On the search for Latin American street food in Connecticut brings us to Latin Cravings in Bristol.
First off, everything we tried here was good. But two dishes especially stood out. The rellenos de papa (the reason for coming here), and the pork taco.
Before we get to those, let’s do a quick breakdown of the other things we tried that were certainly very good.
I’d like to see empanadas become trendier.
The original hot pockets, these Latin-American versions of dumplings (fillings inside an enclosed dough wrap) can be doughy or can be full and wonderful.
If empanadas became super trendy, then we’d see lots of empanadas places open up.
With lots of empanadas places open, there would be lots of competition to make better and better empanadas.
The empanadas here at Latin Cravings are good.
We tried the chicken and the beef with cheese.
The chicken empanadas have a mildly spiced shredded chicken.
The chicken is stuffed throughout the shell, with minimal other fillings.
The flavor is slightly sweet and sazon-ey.
The shell is excellently cooked, flaky without taking up too much real estate.
But overall, it’s nothing special. Good, not great.
The Rating: Chicken Empanada
Beef Empanada with Cheese
The empanadas don’t come with cheese by default; so with the beef ones we tried adding it.
The flavor of the beef is likewise Sazon-ey, with a good amount of achiote and chile pepper.
But the overall flavor of the empanada is light on beef.
This could be because there is a lot of cheese when you add it.
The cheese is excellent. It is likely a queso blanco, a latin-american cheese very similar in taste to mozzarella.
But when you add the cheese, they really stuff the empanda, taking up half of it.
So it’s unclear if the light beef flavor is because it is crowded out form the cheese or that is standard.
For the beef empandas, the flavor is solid overall.
Good, but not great.
The Rating: Beef Empanada with Cheese
Away from the empanadas, which are very good, we’ve got the taco and the rellenos de papa.
Since we tried the chicken and beef in the empanadas, we wanted to go with pork for the taco.
It is excellent.
The pork is phenomenally juicy, well spiced but not overpowering.
I would honestly just order whole sides of this pork and eat it straight.
The rest of the toppings are standard onions and cilantro, both pretty light, and some tomato.
The only thing that is odd is there is a stream of what tastes like cream cheese running underneath.
It’s odd, but works well. If you hate cream cheese it won’t be for you.
If you like cream cheese…it’ll still be odd.
Overall, solid, but the pork is the real star here.
Other tacos may not be as good.
The Rating: Pork taco
Rellenos de Papa
I was expecting more of a Latin-American arancini, what we got was closer to a Jamaican beef patty without the allspice.
Which is phenomenal.
This is meat, wrapped in mashed potatoes, deep fried.
The shell to these are mind-blowing.
The mashed potato takes on an excellent crisp quality, and never breaks apart.
The meat is beef, mildly spiced.
But that coating of fried mashed potato….
The Rating: Rellenos de Papa
Address: 375 N Main St, Bristol, CT 06010
Hours: Open Tuesday-Friday at 11am
Phone: (860) 593-1717