I Love Paraguay
4316 Greenpoint Avenue
Sunnyside, NY 11104
Long has Paraguayan food eluded us. But the beautiful thing about New York City is how you can get any kind of food there. I Love Paraguay is one of the few Paraguayan spots in the whole country and we were excited to see the rave reviews. Located on bustling Greenpoint Avenue in Queens, I Love Paraguay seemed welcoming and popular, with a soccer game playing on a TV in the corner.
I Love Paraguay has a well-proportioned menu, featuring Paraguayan and American classics. We were greeted by a cheerful waitress who readily informed us that…sorry… they were out of pretty much everything. Seemingly every time we ordered, the waitress came back and stated – very apologetically – “Sorry we’re out…” Of salad, chipa cheese rolls, sopa paraguaya. We kept scanning the menu for things we could order, only to be shot down again and again. Wanting to try something typically Paraguayan, we also tried to order a traditional cold mate tea, but the waitress assured us that “Americans don’t usually like it.” Our pet peeve! Usually we would have been more insistent, but we didn’t want to be pushy. Sigh… Oh well.
Our two dining guests finally settled on a selection of empanadas: corn, beef, and cheese. All were excellent, and cheese was easily the favorite. We (L&M), owing to lack of options, were suggested one of the most popular dishes at the restaurant, the sandwich de lomito: grilled skirt steak in a sandwich, garnished with lettuce and tomato (and egg if you so desire). If only these dishes had been on the menu, we likely would have had a much better overall impression of I Love Paraguay. The empanadas were excellent, the steak sandwiches were well-seasoned and perfectly grilled, and you got a lot of food for the money. But hopefully we will be back to try the rest of the menu, and some of the more emblematic Paraguayan dishes, if they are available.
Second in our series on winter Olympic newcomer cuisines is Paraguay. The athlete representing Paraguay is an American citizen of Paraguayan heritage, Julia Marino, who competed in slopestyle freestyle skiing. One of the most emblematic dishes from Paraguay is Sopa Paraguaya, which literally means “Paraguayan Soup”, but is actually a cornbread-like dish with a light, souffle texture, rather than a dense bread. Why it is called a soup is shrouded in mystery, but it remains an extremely popular staple for holidays and weddings. Other than corn flour, primary ingredients in Sopa Paraguaya include cheese and onions. Here are some recipes from Global Table Adventure, Cynthia Presser and Bite and Booze. Cheese and carbs – this is our kind of dish. If this dish intrigues you, you should try one of our other favorite dishes from Paraguay, cheese rolls called Chipa.
Though we started off the Sochi Olympics by covering Russian food, the Olympics are perfect time to highlight food from all around the world. The US, Canada, Russia and Northern European are usually heavy hitters in the medal count because they are COLD, however, many other countries are making winter Olympics appearances, including seven for the first time ever. Check out the Olympic Teams from each of these countries – Paraguay, Malta, Togo, Tonga, Zimbabwe, Dominica, East Timor – and get ready for ETW posts featuring national dishes and other foodie delights from each of these countries in the coming weeks.
We love cheesy bread products, and in Brazil, the Pão de Queijo is practically a national treasure. However, other countries in South America have their own delicious cousins of Pão de Queijo, including Paraguay’s Chipa and Colombia’s Pan de Bono, as featured on Our Eyes Eat First.
While the eaters have never been to Brazil, we know two things – we like bread and we like cheese. A lot! We also like cooking new foods. We have a long queue of dishes we are excited to make eventually, and Pão de queijo (Cheese bread in Portuguese) has jumped right to the top. A typical snack food in Brazil and Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina (where they are known as is known as chipás or cuñapés), these little pods of butter and cassava flour contain nothing but gooey cheese. We found a chipá recipe from fellow WordPresser Pip in the city that we are dying to try out. We will let you know how it goes.