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Colombian Comfort Food at Las Palmas

Posted by Emily / October 11, 2007

Las Palmas, a Colombian eatery on Rachel, serves a dish called the Bandeja Paisa. This meal includes rice with a thick bean sauce, a sausage, a couple of cornmeal cakes, and a fried egg on top. With the obvious exception of chocolate and peanut butter, this is perhaps the most delicious combination of foods I’ve ever had…or at least in the past month or so.

Clearly, Las Palmas is no place for dieters. Fat, salt, and sugar are all well represented in each of the main courses. But it’s worth it to let the belt out a couple of notches in the name of trying some great Colombian cuisine.

Before my first visit to Las Palmas, I’d never had Colombian food before. I was surprised how different the dishes were from Central American cuisine. The arroz con pollo at Las Palmas was much moister and stickier than the versions I’d had in Mexican restaurants. Tender pieces of dark chicken meat and vegetables were dispersed throughout the rice, which tasted like it had been soaking in a rich broth.

Like all the main dishes, the arroz con pollo came with two arepas. The thick little cornmeal cakes soaked up the flavors from the other ingredients like sponges.

Each dish also came with a side of fried plantains, which were much less ripe and sweet than those I’d had at El Amigo. But this wasn’t a bad thing; Las Palmas’ main dishes are quite filling enough without a rich side. There’s no need to let a cardiac arrest spoil a lovely evening out.

I felt as if my arteries could do with a bit of unclogging after I polished off a tamal from Las Palmas. The tamal was tasty, but it was also so cheesy and salty that I could barely finish it. I’ve never known Central American tamales to have cheese in them, so I don’t know if Las Palmas’ cheesy tamales are unique to Colombia or to the restaurant. But personally, I prefer my tamales straight up.

That being said, it was literally a challenge to find something negative to say about the food at Las Palmas. Like many restaurants that serve tamales, Las Palmas rarely offers them (after several failed attempts, I discovered that one can only get a tamal on Fridays). So each time I failed to procure a tamal, I ended up with an even more delicious substitute.

On failed attempt #3, I was feeling quite frustrated until I began nibbling on an empanada. The crust was perfectly crisp and chewy, and it was nearly bursting with savory ground beef. My irritation melted away with each bite. The cooks at Las Palmas seem to have a knack for making all of your troubles evaporate over a steaming plate of Colombian comfort food.
Las Palmas
14 Rachel East



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