The Freakin Rican

What started out as a Puerto Rican food truck is now a brick-and-mortar restaurant found between a laundromat and a pub in Astoria. Derick Lopez, the executive chef/founder, and his husband Victor Vargas say if you’re looking for your abuela’s pasteles (boiled plantains with pork and olives), then you should probably pay them a visit. It may look like a tamale, but these are in fact silkier and contain no corn - they’re super labor-intensive and not widely offered at other restaurants. Add a plate of mofongo to the pasteles, followed by tembleque (a jiggly coconut pudding) and a coco rico soda. And if you feel like trying your hand at some Puerto Rican recipes, The Freaking Rican also sells homemade sofrito so you don’t have to try to replicate the all-important mix of herbs and spices at home.

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