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Category Archives: Mexican / Latino

Sarah’s Kabob Shop

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Right by the Dmv on West Market, Sarah’s Kabob Shop is the latest ethnic restaurant to sit in this location, following Stix Kabobs and before that the dearly departed Peruvian Chicken (pollo a la brasa) place.

sarahs kabobs

Sarahs kabobs

This place seems to be doing well business-wise, but we weren't blown away by the food.

Sarahs kabobs

Sarahs kabobs

I ordered the falafel plate and M got a gyro plate. The falafel was a little burnt and lacking in any discernible flavor. Closer to a hush puppy than falafel. The salad was served with something that tasted like ranch and I didn’t finish the hummus, which is a big deal for me.

The fries were pretty good and they make a big deal that they’re made in house. The gyro was standard and decent.

I’d put this place in the Pita Delite category. I’d have a hard time coming back with Nazareth Bakery right down the street…

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Update: El Mercadito

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Been a while since we posted last. I’ve had a few opportunities to eat at El Mercadito recently and I still feel they have the strongest taco game in town.

Elmercadito

The last two or three times I’ve been there, the cashier has spoken great English. They also have an English section on the menu now.

elmercaditomenu

Neat place with a meat counter and a bakery. Next time I might have to try the chicharron.

Chicharron

Give it a try. I recommend the lengua and chorizo.

Mosaic Festival – Food and Music

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M and I had a chance to check out Mosaic this year and it was awesome.

Tacos

With vendors representing Palestine, Bhutan, Burma, Vietnam, Korea, the Caribbean, Iraq, the Congo, and others I’m forgetting plus two food trucks, there was a lot of food to try!

Chiba Chiba Dumpling and Taco Corner dishing out the goods.
Trucks

Killer dumplings and Hong Kong sausage from Chiba Chiba
Dumplings

Burmese Banana Cake
Banana Leaves

banana cake

Kabobs, somosas, and Congo-style scotch eggs plus killer pili pili hot sauce
Congo

Hibiscus and Ginger drinks from the Caribbean – pro tip from the Jamaican friend we made, mix the two 50:50.
hibiscus and ginger

Hummus, falafel and some stuffed and fried dumpling from Iraq
Iraq

Strange soda from Korea – awesome tagline!
Milki

Vendors
Vendors

The crowd
Mosiac

All in all it was a lot of fun. Good music too, a Jewish bluegrass band, some singers from Nepal, and one heck of a Bollywood dancer doing his thing. Be sure you’re there next there!

Greensboro Curb Market

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Farmer’s Markets can be unexpected venues for wonderful food. The Ferry Building in San Francisco and The North Market in Columbus, Ohio are two great examples. Greensboro is no different with its Curb Market, located on Yanceyville Street across from the old baseball stadium.

One of the things I love most about the Curb Market is the wide variety of different ethnic foods packed in such a small space. M and I are here every Saturday, wandering from booth to booth and assembling a breakfast as we go. Here’s some of our favorite vendors:

Nora Glanz Bakery

Maker of the wonderful empanadas posted above, Nora is from Argentina. The guava and feta empanadas and the quiches she sells are very good. If you’re going to eat them there, ask her to heat them for you.

Zaytoon
Zaytoon

Zaytoon offers Palestinian and Mediterranean dips, breads and cookies. Their green fava bean dip is ridiculous. It’s lucky if it lasts a day at our house.

African Sister
African Sister

She’s usually selling traditional West African dishes like greens with peanut butter and red beans and rice. She also sells some beignets that look great, but I’ve never tried them. The ginger tea is very sweet and very ginger-y. Great way to wake up your senses.

Laura’s Goodies
Laura's Goodies

Laura’s goodies will make you wish you brought more cash. Both because it’s expensive and because it’s unbelievably good. The french macaroons are eyes-rolling-back-in-your-head yummy, especially the passionfruit-chocolate and lemon verbena-chocolate. Yes, you read that right.

Loaf Bakery
Loaf

Loaf does traditional European breads and pastries. This is my favorite breakfast spot. The focaccia is delicious.

Calico Cheese
Calico cheese

Calico started off as your average small scale cheese producer. Apparently back in the day a Hispanic guy was working for them and convinced them to do some traditional Hispanic cheeses. Fast forward to today and they sell cheese from here to the beach in all the small Hispanic markets. Their queso fresco is great crumbled over tacos and black beans, and while it might not be “ethnic,” I could eat an entire package of their jalepeno skillet cheese.

Get over there and support the local food scene!

El Camino Real

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It’s crazy that we haven’t reviewed this place yet, as it’s our favorite Mexican restaurant in Greensboro.

El Camino Real is on Spring Garden across from the Food Lion shopping center and right next to Church’s Chicken.

While the menu features plenty of “Americanized” classics, this places puts out some seriously good tacos, sopes, and tortas too.  I have a hard time not ordering tacos each time we eat there, especially the chorizo and carnitas.  They do a really good job with the chorizo, getting it nice and crispy and not as greasy as some other places.

Another plus is El Camino Real serves horchata.

Horchata is usually a rice-based drink with lots of cinnamon.  They make theirs in house and it is awesome.  Warning, if you try it, you’ll get hooked.

This is another place that makes fresh tortillas.  I’ve decided that I can eat anything and enjoy it if it’s wrapped up in a warm fresh tortilla.  They get the rolls for their tortas from El Mercadito up the street, so those are nice and fresh too.  The owner is actually from El Salvador, so they have papusas on the menu as well, which are pretty solid.

Sorry for the lack of pictures –  all I order are the tacos!  Anyone know some other restaurants in Greensboro that could compete for “Top Taco” ?

Los Cobanos

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Edit: this place has closed.

