New York is a great walking city and a great place to eat. When my husband and I found ourselves in Inwood (around 215th Street) for a wine tasting a few weeks ago, we decided to walk home down Broadway to the 90’s. An interesting thing about a big walk on unfamiliar blocks is that you really get a feel for the different neighborhoods as they flow one into the next and you see the city with different eyes than the ones usually focused on errands or a routine destination. The other perk of a long city walk is that you pass all kinds of little diners, bodegas and restaurants with many kinds of foods we don’t find any more in our now-gentrified hood.
As we headed south toward Washington Heights, I remembered a little Central American place where some years ago we had eaten tamales so delicious they had stayed in my memory. I hoped it would still be there and it was: La Cabaña Salvadoreña – 187th and Broadway. At 3:00 in the afternoon we didn’t want to eat a meal but we couldn’t resist getting a sweet corn tamale. So we got two tamales de elote to go and happily ate them in hand as we continued our walk. The masa (cornmeal) was hot and fresh and just sweet enough to be a treat, if a bit greasy. Delicious and satisfying.
La Cabaña is a friendly, neighborhood place with a homey, family-run feeling. There are lots of items on the menu I would order another time – papusas (made with rice flour), maduros (sweet plantains, here served with sour cream), rice and beans, soups, salads and fresh squeezed juices – but I wouldn’t leave without having a sweet corn tamale or two or three. I’d bet their coffee is terrific, too.
You may or may not live in New York but wherever one lives, there is a walk to be taken, a little restaurant or cafe or pub for us to stumble upon, a meal to discover. It is fun to get out of our usual comfort zones and explore other neighborhoods. When we took our walk last month, I was afraid creeping gentrification would have run out all of the little places I remembered. Now I’m happy just to know that some “mom and pop” joints like La Cabaña Salvadoreña still exist, requiring us to patronize them before development bulldozes them away.
La Cabaña Salvadoreña
4384 Broadway (b’twn 187-188th Streets)