Saturday, February 7, 2009

Rancho Del Gordo (Monticello, NY)

-leave your own

So it's not just a clever name.

As stated below, Monticello has made a name for itself in a number of ways, most recently for marketing a brand of heroin named for our new president. One thing we thought we could find was a Mexican restaurant, knowing the large number of people from Mexico and central America living in this part of the state. The only one on the map was Taco Bell. It never hurts to ask the front desk, so we did and were given directions to a Mexican place on the other side of town. What seemed like a common roadside bar with only the faintest hint of latin flair ended up being our salvation that week. That's not to say that lunch at the new Chinese restaurant, Dao, was not a positive experience. They served us heaping piles of food for less than the price of a cafe mocha at Starbucks, and gave us some pretty sweet t-shirts. They looked at our muddy boots, Carhartts, and windburned faces and assumed we were in the construction industry, hoping that the shirts would provide some advertisement for their fledgling establishment. Unfortunately for them, the advertising potential consisted of squirrels, deer and the occasional black bear.

We sat down and realized that although we had indeed found an authentic latin restaurant, what we were about to eat was not Mexican, Puerto Rican, Guatemalan or Cuban. It was something entirely unexpected: Columbian. Certainly, the menu listed many familiar sounding items, including tacos, tamales, and red beans and rice. What grabbed my attention was the signature plate of Columbia, La Bandeja Tipica, or 'Typical Platter." Start with a base of beans and rice in a 'fat sauce,' pile on a skirt steak and fried egg, avocado slice, sautéed banana, hefty link of chorizo, and top it off with a shimmering slice of Chicharron, or fried pig's skin and fat. My readers, this plate provides the building blocks of life. What more could one want in a plate of food?

Finding such a unique place brought us right back there again the next night and we discovered the best two things on the menu. The first were the tacos, listed as an appetizer, but with three tacos, it can fly as a light meal. The tacos are chopped steak with onions and cilantro; simple, fresh, ridiculously amazing. The other dish that blew our minds was the tamal. One tamal, in a corn husk, filled with parts of several animals, cooked to sublime disintegration in a delicious corn mash, or whatever it is that tamales are filled with.

Out of curiosity, I asked our waiter why the place was called El Rancho Gordo. He pointed to the small bar area, where sat a man balancing his significant heft on a barstool.

-the real Rancho Gordos


  1. WOW - that is some hefty plate o' protein!

  2. Yes, not for the faint of heart. How do Columbians stay so fit?

  3. What more could you ask for? How about a 50% off discount with your next angioplasty?

  4. I love this post, I like researching information related to this, when I was in college did a study about it called angioplasty surgery, where I learned a lot about this subject

  5. I really would like get more information about this!!please!