March 05, 2006


I was oot and aboot yesterday in Humboldt Park, riding my bike, when I grew peckish. I came upon a likely-looking place that said Jibaritos and Lechon Asado in big letters in the window, and when I peeked in, the place was mobbed, which I took to be a good sign. There's takeout in the front, so at first I thought I had to wait in line, but there are two dining rooms, one to the left and one to the back, and I got a table right away. It's a little divey, but homey and full of families and young people and old people -- lots of people, eating lots of food, speaking lots of languages (or at least spanish and english). This is Borinquen Restaurant.

There are some cool looking appetizers -- i saw a skewer of meat and a big fried ball of something (plantain I'd guess) going to another table -- and mixed plates, but I got the headline dish, the jibarito with lechon asado. I'd had a jibarito at Rudy's Taste, which I found hard to eat and ultimately disappointing, so the fabulousness that arrived on the plate here was truly heartwarming.

jibarito & rice

Imagine some nice flavorful roast pork, in a sandwich with lettuce and tomato, glued together with a bit of cheese whiz and a generous dollop of mayo. Now imagine that instead of bread, there are two toothsome slabs of plantain, smashed flat and fried crisp in -- wait for it, this where it gets really good -- hot oil with so much garlic in it that globs of garlic stick to the outside of the sandwich. The garlicky goodness wafted up to me immediately, and I started thinking happy thoughts about the world and everyone in it (those of you who know me know how uncharacteristic that is). I am so grateful for all of the different kinds of people in the world, each of whom figures out these amazing and wonderful new things for me to eat. I mean, who thought this thing up? It's brilliant.

It comes with a big pile of yellow rice, studded with beans and bits of ham and chorizo. Usually the rice in these situations is pretty dull stuff, just there to fill space, but this was really delicious. Happily, there's a recipe for it on the website of the restaurant. :-) And they have Hawaiian Punch, for which I have a soft spot a mile wide, and I have to say, it goes really, really well with a savory treat like this jibarito.

It's not on Metromix, which strikes me as bizarre, but that's ok -- we don't want too many more people to find it, or we won't be able to get a table.

Posted by foodnerd at March 5, 2006 04:54 PM
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