Having previously eaten at El Gallo Pinto, a Nicaraguan restaurant in Azusa, I decided to check it once again during my lunch hour.
Before deciding on my entree, I ordered a drink called Melon Connaranja, which is basically a mixture of cantaloupe and orange juice. Wow, that drink was awesome. The drink was just really smooth and combined both the tart notes of the orange juice and the sweetness of the cantaloupe juice for a very refreshing drink.
After looking at the menu, I settled on mincemeat. When asking about mincemeat, I was told that it was beef, onions and chili peppers that are blended together in a food processor. Upong being served, I noticed that the appearance and the texture of the meat reminded me of ground pork. When tasting, I thought it had a very interesting texture. The meat was soft, but a little chewy, which makes me think that the meat was boiled perhaps?
For being boiled, I actually found the meat a little dry even when I squeezed lime on it per the waitress' suggestion. Perhaps that moisture was lost because of the food processing. It had good flavor because of the onions and the mild chili peppers, but it wasn't really a wow until I poured the restaurant house salsa into the meat and mixed it all together.
That Nicaraguan salsa is just to die for. It's made up of sour orange juice, onions and chili peppers and the sweet tartness of that salsa and the moisture of the orange juice really gave zing to that mincemeat. After that, I really enjoyed that meal.
Of course, the gallo pinto, which is the fried rice and beans that came with the meal and something I had before, was again quite tasty. The beans that are boiled with garlic really add lots of flavor to that rice.
Overall, it was a good meal. I don't think I'd go out of my way to order the Mincemeat again, but at least I can say that I tried it. One interesting thing though is that a couple of weeks later, I was at an El Salvadorean restaurant and mincemenat was on the menu there, too, so perhaps, it's more of a Central American dish in general and not just a Nicaraguan specialty.
To see pics, go to:
El Gallo Pinto
5559 N Azusa Ave