Posted by: Jeffsayyes | October 12, 2011

Real Cheap Eats Scouting Tour of the Bronx Highlights: Atoradero and Lechonera La Pirana

Real Cheap Eats is a site I’m contributing to, dedicated to finding the best, accessible food in New York City. We have all the best food explorers in the city writing on it, telling how it is and where to eat. A few weeks ago, the founder, Mr. Boo, wanted to bolster his Bronx shoutouts on there. Our eat crew went across the globe from Ghana to Vietnam to NY pizza, but here I will highlight 2 of my favorite spots of the scouting mission: El Atoradero and Lechonera La Pirana AKA the Puerto Rican truck.

El Atoradero (800 East 149th St b/w Wales & Tinton) is a tiny deli, not far from the Manhattan river. The head chef is Mexican, but she cooks especially for locals missing their homes in places like Honduras and Guatemala. We had a spattering of plates, all awesome. She shined through most of all on her charm, smile, pork, and homemade sauces (especially the tomatillo).

Here she is making her famous picaditas. She tells us that she can make whatever people want, and when you think about it, it’s mostly just form of dough. Since they create it right there, it’s obviously not a problem.  Huaraches are a little different than I’m used to. Done here, in the authentic way, there’s beans inside the dough – that’s cool.

The carnitas are cooked in a vat of beer, tequila, lime juices, and more. It gave it a subtle flavor that wasn’t busy getting messy in its own fat. I almost felt free of guilt! Below is a papusa filled with loroco, which is an herby green flower bud. This was the first time I’d ever seen it.


I came back the next day and for the second time in my life experienced the papusa with loroco. Same awesomeness as the day before on all the food, but I also found a new longing: Cafe de Olla. From talking to the chef and reading about it online, I surmise it is coffee ground in a pot with cinnamon, brown, sugar, and honey.  It definitely was spicy, so maybe she puts something else in there, or maybe it’s the cinnamon. Does anyone know where I can get this in Queens???

She only cooks for about 5 hours a day, and only on the weekends. You can see how much people look forward to it by their faces of anticipation when they come in. It’s like everyone’s about reuniting with a long-lost someone.

A couple of streets north is Lechonera La Pirana (152nd St & Wales)

Check out this alcapuria above. It’s a ball of mashed plantain filled with ground beef and fried. It’s definitely an experience. Most things in this trailer are fried, it’s basically a fritura trailer with some octopus and shrimp salad too. See the menu on it’s freaking door below:

Pastelillos are empanadas. Bacalaito is a codfish fritter, ensalada marisco is seafood salad, guineito is a small green banana (unsure how it’s used here), lechon asado is roast pork (!) and arroz con gano is rice and peas. Yeahhhhhh.

Going in the trailer was the first time I’ve ever entered a street food establishment. My Bronx street food interest is so piqued.

Get here with the 6 train (149)


Responses

  1. Hi, I’d love to use your photo of the picaditas at El Atoradero on NewYork.com. Please email me ASAP to discuss further. Thank you!

    • Sure, what is your rate? As you know, if someone gets paid in your company, then we all get paid.


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