We’re trying to wrap up Food Cart Month(s), so here’s a quick look at the Ecuadorian (yes, again) cart that’s parked outside the Gates Avenue Food Bazaar on Sundays and sometimes Saturdays. (Sometimes there’s a second unrelated Ecuadorian cart parked across the street, but it’s a bit chaotic and unappetizing so we’re focusing on this one here.)
The first thing you notice here is the yellow-orange potato cakes, or llapingachos. We’re suckers for anything cute, round, and made with potatoes, so these are a no-brainer. For just $2, you get one cake, plus a bit of salad and zippy orange hot sauce. The cakes have a nice texture and firmness and even a nicely crusted top and bottom, but they tend to be a tad bland. Too bad this cart doesn’t have a suggestion box or online reviews, because even a touch of salt mixed in with the potatoes would do wonders (some llapingachos are stuffed with cheese as well!). Hopefully they figure it out soon, but until then, just douse them in hot sauce and tomatoes and consider carrying around emergency salt like we sometimes do.
Also try the banana leaf–wrapped ayacas (the tamale’s Ecuadorian cousin). They’re super-moist, with dark-meat chicken and peas and probably copious amounts of butter or lard. The maseca (corn flour) dough itself is definitely richer and more flavorful than what we’re accustomed to with Mexican tamales.
Other Ecuadorian offerings include: mote (boiled hominy), locro de papas (potato stew), sausages, and an unidentified stewed meat.
For an entire Ecuadorian meal we prefer the little sit-down (one table and a few stools) place on Seneca near Grove, but effective immediately, we’re on Ecuadorian–food–posting hiatus, so you’ll have to read about it later.
UPDATE 6/16/13: Since writing this post, we’ve re-visited Sabor Ecuatoriano, the “other” Ecuadorian cart that’s parked across Gates Ave, and it is actually not bad. The grill section of the cart does seem kind of disorganized, but we liked the sweet and cake-y corn humita, and the hornado (roasted pork) looked really good too.
Outside the Gates Food Bazaar (1590 Gates Avenue) [map]