15 sangria :-P. The hostess seemed a bit perturbed that we did not have a reservation, but did find us a table. They had a guy singing Frank Sinatra, so the atmosphere is nice. The service was very good. The food however was another story. The queso dip was burned, my Portuguese chicken was served in a garlic rue sauce which I probably could have made better at home, and the rice served with it tasted like plastic. (not sure if that was "creative" seasoning, or some horrible kitchen mishap went on). The server was quick to replace the dish however, and I went with a safer bet of chicken Parm. The chicken parm was ok, but was just about as good as you could get at almost any mediocre pizza place. My wife had the gnochi with meat sauce which was Ok. but this would be equivalent to a pretty good pizzeria type quality. At least the pasta was cooked Al dente. The Desserts were fresh out of the freezer at restaurant depot.
I've been around awhile, and if you look on my history, I really don't like to give bad reviews, and this is probably only the 2nd or third time I've ever thought about sending something back. but this one just earned it. The Italian food seems to be Ok, if you like mediocre Pizza place type stuff, but not for the prices they are charging.
On a side note, last night, we were meeting someone at Freehold mall, and not really having a plan for dinner, we picked up a $12 bottle of sweet red from Marlboro liquors, and stopped at Paco's Tacos. The Tex-Mex there is still pretty solid in our opinion.
They did have a special's menu with Portuguese Food which I promptly dismissed given our last run in with it.
Apparently, yes. LaLa's opened Friday and had a big crowd yesterday afternoon. I looked at their menu on-line (http://lalasprkitchen.com/) and have to say as a Puerto Rican that I saw some Mexican food on the list as well as Puerto Rican items. YMMV, but personally I don't think of empanadas of Puerto Rican. Still, there were plenty of other choices.
They have been open for months and the food is excellent. I have been numerous times. They are not there everyday but do post on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/lalaspuertor...) when they will be open.
With respect to the empanada thing, Puerto Ricans do make them them and call them pastelillos as opposed to empanadas. I am assuming they decided to call them empanadas since it is easily identifiable. It is similar to tomatoe vs tomato.
Went there last Friday. I know nothing about Puerto Rican food but i enjoyed the Chicharon - 3 chunks of crispy pork shoulder with yellow rice & beans. Decent portion size but a little pricier than I expect from a food truck ($11.50 including tax).
The man that took a the order was super polite and friendly.
I will definitely recommend giving them a try and I am going to follow them to see when they are coming back next time.
The first time we pulled up the to truck.. my wife asked... Do you take credit cards? (We had no cash). And the man (Frank) said, I do, when I'm open! (He was closed down and getting ready to leave. BUT, yes, he was super friendly, and he gave us 3 pieces of tres leches cake for free, which I thought was a really nice gesture. Of course, we have been there several times since then, and the food is quite good. We usually get an assortment of empanadas.
Think I like Empanada Guy's empanada's a little better, but now I really want to try that Chicharon that yCf mentioned.
Next week my church is having a Hispanic Heritage Fair, representing 8 countries/cultures and all the food is free (and homemade!).. so you know where I'll be. :)
I was trying to think of 8 separate countries/cultures. I got:
Guatemala for #8, perhaps, or Hondurian.
Spain is not considered "Hispanic" by everyone, and I'm pretty sure Brazil is considered Hispanic by almost no one (though it is Latino). Dominican is probably one of the eight, along with Salvadorean and/or Nicaraguan.
(The full list would be Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela.)