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There has never been a better time to eat Latin American food in Colombia

In western Colombia, a multitude of super food trucks and restaurants serving cuisines from the diverse cultural conglomerate dot the cityscape. A recent online search found 14 Mexican and Latin American restaurants, and that number jumped to 18 when expanding settings to the nearby town of Cayce.

This list includes the recently opened Tex Mex, but does not include the even newer Taqueria el Primo, so the total total is at least 19.

Recent visits to the two newcomers have been met with strong dishes well worth their affordability, from solid tacos to surprising hot dogs.

The ubiquity of the kitchen in the relatively cozy zone makes sense when you look at its demographics. West Columbia has a Hispanic population of almost 10 percent. Across the river, Columbia’s percentage is just over half of it, though its Latin cuisine offerings aren’t to be outdone, especially if one heads to the International district. Boulevard.

Indeed, there has been a growth throughout the region for Latin cuisine in recent times.

Close to the University of South Carolina campus, Bruno’s Taqueria has opened; in the northeast there is the upscale Peruvian tapas restaurant Ratio; in Forest Acres, Boca Grande Burritos opened with great fanfare; and elsewhere, such as the growing Fusion Cocina Latina, which has also gained a solid reputation.

Restaurants in the city have also recently jumped on trends like birria tacos, a delicious dish sautéed in a consommé and served with the same broth for a dip.

Here’s a breakdown of West Columbia’s two new additions, to help you understand how they fit into the crowded landscape and what they might offer to enjoy with all the favorites you might already have.

Tex Mex Columbia – 1215 Augusta Rd., Suite H; Texmexcolumbia.com

Owner Araceli Valenzuela and her husband Fernando opened Tex Mex Columbia in October, with the idea of ​​bringing people together through their fare.

“We like all kinds of people and we are open to all kinds of cultures,” said Valenzuela. “That’s why this idea of ​​Tex Mex is a fusion of people, food and flavor.”

The couple have an eclectic menu, with a plethora of Mexican fare, American fare, and unique hot dogs, like a chorizo ​​hot dog. They also have regular promotions and have a handy image wall of items available to help customers who may not be familiar with some of the offers.

Both times I ate there, I tried a special which included a marinated pork chop, rice and refried beans; and the aforementioned chorizo ​​hot dog, to which I added coleslaw for a quintessential Palmetto State twist. The pork chop was well done, not overcooked and had a nice salty flavor.






TexMex.jpg

Hot dog with Tex Mex chorizo ​​served to take away. The West Columbia Mexican restaurant opened in October 2020.




The chorizo ​​hot dog was a highlight for a standalone lunch. The chorizo-potato mix is ​​rich in flavor and pairs well with the lively hot dog. Lightly sautéed onions added a nice semi-sweet accent to the dish, which had surprising depth, despite its mundane nature.

Valenzuela said they do well with American customers, but there have been misconceptions about their food due to the name, with some believing they only serve Tex-Mex style cuisine, rather than Mexican. .

They opened in the midst of COVID-19 and it was a difficult first year, she admitted. The family invested in the business before the pandemic and ended up with operating the business. However, things have improved and she considered it to be a solid first year in business given the circumstances.

“I think we are doing well because this is our first venture,” she said. “We have a lot of expertise because we have been working in the restaurant business for 25 years. He’s a good chef and I love people so it’s good.

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Taqueria El Primo arrives as the brick and mortar sister of the longtime Augusta Road food truck in West Columbia (the yellow and white truck that displays in the Beer & Tobacco Oulet parking lot). The new storefront opens in the old Five Points Catering location on Sunset Boulevard, with this signage still on the building.

I’ve been to the food truck before and found a particularly strong cabeza sincronizada, a quesadilla-like dish that includes beans inside the flour tortilla.

In the new window, opened about three months ago, by a restaurant worker, I tried the chorizo ​​and cabeza tacos.

The cabeza was a good interpretation of meat, with the flavor of oily beef and a bit like oxtail. It melted in my mouth, but lacked the crunchy-crunch that I’m looking for a contrast in texture. The chorizo ​​was the highlight of my trip, with an extremely flavorful and intense smoke that paired particularly well with the cilantro sprinkled inside the taco and the tangy verde sauce served on the side.

Taqueria El Primo has a host of other offerings, with burritos, tostadas, huaraches, and tortas. It’s a varied menu that should meet most preferences.

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Lisa Long, co-owner of Redbud Kitchen, struggles to define her own kitchen and her own style.

“It’s ‘Fresh American’,” she said, shortly before opening for lunch on August 12.

Long and her husband, Wally, opened Redbud Kitchen in late July, breathing new life into a former retail space across from Hi-Wire Brewing. The new South Knoxville restaurant is a sister restaurant to their original Redbud Deli, which they opened in Morristown in 2014.

The menu is easy to navigate and divided into Crave-a-Bowls, Out of Hand, Fork & Knife and Munchies, Sides + Such, as well as Sweet Stuff and a kids’ menu.

