Don’t be illamad!

Life in Columbus Circle yesterday looked like a usual New York street scene. Yellow cabs, a few bikes, a ballerina… Who would have suspected that just a short distance away via a Tardis-like transport, a llama party was lurking?! Spiraling off from the underground subway, and corralled between ticket machines, Swedish coffee shops and erasable graffiti boards, a band of brothers from Bolivia are celebrating their culture by introducing NYC to a new concept in party food.

Not to be confused with pasties or empanadas, saltenas are to Bolivians what sushi is to the Japanese or pizza is to Americans. It can take a chef five years to perfect the recipe, and that is not because of indecision about meat or no meat. It’s the art of the package. According to the masked Alex, the mixture must be soupy, and the pastry, made with ajianarillo flour, slightly sweet. The trick is to balance the consistency so it is juicy without being soggy. ( Vegan alert – cows feet are involved. ) And when the test of a good saltena is to shake it to see how much juice is inside, the next challenge is to eat it without spilling a drop. That will mean picking up the check for the whole table.

The Bolivian Llama Party is named for the things that the three brothers love. Enthusiasm radiates from their tiny store – the ceiling is as handmade as the party food, and while I pause over the hooves on the hotplate, the pride of the telling of this authentic addition makes it essential – and delicious – eating. So if you lose yourself in the winding passages of the subway underneath Columbus Circle, don’t despair, you might end up partying with some Llamas from Bolivia…

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This entry was posted in bakeries, Food, Fun, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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