Astoria Street Snacks: Cutting through the cold commute with Arroz con Leche

Last week I admitted a lukewarm relationship to brunch, and this week, a further confession: I am not much of a breakfast person either. For three seasons of the year, a liter of coffee and a banana will suffice, however in winter, I often want something more substantial to start the day. And lately that something is Arroz con Leche.

Arroz con Leche most resembles rice pudding in flavor, ingredients and preparation, but with equal parts liquid and rice, it is often consumed as a beverage. It is served piping hot and, while recipes vary slightly, is most frequently composed of condensed milk, water, cinnamon sticks, sugar and vanilla. My love for Arroz con Leche was rekindled recently by one of my favorite food blog posts of all time, the Unsung Tacos of Astoria: Western Queens’ Overlooked Mexican Mecca, when the intrepid writers located a good supply at “Granny Cart Tamales Lady, which sets up shop for about an hour on Sunday mornings on Broadway in Astoria.

Recently, a woman has begun setting up a table during the workday morning rush hours at the corner of 30th Avenue and 30th Street where she vends sweet, steaming hot Arroz con Leche out of a large orange vat. She also makes some terrific-looking tamales that I have yet to try. A small Arroz con Leche will set you back $1.50, and is indicative of the comforting, outstanding food you can find in Astoria at totally reasonable prices. Served in a traditional paper coffee cup adorned with Grecian urns from a table in the shadow of Athens Square Park, it’s also a lovely reminder of how rewarding our experience of Astoria can be when we try new things, or rediscover those things that we once loved.

Arroz con Leche/Tamale Table, 30th Ave at 30th Street (mornings), Astoria

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