We’ve got a brand-new plantain-heavy menu on the Watch List this week, plus a whole selection of new items from established eateries. There’s the return of brunch to one RiNo restaurant, a Japanese lunch special at another. And sandwiches on fresh-baked bread are worth a lunchtime stop at two separate spots, while a sophisticated octopus arrangement awaits at a downtown destination. Here’s our Watch List for six hot bites to eat this weekend.
Candela Latin Kitchen
1691 Central Street
Plantains are nearly as versatile as potatoes when it comes to culinary preparations. Used green, the hard, starchy fruit fries up into crunchy snacks with a bright flavor that counters spicy accompaniments. A little riper and they can be cooked and mashed into the Puerto Rican specialty called mofongo. Again, the fruity taste matches well with pork, a common ingredient in the dish. And left until the skin is almost black, plantains become sweet and luscious, acting as a foil for bold Caribbean spices. You can find all three styles at Candela, the new pan-Latin American eatery in LoHi. Candela fries up plantain chips that are served with El Gran Combo, a heaping bowl of guacamole topped with orange supremes, pistachios and a smoky guajillo mojo. Or you can get a garlicky mofongo that’s sturdy and satisfying like rustic mashers. For a sweet-savory combo, ripe plaintain tacos with poblanos, queso fresco and chipotle-maple are a novel use of the fruit, and a traditional Puerto Rican dish called Pastelón resembles lasagna, only with strips of sweet plantain standing in for the pasta. Go with friends and go bananas with a selection of all of these.
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