In Spanish, Los Cobanos means….. The Cobanos.

Now that that’s cleared up, let’s talk food.  Specifically Salvadorian food.

M and I happened upon Los Cobanos while looking for The Purple Yam, a Filipino restaurant that has so far eluded us.  When we took a quick look at Los Cobanos’ menu however, we knew we found the consolation prize.

If you haven’t checked out FantaCity Mall yet on W. Market St, let this be your reason.  Los Cobanos is in the international food court, which is to your left if you’re looking at Super G Mart.

The first time Mackie visited Los Cobanos, we had $5.25 on us combined.  Amazingly, that was enough for two homemade pupusas, each with a small cabbage salad.  Pupusas are similar to tortillas but with the consistency of a dense pancake and stuffed with cheese and usually something else.  In our case we got a squash papusa and a “mixed” which was filled with beans and chicharrones (fried pork skins).  They were delicious, tangy oozy cheese and a warm crispy exterior.  And with the cabbage salad?  If you’ve like eating your hushpuppies with slaw at a bbq place like Stamey’s, you’ll dig this.

Now, while these papusas were good enough to deserve their own blog post, we had to go back and eat more.  We returned Sunday afternoon.  Mariva (although she says everyone calls her Maria) informed us that they were serving Sopa De Pata, one of the official dishes of El Salvador.  Sopa = soup.  Pata = ?

In case you’re wondering, pata means foot.  But before I tell you about cow’s foot soup, let me tell you about the drinks Los Cobanos serves.

Mariva brought us out a sampler of three drinks they make in house – horchata, tamarindo, and maranon.  The horchata was very good, milky with a nice vanilla note.  Nothing about it tasted artificial like some I’ve had.  It also wasn’t chalky like horchata can tend to be.  Mariva told us they make the tamarindo by soaking dried tamarind pulp for a few days and straining it.  It was delicious, a good combo of sweet and tangy.  Lastly was the maranon, which is made from the fruit of the cashew apple.  Apparently there’s a lot more to the plant than the cashew nut.  It’s really hard for me to describe the flavor of this drink, but it was extremely good.  M went with the tamarindo, along with a chicken empanada like dish that I forgot to take pictures of.

Back to the soup – a big steaming bowl of yuca, corn, cabbage, onions, cilantro, lime and a large gelatinous intimidating beef bone.  On the side were two homemade Salvadorean style tortillas.  The broth was delicious, rich and beefy with a nice zing from the lime.  Mariva mentioned it was traditionally eaten with added cabbage salad and hot sauce, which she was nice enough to bring out for me.  I finished the soup and was gingerly scraping at the remaining bone with my spoon.  M and I were debating whether it was there to be eaten or for flavor, like a ham hock.  Mariva promptly cleared up that discussion when she asked me why I wasn’t picking it up and eating it with my hands like everyone else.

This is the part where I wish I could say I picked it up and ate the fat and cartilage clean off the bone like an Andrew Zimmern highlight real.  It didn’t happen.  I think I took two bites.  You win this time, cow foot.

We had been chatting up Mariva every time she walked by, trying to learn more about El Salvador and its culture.  Apparently on Saturday and Sunday, it is customary to eat either sopa de pata or tamales de pollo.  Once the afternoon rolls around, everyone drinks atole, which according to Mariva is “like what Starbucks is to Americans.”   It just so happened they had been cooking a pot of atole all day in preparation for the afternoon crowd.

Atole is a sweetened milk and cornmeal drink, laced with kernels of fresh corn.  Warm and creamy, I basically had to wrestle it out of M’s hands to get a few sips.  It was very mildly spiced, which was nice.  (There was a nice subtlety to flavors of the food overall.)  You could tell it had been on the stove all morning long because the cornmeal was soft and not at all gritty.  The fresh corn added an interesting texture and made it very fun to drink.

Mariva told us her goals for her restaurant – keep the food as traditional as possible and stay authentic to themselves.  Her mother is a trained chef and works in the kitchen and her daughter works in the front of the restaurant.  3 generations devoted to bringing Greensboro a taste of the flavors and traditions of El Salvador.  Don’t miss this opportunity.

 

Carnicera El Mercadito…aka Panizzo?

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Somehow I forgot to take a picture of this place.  However, I got a picture of their sign.

The thing is, I’m pretty sure this place isn’t actually called Panizzo.  Panizzo brings to mind images of a cheesy faux-Italian sandwich place, which this place is definitely not.  Google is telling me it’s called Carnicera El Mercadito, so we’ll go with that.  Whatever it’s called, it’s located on the corner of Muris Chapel and W. Market.

“Awesome Taco Place” would be another fitting name for it.  Check out the generous avocado slices!


M and I both ordered tacos.  I got two chorizo and two lengua.  M ordered two chorixo and two carnitas.  For the unitiated, lengua is

tongue.  Don’t let this scare you, it’s really good.  (Ok it’s a little scary, I just tried to listen to my mouth and not my brain.)  It tastes like

very tender pot roast.  With the acidic green salsa, the creamy avocado and the crunch of the onions, it was realllly good.  The queso

fresco on top is a nice touch too.

The picture above shows another highlight.  Not the styrofoam, the hunk of dough on the right side in the background.  Masa.  There was a lady cranking out fresh tortillas nonstop and throwing them on the griddle.  Fresh tortillas rock.  You can buy stacks of them in a cooler up by the register, and they obviously use them when you order tacos.

Like the other place down the road, they also have a bakery section.

There was much more to it than this too.  In addition, they also have a meat counter and a nice selection of groceries.  They had a lot of dried chile peppers including some varieties I had never heard of.  There are probably 10-12 tables inside, and it was jammin’ on a Sunday afternoon.

Try the lengua!

R