Colombian Cuisine at Mitze's Kountry Kitchen
23381 Alicia Parkway
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
I was so excited to hear that we have a Colombian restaurant in the OC. Not because I have any knowledge about what Colombian food is, or have ever been to South America. My joy over Colombian food stems from my good friend Luis, who is Colombian, and when we were talking about the food of his homeland, his eyes lit up like mine after seeing Sofia Vergara, (come on, you knew I would throw a Sofia Vergara reference into my review of a Colombian place right?). So I told Luis about the place and we headed over within the week.
Colombian Cuisine is sharing space with Mitze's Kountry Kitchen. The small, strip mall eatery takes over Mitze's at 11 and stays open until 8. We showed up on a Saturday at 3, and we were the only ones in the place. Of course that is an odd time to eat, and the waiter did say that they have been doing a good dinner business. Let's head way south of the border, and check out the food.
Our first foray into the food of Colombia was the Yuca Frita above. This was fried cassava, but tasted more like a giant, starchy french fry. Surprisingly not greasy, and garnished with pieces of chicarron, this was an okay starter. Not too big on flavor.
Our next appetizer was the Bunelos, which is a fried cheese hushpuppy. We all thought that this was a little bland on its own, but was made better with what Luis called aji sauce. I would describe it as green salsa, and it gave the hushpuppies some much needed moisture.
Here is a picture of Juan's dinner from two different angles. This mound of food is the Bandeja Paisa, which I guess translates to country dinner. I would call this a Denny's Grand Slam on steroids. This plate consisted of beans, chorizo, white rice, beef, plantains, an egg, pork, and an arepa. Juan felt that this plate was just average. He thought that the steak was a little tough, but he loved the chorizo. I would agree with him about this, but I thought that this was a better than average plate. The meat was not of the highest quality, it was a little chewy, but the seasonings tasted good to me. I also really liked the chicharon that was served with this. It was like real fatty bacon, very delicious.
Luis went with the Sobrebarriga en Salsa, or Brisket in sauce. This was also served with rice, cassava, green plantain, and a salad. Luis felt that this was a pretty good representation of Colombian food. He said that it is made differently, depending on what part of the country you are from.
I ordered one of the most interesting sounding things on the menu, the Bistec a Caballo. This translates to Steak on a Horseback. Top sirloin beef in a flavorful tomato and onion sauce, topped with an egg, and served with rice, cassava, and plantains. Again the meat here was a little chewy, but I liked the sauce that came with this. The egg on top was cooked pretty well. The plantains are not my thing but the few bites that I had were good. By the time I got to this plate, I was over the cassava, so I did not even eat it.
Katie went a different route for her entree and got a Tamale. Colombian tamales are made with cornmeal, and they contain chicken, pork, beef, vegetables, and are then wrapped in a banana leaf. This was bigger than any tamale I have ever seen. The cornmeal was sweeter than I am used to with other tamales, and I liked that. Katie had a few issues with this though. The tamale came out a little cold in the middle, and the bones inside of it were something she was not used to.
Katie also had the Empenada. This was made with ground beef, and a had a pretty good taste. This came out piping hot, and we had to let it cool off for awhile. I would definitely get this next time for an appetizer.
We all liked our Colombian food experience, but did not love it. I would go back for sure. The restaurant itself is a no frills kind of place. The waiter was cool, there are no free refills on the drinks, and the decor is seriously drab. This is not the place to go to try to impress your date, unless it is Sofia Vergara. The value here was good. The prices ranged from $8 to $10 dollars for an entree that came with a ton of food. Even with my serious appetite I had trouble finishing my plate.
I thought Luis would be so excited to have Colombian food in the area where he lives, but he seemed only mildly excited. When I asked him how he would rate this place, he said it was average for Colombian food. Average or not, at least he does not have to go all the way to LA for Colombian food now.
Out of five chivas, (buses that are recognized as a symbol of Colombian culture), five being best to zero being worst, Colombian Cuisine gets 2.5 chivas.
Colombian Cuisine does not have a web site, but they do have a Facebook page, click here to see it: http://www.facebook.com/ColombianFoodinOrangeCounty