Serial Dining Woodside #6: On St. Patrick’s Day, a Horshoe for Good Luck

On St. Patrick’s Day I had to take the afternoon off from work after having a bunch of cortisone shot into my back to treat my herniated disk.  I came home woozy and achy and somewhat skeeved out by the image of two giant needles in my spine displayed clearly on the monitor of the flouroscopy equipment, so I sacked out on the couch for a few hours.  I woke up hungry, so since Allan was working from home that day, I consulted the Official Serial Dining Woodside Restaurant List and we headed off to Apolinar for a very late lunch.

When we got to 47-11 47th Avenue, Apolinar was gone, and in its place was a new restaurant called La Herradura, which means “The Horseshoe.”  This is becoming a recurring theme in Serial Dining Woodside.  I think it’s a combination of the high rate of turnover among small businesses in Queens and the apparent total insanity of the Yahoo Yellow Pages, which seems to define “restaurant” rather loosely and update its database rather infrequently.  Anyway, Apolinar is no more, and La Herradura looks like this:

La Herradura

The rules state that if we get to a restaurant to find that it has died and been replaced by a new restaurant, we’ll eat there.  So we did.

One thing you see a lot in this part of Queens are businesses with split personalities.  They offer more than one service, often in totally random combinations that don’t go together at all.  For example, the last time I bought something for my cell phone, it was at a store on Roosevelt Avenue  that was a Cingular dealer and also happened to sell children’s clothing and shoes.  (Yes, I said Cingular.  That tells you how often I update my cell phone.)  Next to our favorite laundromat, there’s a We Buy Gold store that used to be a combination fro-yo shop and Korean video rental place.  Really.  And La Herradura is a place like that.  Check it out:

Mariscos y Licencias

In case that’s too small to read, here’s the scoop:  You can go through the door and to the left, and you’ll be eating delicious Latin American cuisine.  If you go through the door and to the right, you can do your business with the DMV or get something notarized.  One stop shopping, people.  That’s how we roll in Queens.

Let’s grab a menu, shall we?  They have them in this convenient plastic cup:

Cup o' Menus

Their updated menu tells you they are bajo nuevo administracion.  This must have happened very recently, because there’s a bunch of their old menus sitting in the cup right behind their nuevo menus, which gives you a sense of the recent changes of the place:  They seem to have started mostly with Mexican dishes and expanded to include Ecuadorian and Colombian food.

La Herradura is much larger on the inside than it looks on the outside, and a truly roomy restaurant is a rarity in Queens.  The place is decorated simply, with colorful Mexican blankets as tablecloths.  If you pick the right table, you can dine under the benevolent gaze of the Virgen de Guadalupe:

Eating under La Virgen de Guadalupe

By now you’ve probably figured out that I’m not a very good food critic, because I like just about everything we’ve tried so far on our Serial Dining Woodside adventure.  But truly, La Herradura kicked much butt.  I would definitely go again.

We started out with drinks and a big bowl of guacamole with warm tortilla chips that appear to be made right there at the restaurant.  For drinks, they offer about half a dozen popular Mexican beers, plus a variety of sodas (mostly fruit flavors) from Mexico, Colombia, and Ecuador.  Allan had a Bohemia and I had a strawberry soda.  They also have several different kinds of batidos (fruit milkshakes, basically), which we’ll try next time we’re there.

La Herradura has about fifty main dishes, pretty evenly split among Ecuadorian, Mexican, and Colombian food.  They also have a page of Mexicacn antojitos that includes tacos, burritos, and the like.  For lunch, Allan had a torta milanesa de res, which is a Mexican beef sandwich.  I was in a soupy mood, so I had sopa marinera, which is an Ecuadorian seafood soup with a red base.  Pretty much everything comes with rice and either french fries or plantains.  We are plantain hounds, so we went that way.

Allan says:  “Good sandwich.  Very good sandwich.  Perfect in every respect.”

As for my soup, let me tell you, that was THE best bowl of seafood soup I think I have ever had in my life.  That includes the soup I made about ten years ago in Cleveland when I didn’t have any cooking wine so I used a miniature bottle of champagne we had gotten as a party favor at a wedding.  That soup was heartbreakingly good, and this soup was even better than that.  Definitely go get some.

Lunch at La Herradura

Overall impression:  Yum!

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