Posts Tagged ‘restaruant’

An Ode to Chicken: Chapter 4 — Finding Delight in Cheap Eats

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

My favorite food has been, and most likely will always be, chicken. 

I love chicken there is no denying that. My attempts at being vegetarian in the past have all failed at the sight of chicken tenders. It’s America’s favorite protein and the key to my heart. It’s chicken

Growing up in a family of five, there were many nights my parents didn’t have time to prepare a meal. Juggling full-time jobs and three kids, there were many evenings that we called upon our favorite cheap and easy restaurant: The Flying Chicken. The unsuspecting little restaurant, with orange walls and just a few tables, was known for selling out quickly, with only a few chickens left at the end of the day but only if you were lucky. 

Another favorite of mine in Chicago: Brasa Roja. When The Flying Chicken closed its doors for good, this is where we satisfied all our cravings. 

Pollo a la brasa, or grilled chicken, is something Colombia has mastered as a country. With perfect golden skin, every piece is just as juicy as the next. Although it might seem simple, Colombian grilled chicken is an art in itself. The chicken must marinate in a mixture of spices like oregano, thyme, cumin, and cilantro before being grilled to perfection. It’s a tedious process with results that are worth it. 

When my father would bring home white plastic bags filled with huge styrofoam boxes, I knew what was coming: pieces of roasted chicken sitting atop white rice, chunks of potatoes, and arepas made from corn flour stuffed with cheese. My brothers and I fought for whatever remained, always unsatisfied with the amount given. 

Although chicken might seem to be the focus here, the real point of what I’m talking about is how food does not need to be fancy to be considered “good.” Pollo a la brasa, albeit underrated and difficult to perfect, is not fancy food. It’s simple food that is meant to be eaten with your hands and an abundance of napkins, with oil stains collecting on the front of your shirt. Despite this, it remains one of my favorite meals because of the amount of flavor packed into a $12 styrofoam tray. 

The traditional way of cooking pollo a la brasa. Although seems like rotisserie chicken, it is considered grilled. 

I’m not saying expensive food isn’t good; I work in a restaurant with high prices and amazing meals. But, expensive food is not always attainable for college students. This has led to me exploring the hidden restaurants tucked into corners on empty streets or exploring local grocery stores for good eats. 

On the nights where I am desperately missing pollo a la brasa, I take myself to the grocery store and pick up the next best thing a rotisserie chicken. The possibilities of rotisserie chickens are endless: chicken salad, tacos, burritos, buffalo chicken dip, sandwiches, and more. All for $10. 

The flavor might not be the same, but no one said you can’t doctor up a rotisserie chicken to your own liking! Personally, I love to shred mine. Then, when I’m ready to eat I’ll season it according to what I’m craving. This is a great way to not only get the most out of what you’re paying for but also being able to experiment with a wide range of different recipes. Like I said before, the beauty of chicken is chicken. It’s easy, versatile, and cost-friendly. Don’t be afraid to prepare it in new ways! Your options are endless from fried, baked, seared, and stuffed chicken. Whatever you’re heart desires. Just be sure to share, and remember: all food is good food. It doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive, or covered in spices you can’t pronounce to be considered tasty. Take delight in the cheap eats, and share the deliciousness with others! 

If you’re curious about pollo a la brasa, I recommend trying Tio Pio! They have a great roasted chicken that is similar in flavor to the real deal. Check out the coupon below for a delicious burrito from them! 

By: Allegra Ruiz

Allegra Ruiz is a junior at New York University and she is from Chicago. She studies English and is minoring in Creative Writing. In her free time, she enjoys journaling, reading books and essay collections, and cooking for her roommates. Currently, she lives quietly in New York. 

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


An Escape to Mexico: Tortaria

Monday, August 20th, 2012

After a long of week of seemingly endless work at the office, I finally had a day free to myself to spend doing whatever I felt like doing. So I headed out to Union Square with my sister, Rachel, to visit some bookstores around the neighborhood and grab a bite to eat. Right off of University Place, we walked into a Mexican restaurant called Tortaria for our late lunch. Despite it being past regular lunch hours, Tortaria was packed with diners enjoying their meals. Rachel and I were seated at the bar, where we were given a thorough explanation of the wide variety of dishes on the menu.

Upon being seated, Frankie, the restaurant manager, recommended that we start off our meals with a frozen margarita, one of Tortaria’s famous drinks. The frozen margaritas come in different flavors every day, depending on what Frankie thinks would be the daily hit. I was given a pomegranate margarita, an absolutely delightful concoction with a sweet and fruity flavor blended with refreshing ice. In the musky and hot city, this drink is the perfect solution for beating away the heat. After receiving my drink, Rachel and I ordered the chips and guacamole as our appetizer. One great thing about Tortaria is that their guacamole is made fresh for every diner. When receiving an order of guacamole, a member of Tortaria’s staff quickly cuts open a fresh avocado to mix it in with the rest of the ingredients to make a customized guacamole bowl according to each diner’s preference. Made immediately on the spot, Tortaria’s guacamole was refreshing with bright flavors that popped out to complement the crispy tortilla chips.


