Posted by: Sarah | February 17, 2009

didn’t get to heaven, but ya made it close…

Queens is without a doubt the most underrated borough in NYC.  While diversity is the name of the game in every borough of the city, it somehow feels more authentic in the neighborhoods of Queens, a world away from Manhattan to be sure.

A Colombian-American friend of mine (born and raised in Michigan, but has traveled back to Colombia extensively to visit family) has lived in New York for over a year, but had never been to Jackson Heights, the densely Colombian and Ecuadorian area of Queens.  We journeyed out there Sunday evening for some bandeja tipica and jugo, which I assured her would compete with the food that her family cooked in authenticity (- it did).   

Carol was amazed when we walked in a little bakery and she asked the person behind the counter – in English – what time they closed, and the girl simply rolled her eyes and didn’t respond, until I whispered to Carol that no one spoke English out here, and asked the girl in Spanish.  While you hear Spanish on the streets of Manhattan nearly everyday, I love that when you go out to JH, it’s rare to hear English being spoken.  There’s no need.  At Pollos Marios, my favorite restaurant out there, the hostess doesn’t even give a second thought that you might not understand when she asks “dos? siguen ariba al segundo piso”.  I don’t think that the wait staff would know what to do with you if you ordered in English.  I. LOVE. IT. 

We wandered around a grocery store, laughing at all the little things that we had no idea existed in the US – panella, the solid (rather than liquid) dishsoap, the condiments in bags instead of bottles, Mimo ice cream, frozen juice (maracuya, mango, lulo, guanabana….), and Colombian brands of everything you can imagine.  We may as well have been in our local Exito in  Barranquilla.  We even stopped in a liquor store because Carol didn’t believe me that you could buy Ron de Caldas or Medellin, Aguardiente Antioqueno or Cristal in New York.  We laughed with some guys at the store who asked US where Ron de Caldas was from; when we said it was Colombian, one of the guys punched the other two, saying that they were Colombian and we knew Colombian liquor better than they did.

Our last stop was back to the bakery, where we stocked up on pastelitos and bunelos.  The pastelito de guava sitting next to my coffee right now tastes exactly like the ones that I had for breakfast at the university every morning.



  1. QUEENS LOVE! i miss it.

  2. you just described my daily life here =) gracias a dios hay jugo de lulo en mi vida.

  3. Jugo doesn’t even accurately describe it….you say juice and Americans think that watery stuff you buy in a jug or make out of frozen concentrate. But jugo is actually made of REAL FRUIT and is much more like a smoothie.


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