Happy first day of Hanukkah – now it’s time for the treats! We wrote a little bit about the classic Sephardic Jewish dessert fritters, Buñuelos, in the past. However, we underestimated just how popular these little fried dough treats from Spain were. Though they are symbolic Hanukkah dish, and the frying of the dough represents the oil that burned for 8 nights, Buñuelos are also enjoyed as a Christmas treat. Buñuelos, (aka Bimuelos, Burmuelos, among other names) were initially created by Spanish moriscos centuries ago, but have since spread in popularity across Latin America.
Just how many Buñuelos varieties are there out there? It’s hard to say, but here we have tried to compile just a few variations on the humble Buñuelo:
824 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33130
When we are in Miami, we feel spoiled for choice at all the Latin American options we have. We were especially happy to try some restaurants that make food from countries that aren’t really available in Chicago. One among these is Honduras. When we were searching for Honduran options in Miami, Paseo Catracho bubbled up as a favorite (the “Catracho” in the name is a nickname for people from Honduras). One of our good friends who lives in Miami who is of Honduran heritage said it was her favorite place to get Honduran food in the city. When we walked in, we were impressed by the bustling atmosphere, and the cute touches like straw hats hanging from the ceiling as lamps.
Hats as decor!
As we perused through the menu of this comfortable mom and pop place, we noticed that everything was a little cheese and carb heavy, just the way we like it! The specialty of the house was pupusas – which we know as El Salvadorean food – however, Honduras puts its own little spin on this as well. Of course we had to have the pupusas! (3 for $6.99). The pupusas came with a side of chismol (a cabbage slaw), and were filled with quesillo cheese. These were pretty similar to the Salvadoran pupusas. We also got a stuffed plaintain / maduro relleno: absolutely filled with beans, cheese, and cream. This was a nice combination of salty and sweet. To finish we got a hot dip similar to a queso called anafres. At its most basic, anafres is a refried black bean and cheese fondue. The food at Paseo Catracho is definitely delicious, but by the end of the meal you could roll us home. If that weren’t enough they even have huge family platters with 10+ pupusas and toppings for your next family outing.
The elaborate anafres presentation.
The service was decent, if a little distracted, but we still had a pleasant time. We wished this place was closer so we could try some of the other unique Honduran options, many of which we had never heard of before. People also particularly rave about the baleadas, a tortilla filled with refried beans. Paseo Catracho is definitely not a place for those on a diet… but that’s not why you go there! However, it is a great place for good food at a reasonable price. Definitely a family kind of place.
Our favorite: Pupusas
I know about Garifuna culture primarily through my interest in Punta music, and the food sounds equally as amazing! Garifuna culture is an Afro-Latin and Amerindian culture primarily centered in Belize and Honduras. However, short of going to Central America, I figured I would never be able to taste Garifuna food for myself. But, as this post might indicate, there’s a new place in Chicago where you do just that, Garifuna Flava (2516 W. 63rd, Chicago, IL). The food is a mixture of unique soups and stews often featuring fish, and an array of Belizean / Caribbean favorites like tostones. The Reader did a piece on Garifuna Flava, and it seemed very positive. [Update: Check out our review here] As a bonus, the Reader has a list of other Caribbean places in Chicago