NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Wednesday October 20th 2021

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CCC: “Snack Attack” a Cuisine Commentary by Courtney “Bridging” Sparse Budget and Appetite by “drizzle” and “slather” of inexpensive foods

By Courteny Algeo Normally I write a monthly column for The Alley about great places to eat in the Phillips Neighborhood. While many of the restaurants are affordable, there are times that going out to eat just isn’t in the budget, as is the case for me this month. So, instead of going out to get a delicious prepared snack, I thought I might write a little bit about some ways to treat yourself during the leaner times in life. When my grandfather was still just a father, he and my grandmother (still just a mother) would skimp on their meals all week just so that every Friday they could have steak for dinner. Eating good foods is something that we all deserve, and should do every now and then to let ourselves know how proud we are of how hard we work. While I’m not promoting eating a cake every day or something because you “deserve it,” treating yourself to a delicious snack can be one of the best ways to make a hard day worthwhile. But, how do you do this when there isn’t a lot of money to go around frivolously buying succulent snacks and tasty treats all willy-nilly? (more…)

Fish Tacos by La Sirena Gorda, “The Fat Mermaid.”

Fish Tacos by  La Sirena Gorda, “The Fat Mermaid.”

By Courtney Algeo The truth is this: I went to the Midtown Global Market on a rainy Tuesday evening to review Pacific Islander Cuisine. We went around 6:00 p.m.–prime dinnertime–but only one person was working at the restaurant, cooking and dishing up all of the made to order food herself. She looked like she was working extremely hard, and the food she was making smelled delicious. Unfortunately, I suffer from what some call the hanger. Hanger is a portmanteau of the words “hungry” and “angry”, that signifies the emotion contained in the moment when your desire for food turns into a hot, burning rage. Or, perhaps it’s just a case of crippling impatience. To shield those near me from my hanger, I simply turned around in the aisle at Midtown Global Market and ordered some delightful fish tacos from La Sirena Gorda, which means (hilariously) “the fat mermaid.” Although this was the first time a name had been associated with the restaurant, I had heard a lot about the fish tacos before I stumbled into this dining experience. Whenever tacos are brought up in conversation (which, if you know me, is a lot) friends and strangers alike always ask if I’ve had the fish tacos at the Midtown Global Market. Now, I can grin slightly, rub my belly, lift my chin and say to them, “Why yes. Yes I have.” The tacos come in orders of two or four. I would recommend always getting four. This is not because they are small, by any means, but rather the tacos come, for the most part, unassembled. If you order four tacos, you get a healthy portion of taco innards, and then four soft tortilla shells. I’m not sure why they do this, but I was glad to be served that way, because I was in control of how full I filled my tacos, and that made me feel like an empowered consumer. If you order two tacos, I assume you will get a smaller pile of fish bits, and only two tortillas. You will also feel strangely [...]

CCC: “Snack Attack” a Cuisine Commentary by Courtney Ecuadorian “Countryman’s” platter delights at Guayaquil

CCC: “Snack Attack” a Cuisine Commentary by Courtney Ecuadorian “Countryman’s” platter delights at Guayaquil

By Courtney Algeo Although I tend to eat a lot of Mexican and Mexican-inspired foodstuffs, I recently realized that I’ve never intentionally sought out other types of Latin American delicacies. Rather than sitting around all day trying to figure out why this is, I immediately decided to remedy this issue, and at the suggestion of a friend, dined at Guayaquil at Lake St. and Bloomington Ave. A simple Ecuadorian restaurant of modest decoration and awesome (I suspect) weekend karaoke offerings after 9 p.m., Guayaquil is almost hidden by all of the hubbub and bright colored buildings in the Phillips area of Lake Street. Despite its ability to blend in, I wouldn’t recommend overlooking this lovely gastronomical gem. Having never sat down to an Ecuadorian feast, I wasn’t sure what to order. Sure, Guayaquil had plenty of safe, same-old offerings like fried rice and fajitas, but I wanted something adventurous – though not so adventurous as the items which included tripe. I wanted something new, that would knock my socks off and burn the name Guayaquil, and a map of South America, onto my belly. Under the menu heading “Especialidades de la Casa” one item caused for me the room to grow quiet, and my vision to tunnel: Bandeja Paisa. A dish that hails typically from Columbia, Bandeja Paisa is described in the Guayaquil menu as a “countryman’s platter of fried pork, fried egg, fried sweet plantain, an arepa (corn cake) and avocado with beans and rice.” Though not a countryman, I am pretty much always interested in fried pork and avocados. (more…)