What makes it different? “Our Smoky Mountain Meatloaf and Potato Stew is something you would have at a family reunion,” Long said. “But, we put on a ketchup frosting with sriracha aioli; we brighten up the home style food.

“Hillbilly Heap is my guilty pleasure,” laughed Long. “Pimento cheese with roasted red peppers with smoked cheddar, pulled pork and ancho barbecue sauce pressed on a crispy ciabatta is one of my favorite sandwiches,” she said.

The sides also have a twist. “We fry our chips every day in five-pound batches in-house,” Long said. “These are crispy and very filling chips. And I want to eat veg every day, so we also serve roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli. “

Long’s staple is the Veg Head Salmon or Chicken Bowl. “It’s my way of eating. It’s bright and beautiful and I want to eat a rainbow every day, ”she said. “I like it – it’s hot toasted aioli, cold crisp, spicy and poppy seed dressing. Long admits that the mixture might look odd on paper, but the flavors – sweet, sour and all of those things that happen in one place sort of work.

Lisa Long, owner of Redbud Kitchen, is launching a new batch of homemade thick and crunchy potato chips on August 12, 2021.

“I wasn’t sure if we should put it on the menu, but the team said it was really good and we’re selling as much of it as possible in Morristown,” she said.

Long wasn’t sure people would be adventurous enough to love her cranberry chutney wrap, but this has been another hot seller on her seasonal menu.

“Pretty much everything is our own recipe,” Long said. “We make all of our dressings and condiments, with the exception of Italian dressing.”

While Redbud Kitchen is focused on building their team, they are open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday. “We close at 9 pm all week, 10 pm Friday and Saturday, and 4 pm Sunday so our staff can spend time with their families,” Long said.

The plan is to potentially open Monday through Sunday, offer weekend brunch, happy hour, and food services.

Redbud Kitchen's Hillbilly Heap features chili cheese with roasted red peppers with smoked cheddar, pulled pork and a squeezed ancho barbecue sauce over a crispy ciabatta.

“In Morristown we do a lot of catering – huge salads and sandwiches and platters of wraps,” Long said.

“I think of our food as fuel; I don’t feel weighed down and tired when I eat it, ”she said.

“This area did not have a bar-restaurant and we think we are a good complement to what already exists.”

So far, according to Long, diners have enjoyed the bright and light 120-seat dining room. “I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. I was fortunate to have great people around me to advise, ”she said.

Long lived intermittently in Knoxville and worked in the food industry. “People have asked me why we are opening here, and I said that’s exactly what I’m doing, you can’t stay in one place, you have to grow up,” she said.

South Knoxville caught the attention of the Longs. “It’s so residential, it’s an older community, so it’s good to be a part of the revitalization,” Long said.

Online ordering and the full menu are available at redbudkitchen.com


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Under the Moon Café in Lambertville, NJ
Exterior photo of Under the Moon Café
Under the Moon Café in Lambertville, NJ

If dining on a wraparound porch with ceiling fans and garden views is your idea for a good summer night, look no further than Coffee under the moon in Lambertville, New Jersey. Sitting in a historic red brick building tucked away behind an iron gate, you’ll find Under the Moon Café on North Union Street in downtown Lambertville.

It is the second restaurant for the mother and son team, Estela Buontempo Orosco and Santiago Orosco. They have another restaurant in downtown Bordentown. This is the new location in Lambertville. He is now downtown in a much larger space than before.

The menu at both restaurants is an eclectic mix of Spanish, Italian and American recipes that have been in their families for generations. The dinner menu features appetizers ranging from artichoke rice balls to beef empanadas, salads, and seafood including charred octopus and giant crab cakes. For meat lovers, there are pork chops stuffed with figs and prosciutto and ropa vieja, Cuban-style ground beef with rice and beans. There are great choices for vegetarians. Try the butternut squash risotto.

inside the dining room of the Under the Moon Café
Under the Moon Café in Lambertville, NJ

The owners are originally from Argentina and have brought their love of tapas to Under the Moon. You can try four selections of tapas on their menu. I tried the roasted goat cheese with caramelized onions, Spanish potato pancakes, marinara meatballs, and wild port mushrooms.

Tapas are served on a vintage tiered platter, and each serving is enough for two people to share. My favorites were the goat cheese and the potato pancakes. My dinner partner had the ropa vieja served with fried green plantains. If you like Cuban cuisine, this dish is for you.

They have a great selection of homemade desserts such as creme brulee, lemon cakes and ice cream. If you like ice cream, I recommend stopping for your favorite flavor.

They also host and organize private parties outside or inside. The interior space is very European, and don’t forget to look up at the tin ceiling! If you can’t travel overseas this summer, Under the Moon Café will make you feel like you are there.

They are open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch and are closed on Mondays. Reservations are recommended.

23 Union Street North, Lambertville, NJ • (609) 397-1710 • UnderTheMoonCafe.com


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