Pomegranate Frozen Margarita

Freshly Sliced Avocado for Making Guacamole

Making of the Fresh Guacamole

Chips and Guacamole

Next came our taquitos. Each taquito is made with soft, white-corn masa tortillas that have been individually hand-pressed after receiving the order. Because the tortillas are made fresh as well, I was definitely able to taste the authenticity of the taquitos as if I was really eating in the streets of Mexico. We ordered the Pescado Taquito, a filet of crispy red snapper topped with a mango chipotle slaw and warm costeño salsa, and the Carnitas: braised pork with crumbled Queso Fresco, pickled red onions, and tomatillo salsa. The Pescado Taquito was absolutely amazing; the fish filet was crispy but not heavily fried and the mango chipotle slaw with costeño salsa added a mildly sweet and zesty flavor to the taquitos as a whole. The Carnitas were also delicious, with tender pork marinated with a sweet and spicy salsa to create unique tastes. Both taquitos were light and well cooked, and we were thoroughly impressed.


Pescado Taquito with Mango Slaw

Carnitas: Braised Pork Taquitos

Tortaria is also famous for their Mexican sandwiches, called tortas, and they take great pride in creating unique flavors for each dish. Tortas from Tortaria are fresh, using semolina bread baked locally every day. We ordered the Milanesa de Pollo, their most popular torta, the Crispy Eggplant, and the Mexican Grilled Cheese. After tasting the Milanesa dePollo, it was obvious why this was the most popular dish on the menu: with panko-crusted chicken cutlet topped with spicy black beans, melted Oaxaca cheese, avocado, pickled red onions and jalapeno, chipotle mayo, and cilantro sprigs, this torta is packed with fresh ingredients that make it the best Mexican sandwich you’ll ever eat. Slightly spicy and tangy, balanced with the tender and crispy chicken cutlet, the Milanesa de Pollo is simply amazing. The Crispy Eggplant Torta is a vegetarian torta, with panko-crusted fried eggplant cutlets topped with Chihuahua cheese, avocado, fresh piloncillo tomatoes, pickled jalapeno, fresh cilantro, and Tortaria’s chipotle BBQ sauce. As you can see from the extensive list of ingredients, the Crispy Eggplant Torta is filled with great vegetables that combine to create the sandwich’s flavor, which was absolutely delectable. What I liked the most about this torta was the fact that it was a vegetarian Mexican dish; generally, Mexican food is based on meat, so having a vegetarian dish on the menu is definitely a crowd-pleaser. Lastly, the Mexican Grilled Cheese at Tortaria gave a unique twist to the classic grilled cheese sandwich. Using buttered Challah bread, the Mexican Grilled Cheese consisted of melted Oaxaca cheese, fresh piloncillo tomatoes, chicken chicharrones, and roasted chipotle salsa. Chicken chicharrones are fried chicken skin which gives the grilled cheese a crunch, whereas the piloncillo tomatoes add a slightly sweet flavor to the overall savory sandwich. All three sandwiches were well-made, tasted great, and were uniquely crafted to give each diner an extraordinary Mexican dining experience.


Milanesa de Pollo

Crispy Eggplant Torta

Mexican Grilled Cheese

To top off our meal, we ordered the Paleta de Horchata & Tequila Ice Pop, a popular dessert, as I saw many people ordering it. As a mix of liquor and ice pop, this particular dessert is a great way to combine two spectrums of food, with the youthful ice pop and adult tequila. This, too, was also an extremely light dish, ending our entire meal with an overall lightness that satisfied our hungry stomachs.


Paleta de Horchata & Tequila Ice Pop

Everything about Tortaria is fresh, immediate, and carefully crafted, and there is no doubt as to why this restaurant is always buzzing with people. With a great brunch menu for the weekend, Tortaria offers a great selection of food for people with all tastes. I absolutely fell in love with their guacamole and taquitos, and I can’t wait to visit again to try the different combinations of Mexican food that Tortaria has to offer.

Tortaria supports the Campus Clipper booklet and is one of our sponsors for the fall issue. Take a look at their amazing menu here:

Becky Kim, Queens College, Read my blog and follow me on Twitter
Click here to download the Campus Clipper iTunes App!
Follow Campus Clipper on Twitter or keep current by liking us on Facebook
Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book

Tortaria on Urbanspoon