The Bandeja Paisa, Aruba (video 2014)

Well, it was time for another video on the Colombian platter known as the bandeja paisa. This is a plate with a piece of just about everything, served hot and fresh at my favorite Colombian join in Aruba, Casa Vieja. And here’s the video:

Any terms you don’t know are easily found on Google. Just remember, if you’re going to eat one of those platters, you might need a nap or to at least take it easy for while. That’s a lot of food. Enjoy every meal, especially in Aruba. Bon dia.

Salsa Pica, Aruba (December 2013)

There are many Colombian people in Aruba. Naturally, the local cuisine is influenced by their tastes. On the table at the Colombian and other local restaurants, you’ll frequently find a small cub containing a spicy sauce usually referred to as “salsa pica.” Here’s a look:

"Salsa pica" or Colombian spicy sauce as seen in Aruba.

“Salsa pica” or Colombian spicy sauce as seen in Aruba.

The sauce is fortified with Madam Jeanette peppers as well as onions, carrots, peppers, and a few other treats. It has a sort of bulk to go with the heat, traits that I find particularly appealing. Put a dab on your meat or fish of choice for a surprising taste. You might like it. Bon dia.

JoAnn Snack, Aruba

There’s a little restaurant known as JoAnn Snack. This is a local joint with food that tends to be Colombian in style. We’re talking simple food, stuff that makes you feel good and full. I’ve been eating here for at least ten years. Recently, the sign for the place was taken down but rest assured it is still open and doing well. To get there, take the main road south from the airport. Turn right where the sign says, “Parkietenbos.” Maybe half a mile after that right you’ll see JoAnn Snack on the right. If you come to the end of the road, you went too far. It can be easy to miss, especially without the sign, so here’s a look at the building.

You enter the door into some strong air conditioning. There’s a bar straight ahead but you want to turn left, pass through the swinging doors, and enter the dining room that looks like this.

The owners clean this place like fanatics. (Sometimes there’s the heavy scent of cleaning fluids in the air but don’t let that put you off.) Anyway, on to the food. I like the pork chops in salsa criollo as shown below.

This platter contains two thin pork chops that are first grilled then smothered in the criollo sauce. The sauce is tangy sweet, and beyond that, hard to describe other than that it is good. You also get the rice, fries, salad, and fried plantain for the same low price. My wife likes the grilled chicken platter, that is shown here.

These platters are a great value, costing less than US $10. Best of all is the service. The same nice woman has been working here for as long as I can remember and now her daughter works with her. They always have a big smile for whoever comes in, usually locals and a few expats like me. Spanish skills are helpful but not a must here. The menu is in English and you can point to what you would like and the order comes out correct.

Next time you’re in Aruba and are looking for local fare, give this place a try for simple, hearty food, that will make you feel good all day.

Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 5:43 pm  Comments (2)  
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