100 Favorite Dishes: Bandeja Paisa at La Tiendita Cafe

100 Favorite Dishes: Bandeja Paisa at La Tiendita Cafe
Lauren Saria

This year we're marking the hundred-day countdown to Best of Phoenix 2015 by sharing some of our favorite dishes at restaurants all over the Valley. Have a suggestion for a dish you'd like us to try? Leave it in the comments section or email lauren.saria@newtimes.com.

50. Bandeja Paisa at La Tiendita Cafe

Looking for Colombian food? Then you'll want to head to La Tiendita, a Colombian market and restaurant in Mesa — the only Colombian restaurant in the Valley, according to the restaurant's owner. With half the space designated for the restaurant and the other half used as a market to sell Colombian products, this is a restaurant, yes, but also a gathering place for the local community. For big soccer matches, fans turn up to cheer on the Colombian national team in yellow jerseys. 

That said, you don't need to have stepped foot in Colombia to appreciate the food. The restaurant's menu carries many of the country's best-known dishes — including excellent Colombian-style apreas — but the go-to dish is the bandeja paisa. This Colombian specialty easily could feed more than one diner and features an array of foods: chicharrón, ground beef, chorizo sausage, as well as rice, beans, avocado, plantain, a mini-arepa, and a fried egg. My favorite part of the platter is the spicy sausage with a casing so tight it snaps when you stab it with a fork. But the beans also are perfectly seasoned, and the sweet plantains make a delicious contrast to the savory elements on the plate. 

Okay, so maybe I like it all. But that doesn't mean I'm entirely above sharing. After all, you have to save room for dessert and a Colombian coffee.  

The 100 Favorite Dishes so far...
100. Waffle at Matt's Big Breakfast 
99. Pacific White Fish Taco at La Santisima 
98. Beef Roll at Taiwan Food Express
97. Zinc Burger at Zinc Bistro
96. Goat Biryani at Khyber Halal 
95. Key Lime Doughnut at Welcome Chicken + Donuts
94. Chicharrón Prensado Quesadilla at La Merced
93. Moist Succulent Pork Chop at Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe
92. Deep Fried Squid with Salt and Pepper from Nee House Chinese Cuisine
91. Coconut Raspberry Brownie at Karl's Quality Bakery
90. Fried Chicken at Phoenix Public Market Cafe
89. The Tyler at Cheese 'N Stuff
88. Hurricane Popcorn at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
87. Ceviche at El Chullo
86. Date Shake at Couscous Express
85. Red Bean and Rice Burger at Liberty Market
84. Banh Thit Nguoi at Da Vang
83. Breakfast Sandwich at Ollie Vaughn's
82. Crispy Pig Ears at Crudo 
81. Parillada at Asadero Norte De Sonora 
80. Warm Jar of King Crab and Butter at Little Cleo's Seafood Legend
79. Pumpkin Spice Macaron at Essence Bakery
78. Falafel Sandwich at Al Hana Restaurant
77. Sheng Jian Bao at DingHao Shanghai
76. Baked Vegetable Pesto at Oven + Vine
75. Pollo Guisado at FrinGo's Kitchen
74. Aloo Paratha at Tahoora Grill 
73. Exotic Mushroom Pan Fry at Cowboy Ciao
72. Otro Cortado Salad at Otro Cafe
71. The Standard with Cheese at The Stand 
70. Kimchee Bokum Bap at Hodori 
69. The 301 Pizza at Forno 301
68. Green Chile Burrito at Rito's Mexican Food 
67. Aloo Tikki Chaat at Little India
66. Oysters Rockefeller at The Salt Cellar Restaurant
65. Bún Thit Nuong at Hue Gourmet
64. Pistachio Chicken Liver Pate at The Gladly
63. Fried Green Tomato Sandwich at Welcome Diner
62. Crawfish at Angry Crab Shack
61. The Lady at Short Leash Hot Dogs
60. Torta Ahogada at Tortas Paquime
59. Baiynchaiv Crepes at Reathrey Sekong
58. The Straw at Miracle Mile Deli
57. Fresh Shattered Potato Chips at Ingo's Tasty Food
56. Southern Fried Chicken at Bobby-Q
55. Buffala Verace at Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana 
54. Baklava at Middle Eastern Bakery and Deli
53. Tri-Tip Sandwich at Grassroots Kitchen at Tap 
52. Fig, Cheese, and Caramel Empanada at Republica Empanada
51. Cauliflower Pizza at Forge Wood-Fired Pizza

100 Favorite Dishes: Bandeja Paisa at La Tiendita Cafe

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