Monday, September 23, 2013

Kennywood Latino Day 2013

Finally.  A nationality day for Latinos!

I adore every nationality day at Kennywood, as you well know from previous posts - however, I have always been disappointed that there was not a Latino Day.  I am aware that Latinos only make up about 2.3% of the population in Pittsburgh, but that is all the more reason for people to know that yes, there are Latinos here, and yes, they make GREAT food.

Thankfully, Alberto Benzaquen of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce answered my cries and organized this entire event, with some of the best entertainment from Latinos that Pittsburgh has to offer.

And - some of the best food.

I was so excited to hear that La Palapa (of Pittsburgh Public Market fame), Las Palmas (the BEST street tacos in Pittsburgh), AJ's Peruvian (never been, but excited to try it), and Casa Rasta (who have been nothing but good to me in so many ways) would be the vendors.  

La Palapa's setup

The offerings from Casa Rasta
I knew I had to get something from every single one of them.

I ventured back to Pavilion 4 on my break to find the vendors in high-gear, cooking food and setting up their assembly lines.  My first stop - Casa Rasta for some elote: grilled corn, slathered in mayonnaise (yes, mayonnaise), sprinkled with queso fresco and chile powder, and accompanied by a lime for squeezing.  Sound familiar?  See my recipe for esquites, which is essentially the same thing, but off the cob.

Half-eaten elote (I couldn't help myself!)
Next - AJ's.  They had a big spread, but knowing that I was going to be eating from every vendor, I went small and tried two of their empanadas - one pollo (chicken), and one spinach.  I also purchased an Inca Cola, one of the few "pops" I will drink in non-diet version (since there isn't one).  I've had it before from Las Palmas and Chicken Latino, so I knew I liked it (it tastes like cream soda):

Inca Cola

Spinach and chicken empanadas from AJ's Peruvian
My last stop was La Palapa, because unfortunately, Las Palmas was still in the process of setting up.  I LOVE La Palapa's pineapple tamale, so I went with that.

Pineapple Tamale from La Palapa
I carried my haul of food back to the office in a stack, worried that perhaps I would be too full to eat it all.

My stack of food! I not know myself?  I ate it all.  Every last bite.  The pineapple tamale was divine, as always; the empanadas...I've had better, sorry to say; and the elote - OH, THE ELOTE!  It was fantastic.  Superb.  A mess to eat, yes, but worth every wipe of the napkin.  I just wish people had told me about the charred corn in my teeth and on my face sooner.... savior, Jay, our IT guy, was going back to Pavilion 4 for his lunch, so I asked him to grab me a taco if Las Palmas was set up at that time.  And you know what?  They were.  He got me a chicken taco, which was just as tasty as the ones I get on Brookline Blvd. in front of their store:

A beautiful chicken taco from Las Palmas (watch out for that glob of hot sauce on top, though!)
BUT - I could have knocked Jay out for putting the HOT salsa on that taco.  HOLY MOUTH-ON-FIRE!  I survived, but I know he got a secret thrill out of watching me sweat it out (grrrrr...).

Because I was working, I missed the entertainment, but I could hear the sounds of Choro No Vinho playing while I purchased my food - they are EXCELLENT, and I am proud to have worked with Abby Gross of this fantastic band at school last year. 

I may be biased, but the food for Latino Day won over every other ethnic day this year.  I didn't write about them again this year, as the vendors hadn't changed (plus I missed my second-favorite - Greek Day - because I was on vacation), but Latino Day NEEDS to be an annual event - and I'm sure Alberto will make sure of it.

Kennywood Park
4800 Kennywood Blvd.
West Mifflin, PA 15122


Casa Rasta on UrbanspoonLas Palmas Carniceria on Urbanspoon

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