302 - Roadside attraction

By Lauren Gosnell

Los Arrieros Restaurante is like any roadside stop in the Colombian countryside.

Its cozy, rustic interior is decorated with mementos from Colombia and the walls papered with coffee sacks. Its menu offers the kind of hearty, home-style meals that paisas, or coffee field workers, would eat in Colombia’s mountainous regions.

A meat lovers delight – Los Arrieros’ Bandeja Paisa is a protein platter that has got a bit of everything. It starts off with a mound of rice, topped with a cumin-scented Colombian chorizo sausage, a fried steak, a fried egg and a piece of crispy deep-fried pork rind called chicharron.

Los Arrieros If that’s not enough for you, there’s also a hefty side of red pinto beans, a couple of pieces of sweet plantain (Colombians love to add a little sweet to the mix), a slice of avocado and a little corn cake called an arepa. It’s a platter you might want to share.

If meat is not your thing, try the mazamorra con bocadillo o panela. This is Colombia’s version of porridge. Colombian-style white corn kernels are boiled in water and milk until it is completely soft. The traditional way to eat it is by taking a bite of panela raw cane sugar in between spoonfuls of warm mazamorra. Mazamorra can be enjoyed anytime of the day, as a snack, a dessert or even as a side dish to a meal.

Colombians like the combination of sweet and savoury flavours – even when it comes to dessert. A simple dessert enjoyed all over Colombia is brevas con queso, figs in syrup with soft cheese.

In Colombia, this might be quesito – a type of homemade fresh white cheese. In Canada, it would be similar to a marscapone – not at all salty or crumbly.

With the sweetness of the figs - either stewed fresh or from a can, this dish is an easy harmony of flavours and textures.

Los Arrieros Restaurante
752 Wilson Ave.
Toronto
416-636-2318