Tuesday, November 23, 2010

El Punto Criollo revisited

I stopped by Saturday at this cart's new location on Beechnut just outside Highway 6. I guess it's the same cart as I encountered a couple of months ago up near I-10 - this one does have a menu board on the side and a completely different crew but it's the same phone number.

I knew the empanadas were good so I tried the Patacones, the Venezuelan sandwich that substitutes mashed, fried plantain for bread. This was the juiciest, most flavorful carne mechada I've had with a little bit of queso that I failed to ask the name of, maybe some refritos, I wasn't sure, and that's about it. There are bottled hot sauces on the shelf on the side of the cart but you have to ask for the guasaca, the Venezuelan guacamole sauce, and I forgot to and it wasn't offered. It would have made this a bit better. It was a pretty hefty sandwich for $1, much more filling than a typical $1 taco, but it was pretty heavy in the stomach because of all the grease soaked up by the plantain.

This place offers a plate lunch of Pabellon Criollo, the national dish of carne mechada, black beans and rice; I've got to go back and try that.

A sign in the window advertised Hallacas (ayacas), the Venezuelan holiday tamale. I've wanted to get my hands on one of these for a couple of years but missed out so I grabbed one to take home and heat up later. It was a lot smaller than I expected, about the size of 2 or 3 Tex-Mex tamales - I was expecting something like the just-one-makes-a-meal nacatamales of Colombia or Guatemala - but it was awfully good. There was beef, chicken and pork plus green olives, capers and raisins and a pimento or sweet red pepper for decoration. Also unlike those others which are about 50% masa, this was only about 20% masa - it was mostly about the fillings.

These are said to be so labor intensive they're only prepared around the holidays and people stock up on them in the freezer; I did likewise, going back a couple of days later to pick up several more.

The Hallacas will probably only be available through the end of the year and are $5 each.

Since they are outside the city limits, they have a table and a couple of chairs under an awning for your heightened dining enjoyment.

My earlier review.


Emm Cee said...

Hi, I just wanted to tell you that I've been reading your blog for the past couple of months. I finally got all the way back to the beginning tonight and really enjoyed it! Great writing and the pictures are nice, too. I seem to have the same taste in food as you which made it even more enjoyable. Keep writing and I will keep reading.

Candace Winfrey, Alvin, TX

Bruce said...

Thanks Candace. Nice to hear from you and glad you enjoyed it all. Anything good to eat over there in Alvin?