Archive for 'Latin'

QBA Introduces New Menu Items Like Ropa Vieja

A couple of weeks ago, when QBA announced they’d be altering their menu to include some new specials, I hoped that this would change a pretty good cart into a great, must-visit cart. After all, there is no shortage of good Cuban options in Midtown- and as much as we love food trucks, isn’t it really all about the food?  I’ve already written about the pork meal and the cuban sandwich and our Downtown editor Andrea tried the chicken meal. I think the consensus is pretty clear; the QBA meals with meat and rice and beans are good, and a solid lunch option, but not spectacular. According to their website, today the truck will introduce ensalada batabano, a salad with tomatoes, feta and scallions.  And earlier this week they had ropa vieja, which we (naturally) had to go try.
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QBA Cuban Kitchen Truck to Unveil New Menu

Relegated to a “specials” menu

The QBA Cuban Kitchen Truck is going to roll out some changes to its menu next week, and there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that their bistec meal and their chicken meal (the one that the Downtown section of ML raved about yesterday) will no longer be available on a daily basis- leaving the pork meal, maduros meal and Cuban sandwich as their core daily menu items. The good news, on the other hand, is that the bistec and chicken will join a daily specials rotation that will also include new items, such as picadillo (ground beef in savory tomato sauce) and ropa vieja (shredded beef, peppers & onions in savory tomato sauce). I was pretty happy with the pork back when QBA started making stops in Midtown so I’m interested to see what these new dishes are like. QBA can usually be found on 44th btw. 5th+6th on Thursdays, but you should keep up with their location (and menu) on Twitter. Or the Midtown Lunch Twitter Tracker, of course.

QBA Truck Brings “Quick but Authentic” Cuban Food to the Streets

QBA Truck Brings “Quick but Authentic” Cuban Food to the Streets

Last week we reported that New Jersey’s QBA Cuban Kitchen truck had started making appearances in Manhattan, and according to the schedule on their website they’re hoping to make it a permanent Tuesday and Thursday thing (on  the SE corner of 48th and 6th) Excited about a new truck in the face of NYC’s coming food truck apocalypse, I immediately headed out to welcome QBA to the neighborhood, and to see what they had to offer.

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El Camioncito Returns With More Latin Food


El Camioncito, the truck that popped up on the radar this spring when it added tacos and later tamales to it’s otherwise typical food cart menu, has returned to Midtown South. After weeks of disappointing many a taco hunter, the truck is back at its just out of bounds location on 31st Street and 7th Avenue. I stopped by yesterday to take a look at what’s new.

The menu’s Latin section has continued to expand, adding a number of tasty-looking options. See what’s on it and one of the new snacks after the jump.

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Leña Latin Grill Is A Week or Two From Opening (And Looks Like a Latin Chipotle)

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Last month, I pondered what Leña Grill would be bringing to 35th btw. 5+6th. I feared that ‘Grill’ seemed a little too fancy and thus out of the ML price range, but thankfully that doesn’t seem to be the case. I passed by this morning and asked the folks working on the space a bit about the place. Unlike previous attempts that were greeted with “I think it’s going to be a restaurant,” I got some more info.

Details and a shot of the menu after the jump.

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Queens’ Street Food Comes to Midtown: A Second Look at the El Guayaquileño Cart

When the Mini Picanteria: El Guayaquileño truck showed up in midtown I was incredulous. The Guayaquileño trucks mainly stick to the outer borough of Queens with its mother restaurant located at 94-54 Corona Ave, Elmhurst. The term Picanteria is commonly used to describe family-owned eateries that serve inexpensive home-style meals and Guayaquileño is the term for the people of that region of Ecuador. The Guayaquileño truck follows that tradition and now offers midtown something rare and completely lacking in our street food scene: Ecuadorian food from the city of Guayaquil. Ultraclay checked out their tripe soup and I went back this week to test the boundaries of safe eating by trying the ceviche and my favorite: goat stew.

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Leña Latin Grill Coming Soon to Old Rainbow Deli Space

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I’ve watched over the last couple of weeks as signs of life have glimmered in the long vacant space on 35th btw. 5+6th  that used to house Rainbow Deli and Chinese food. What’s coming has been a mystery, that is until yesterday when this sign went up.  Grill sounds kind of fancy, right?  Grill means over $10, right?  I hope not.

Looking at the construction inside, it could go either way, but doesn’t give too many more clues. When I peeked in, I asked one of the workers about an opening day. He wouldn’t commit to anything, but thought it might be in about two weeks.

If you’re into trying to divine that sort of thing from a construction site, we’ve got an inside the plywood shot after the jump.

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Get Ecuadorian Food From the New El Guayaquileño Truck

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Ecuadorian food options are few and far between in Midtown. The only places I’ve heard of are El Rincon de Sabor (on 47th btw. 5+6th) and the lady selling Ecuadorian food from a shopping cart that Zach wrote about a couple years ago. Neither are particularly accessible to me in the Midtown South area, so when Luncher “@stenrotweeted the other day that El Guayaquileño, a new Ecuadorian food truck had popped up on 37th and 7th, I broke out into a jog to go check it out.

I was pretty excited because this was my first real opportunity to try out some Latin options more exotic than tacos and pernil. Interesting is definitely what this menu has to offer. See the food after the jump.

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I Will Never Get Tired Of Eating Lunch Out of Freight Elevator Hallway


Midtown Lunch has always prided itself on finding “hidden” gems in our part of the city (after all, you don’t need a blog to tell you where the nearest Cafe Metro is.)  And there are some truly hidden treasures, none more so than the spots that operate out of freight elevator hallways. The most famous one is El Sabroso, the Dominican/Peruvian 6 seater inside the freight hallway on 37th btw. 7+8th.  But there’s also Nick’s Place (on 39th btw. 7+8th), and of course Pick a Pita made a name for themselves in a hallway on 38th btw. 7+8th, before moving out into the open on 8th Avenue.

There’s something fun, and slightly subversive, about eating in a hallway beneath a building, dodging giant dollies full of lord knows what, as you navigate the bustling hallway to get to your lunch.  So, when I read in the ML forums that there was another one of these places on 37th btw. 8+9th, I wasted no time.

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El Papasito Has Crispy Pork Skin Worth Traveling Out of Bounds For

El Papasito

I know that most of you already know this, but sometimes it bears repeating for the new folks.  There are official ML boundaries that I do my best to stick to.  3rd Ave. on the East, 8th Ave. on the West.  32nd Street to the South, and Central Park South to the North.  I know a lot of you work outside those boundaries, but if I expand to 30th Street, then what about 28th?  And then from there, it’s only another 2 blocks to 26th.  In other words, you’ve got to have limits.

Occasionally, though, something amazing will come to my attention that excites me enough to cross those imaginary Midtown Lunch lines.  And those places we refer to as being “Out of Bounds”.  There are plenty of cheap Dominican/Cuban/Latin food options in Midtown, but none of them have what Papasito has (on 53rd btw. 8+9th).  A $6 lunch special.

For me, paying only $6 for a heaping plate of Dominican food makes it worth the extra bit of walking.  (Especially with Margon and Sophie’s Cuban costing $8+) But if the price isn’t enough for you, I discovered an extra little bit of incentive.

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