Latin American in Orlando

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    The building's not much to look at, but there's no missing the brilliant color of La Granja – yellow-orange and lots of it. The only adornment is the name of the South Florida fast-food chain emblazoned in red along with the description: "Pollos y carnes a la brasa," which loosely translates into "chicken and meat on the grill."

    The parking lot is usually buzzing with cars, whether it's lunchtime or dinnertime, and on busy days, the kitchen runs out of some items. So there's obviously been a warm reception to this ethnic spot near the intersection of Semoran Boulevard and Aloma Avenue in Winter Park (where Miami Subs used to be).

    The parking lot is usually buzzing with cars, whether it's lunchtime or dinnertime, and on busy days, the kitchen runs out of some items. So there's obviously been a warm reception to this ethnic spot near the intersection of Semoran Boulevard and Aloma Avenue in Winter Park (where Miami Subs used to be).

    There's a drive-through window, but go inside to see what people are packing away: large plates of spit-roasted chicken, grilled steak and pork accompanied by large helpings of white rice, black or red beans and french fries. The standard "Family meal #1" ($26) includes half a chicken, half a pound each of pork and steak, large rice and beans, large french fries and four sodas. Call it Latin American comfort food (or call it a carbohydrate curse), but the meat is the star of the meal, with its "secret" Peruvian spicing permeated by the flavor of cumin (which is the main ingredient in chili powders). By contrast, the rice and beans are bland, but the fries were thick and tasty.

    There's a drive-through window, but go inside to see what people are packing away: large plates of spit-roasted chicken, grilled steak and pork accompanied by large helpings of white rice, black or red beans and french fries. The standard "Family meal #1" ($26) includes half a chicken, half a pound each of pork and steak, large rice and beans, large french fries and four sodas. Call it Latin American comfort food (or call it a carbohydrate curse), but the meat is the star of the meal, with its "secret" Peruvian spicing permeated by the flavor of cumin (which is the main ingredient in chili powders). By contrast, the rice and beans are bland, but the fries were thick and tasty.

    The fried bananas ($1.75 small, $2.50 large) are my recommendation for dessert, though the flan ($2) is fine, too. The spare salad ($2/$3.50) is not worth the cost. Other side items are garlic potatoes and fried yuca ($1.75/$3.50). And the meat sandwiches served with fries are a good deal ($4.95). The yellow Inca Cola ($1.15), kind of like a cream soda, is refreshing, even if the Peruvian product is now owned by Coca-Cola. Don't be put off by the potential for carb-loading here – just pick up some of the spicy meat and pair it with a healthy salad at home.

    You may not have ever sampled the El Salvadoran pupusa, but if you've enjoyed Venezuelan arepas or Mexican gorditas, then you're likely familiar with the Central American nation's most popular food staple. The puffed rounds are such delicious little numbers that every Nov. 13, El Salvador celebrates National Pupusa Day.

    At Las Delicias Grill, the savory pancake-like corn tortilla ($2.50) is stuffed with soft cheese and, optionally, chicharron (ground pork) and refried beans, then grilled and served with a smooth red salsa and crunchy curtido, a type of pickled cabbage akin to sauerkraut. You'll also find heating trays with an assortment of soups and stews ' if you just happen to be suffering from a hangover, the menudo ($5.99) is an appropriate remedy. A clear broth with honeycomb tripe, cassava, potatoes, zucchini and corn on the cob, its heat resuscitates sobriety. You'll also find tasty beef empanadas ($1.99) served with a zingy green hot sauce, tacos and rotisserie chicken.

    The 26-seat pupuseria is a popular spot with Salvadoran, Honduran and Guatemalan men craving home cooking, though it's a little hard to find. Just look for the Las Americas supermarket in the nondescript strip mall on Semoran just south of Lake Underhill, and you'll find it situated in the corner of the plaza, adjacent to the Latin grocer. The scene in front of the eatery resembles a street-corner setting in San Salvador, while inside, pupusa-pacified men shoot stick while wistfully singing to native tunes emanating from the jukebox. Note: Credit cards are not accepted; cash only.

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