Los Paisas


Image courtesy of https://lospaisasrestaurant.com/

Tropical plants, festive music, bright food. All of these are what may come to mind when Colombian food is mentioned. All of these details and more can be found in an unexpected place here is Charlotte. On a rainy Wednesday, I ventured into Pineville and into Los Paisas. Los Paisas is tucked away in the corner of a shopping center, as in, it is meant only for those who really look (or those who can smell the various enticing aromas surrounding the area). Once inside – though, the outside world is still quite dreary – the ambiance transports you. The smells and sounds make you forget you are in North Carolina at all.

The food is on a whole other planet entirely. While there, we tried a handful of different dishes, the first being their classic empanadas. These empanadas have a masa-based exterior as well as a mixture of beef and potatoes on the inside that just makes you melt. They are warm and comforting, and make you want nothing more than to be home, curled up in bed.

They also have a variety of fruit smoothies. Guanabana, blackberry, lulo, pineapple, papaya, mango, passion fruit, guava, mamey, and tomate de arbol. Before Los Paisas I had not even heard of many of those fruits. I decided to try the mamey, which was orange and sweet like apples, oranges, and bananas. I have yet to try the lulo, guanabana, and the tomate de arbol, but I am looking forward to going back.

The other dish we ordered was the Bandeja tipica Colombiana. A plate filled with beef, pork cracklins, red sausage, beans, rice, eggs, sweet plantains, avocado, and white tortillas. Where do you even start? All the proteins are cooked perfectly, especially the pork cracklins, which are just unique in all the best ways. Chewy meat is usually a sign of a poorly cooked dish, however in this case it fits perfectly, adding texture. Classic rice, beans, and tortillas are all exceptional. The things I find the most endearing about this dish are the little touches – lime on the side for the avocado, and a sunny side up egg on top. Even the presentation of the dish is outstandingly simple; not too extravagant, but never sloppy.

Truly this article feels like it is doing Los Paisas a misdeed; there is no way it could effectively convey the  reality. So I urge all of you to visit and try the food.