I walked the festival from 57th to 42nd today (does HO offer compensation for taking one for the team?). There was the expected swarm of sausages (German and Italian), and other now-conventional street fair foods. Nothing really stood out. Among the profusion of empanadas, I tried the ones from K Rico (freshly fried, in small batches, with a beautifully crisp crust, and inexpensive at $3 a pop, but sadly lacking in filling), a no-name place (doughy, more meat, but under-flavored), and “Freakin Rican” (the most flavorful of the lot). The no-name place also had a terrific-looking beef-on-the-bone stew, but it proved bland and not-quite-tender. More on that in a minute.*
“Freakin Rican” intrigued me so I looked them up. You all may be more aware of them than I. They’re out of New Jersey. Their website is charming and I recommend wholeheartedly their homegrown video on pasteles de guineo.
*The not-tender-meat issue arose again as I watched the Freakin video. The meat cooks there at a vigorous boil. Fifteen years ago I got a good stove. I was all excited by the mega-BTU burner on it. But, as I found, much more important than that was the mini-btu flame that it could put out that allowed me to achieve a very slow simmer. My meat has never been more tender. A simple lesson, but one that I think a lot of cooks have not learned.