Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sofrito Spot-of-the-week (mini-review): ¡El Chevere is Chevere!

by Benjamin Ramos Rosado

From time to time, I will post Sofrito Spot-of-the-week mini-reviews of small take out spots or "mom'n'pop" places that I feel are worth sharing!

When Spanish speakers see something amazing or experience something significant we say “¡Que chevere!” (How cool/amazing/awesome)! Well, there’s this little hole-in-the-wall “Mom’n’Pop” place in El Barrio called “El Chevere” (They let you know how cool they are off the bat!) and their cuchifritos (koo-chee-free-tohs) will make you SCREAM “¡Que chevere!”

Cuchifritos are a small subsection of Puerto Rican cuisine, which includes a variety of dishes such as: morcillas (blood sausage), papas rellenas (fried potato balls stuffed with meat), bacalaitos (fried salt cod fish fritters) chicharrones (fried pork skin), and other pork products fried in manteca (lard). These fried delicacies are incredible and sinfully decadent!

El Chevere serves all of the above and much more! Unlike other cuchifrito spots, they also a lunch/dinner menu that includes: Rice and Beans; various Puerto Rican guisados (stews); baked and fried chicken; and pernil (roasted pork shoulder). Also, they sell fresh fruit juices-passion fruit, papaya and mango-and make batidas (Puerto Rican smoothies made with fruit and condensed milk).

I know what some of you might be thinking: How can you recommend greasy and unhealthy food like cuchifritos?

My answer is simple: I don’t believe eating cuchifritos on occasion is unhealthy; the over consumption of them or any fried food is unhealthy. When eaten infrequently and in moderation, cuchifritos are wonderful treat! If you practice good judgment and self- control, you can have a bacalaito or a papa rellena and not worry about your cholesterol spiking.

It’s about moderation, not deprivation.

Go taste for yourself! ¡Buen provecho!

El Chevere
200 3rd Avenue (on E. 110th St.)
Price Range: $1-10

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