When topping a karisik pide (Kar-uh-Sheek Pea-day), the "mixed" version of this elongated Turkish flatbread, some bakers mix the toppings promiscuously along the length of the pide, so each bite offers a little of everything.
The golden countenance of the pastel de choclo ($13.50) is a pillow of pureed corn seasoned with basil, baked atop a beef-and-onion filling that also sports black olives, raisins, and generous chunks of chicken breast. Literally it's a "corn pie," but menu captures its spirit in fine telegraphic fashion: This is "the Chilean version of a shepherd's pie," both savory and sweet.
Previously: A housemade bun frames this rendition of the iconic Chilean hot dog, the completo ($3.50). Smothering the thin beef frank are chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut, pureed avocado, and squiggles of mayonnaise. The avocado, unlike guacamole, has only the barest of seasoning; a few spoonfuls of pebre, a salsalike condiment provided at every table, adds just the right jolt. On another occasion, a baked seafood empanada (not shown, $4 at the time, and probably a special), featured clams, shrimp, and, in typical Chilean style, lots of onion.
San Antonio Bakery 36-20 Astoria Blvd. (at 37th St.), Astoria, Queens 718-777-8733 Also at 174 Rockaway Ave., Valley Stream, New York 516-568-0075 www.Facebook.com/SanAntonioBakery
It looks like many a diner plate of meat and vegetables, but this one offers the charms of stewed, chewy lamb stomach ($9). Also attractive is the prospect of visiting Al-Sham Sweets & Pastries afterward.
Little Morocco 2439 Steinway St. (at 25th Ave.), Astoria, Queens 718-204-8118
Buffet sampler ($4.99 per pound, without churrasco): okra, chicken rolled around spinach and rice, and feijão tropeiro. In their original form these "cattleman's beans" provided sustenance during long horseback expeditions; nowadays the basic combo of beans, toasted manioc flour, and nubbins of bacon or sausage are often enhanced, as here, by bits of fried egg and greens, perhaps collards.
Khichiri, a forebear of the Egyptian koshary and the British kedgeree, is a South Asian preparation of rice and lentils with many variations. Turmeric probably takes credit for the hue of this bhuna khichuri (with beef curry, $7.50 total), which traditionally is colored and seasoned with a paste of dry-fried spices, though roasted yellow mung beans are also a common ingredient. For this khichuri, the Bangladeshi chef has set an intact chili pepper on top to signal that more are hidden below.
Getting the spice level right is a point of contention between many Southeast Asian restaurants and the New Yorkers who love them. Often the chow delivers less of a kick than some of us would like. This series of audio guides, whose purview stretches elsewhere into Asia as well as to East Africa and Latin America, is one compensatory measure.
No such entreaties were needed, however, for lunch specials of nasi lemak ($11.75) and beef rendang ($13.95) at this Malaysian-run cafe. (The staff are from Kuala Lumpur, and their most enticing menu items have roots there, too, but much of the menu is devoted to savories in the spirit of a cobb salad or a bacon cheeseburger.) My dining buddy and I quickly agreed that a little dish of hot sauce on the side was superfluous; most everything but the coconut rice was imbued with a generous but not incendiary spiciness.
Also shown: kaya toast ($2.75). This version of the coconut egg jam was smooth, easy to spread, and on the sweeter side — which is to say, very much to my taste.